Photo Courtesy of Charlotte Observer
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?” William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act II Scene 2
“Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect—… still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
Neither Will nor Chuck ever saw Cam Newton play the game of football. If they had, they might have been motivated to return to their works and scratch out that last line in each quote above. Because watching this man perform on the field is to witness an event that is both rare and remarkable in a manner that is difficult to define. Because that quality of uniqueness that is inherent in his play and style defies comparison to any other athlete who ever played this game, past or present. This was true when he played for Auburn, and it is still true now that he’s in the NFL.
On January 13, 2012 prior to Super Bowl XLVI, former quarterback Trent Dilfer gave a speech in Charlotte at the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club concerning two main themes – the dedication necessary to play as a starting quarterback in the NFL and Cam Newton’s first year in the league. Dilfer, who had worked with Newton before his rookie season, spoke how he perceived the dedication, commitment and mental focus of this young man.
“This dude is going to change football” was one claim Dilfer made, but the last quote was what thrilled the crowd. In an electrifying and controversial statement Dilfer said, “The Carolina Panthers and the Super Bowl will be in the same conversation in the next four or five years.” Many in the audience reacted with surprised laughter and then cheered, but outside of Charlotte or Auburn the media considered Dilfer’s comment an outrageous claim concerning a 6 – 10 team that went 2 – 14 the year before (and only 8 – 8 in 2009). He was roundly criticized, and his prescient speech was all but forgotten.
And yet, four years and six days after this statement, Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game and earned a berth in Super Bowl 50 as consensus favorite against an opponent led by a man whom many consider one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play in the NFL.
An interesting and ironic juxtaposition, if you ask me. Because while Peyton Manning has had an unprecedented and terrific career, there are many who will staunchly argue against him being called ‘the greatest’ or even ‘the best’ who ever played the game, despite having more passing yards, more passing touchdowns andbeing tied for the most career wins as a starter (186 with Bret Favre).
And the man on the other side of the field? In my mind he’s not just the consensus MVP – Most Valuable Player in the National Football League this year. I would venture to say he is the MUP – Most Unique player to have ever played the game at the professional or collegiate level.
Allow me to illustrate this.
Read Full Story →
Auburn landed perhaps the best group of receivers in the country and in program history. Highlighting that group is Nate Craig-Myers. What can fans expect? Here is a scouting report.Read Full Story
This piece takes a walk down memory lane recounting the high's and low's of Auburn Football and ask the question: "Could 2016 be the year of another drastic turnaround in the team's fortunes?"Read Full Story
Please note that no comment totals were displayed on the front page counter as this was an Open Thread of the days happenings on NSD. To view the comments, click on the “Read Full Story”
Recruiting is the life-blood of a program and years worth of work on the 2016 class is about to culminate for the Auburn coaching staff. But, some true understanding on the nature of recruiting can be found by reviewing the history of Auburn recruiting. Take a look at the class of 2006 and see how the 11th ranked class in the nation faired.Read Full Story
The SEC and Big 12 squared off, with Auburn being the last matchup of the night. Auburn was the SEC's last chance to make a respectable showing in the series, but came up well short in the first half before rallying in the second. The Tigers dropped a third straight game, with this contest being at home. Read why.Read Full Story
Two teams with SEC losing streaks met Wednesday night in Oxford. Ole Miss came away with a convincing win. Read how.Read Full Story
The match-up against the Gators was never in question, as Florida recorded 93 points and beat Auburn soundly in all phases of the game. Read how the Gators accomplished the thrashing over the Tigers.Read Full Story
Fans were shocked to find out that fan-favorite Peyton Barber had declared early for the 2016 NFL draft. Many speculated it was because of his position on the depth chart, but read as Zach dispels that notion and shows the true reason Barber left early.Read Full Story
Auburn lost a pair of starting tackles early to the NFL draft. Who will replace the two standouts? Will there be some position moves? Check out Zach's best predictions on Auburn's starting line in 2016.Read Full Story
- Jan 16, 2016 A 16 Year Drought Ends for Men’s Basketball
- Jan 15, 2016 Tigers Give Kornet a Triple-Double, Hand Vandy First SEC Win
- Jan 14, 2016 A Look Ahead at the Auburn Offense
- Jan 13, 2016 Is Auburn Built to Compete with Alabama?
- Jan 12, 2016 Auburn Loses Sloppy Contest Against Missouri
- Jan 12, 2016 Can Malzahn and Hand Bring the Offensive Magic Back to The Plains?
- Jan 11, 2016 What if …
- Jan 11, 2016 What Can Auburn Fans Expect From Kyle Davis: A Scouting Report