In case you missed my story on whether Cam Newton's rookie year was the best in NFL history -- I eventually come to the conclusion it was -- here's the link to that.
What a lot of people apparently found interesting in this story package, too, were the comments from Sports Illustrated's Peter King about the same issue. They are below. King, one of the most respected NFL writers in the business for decades, recently wrote one sentence in his magazine's Jan.9th issue stating that Cam Newton had the best NFL rookie season ever.
I asked him to expand upon his reasoning, and so he wrote the following in an email:
To: Scott Fowler
From: Peter King
I didn't make that statement lightly. I understood, in particular, the seasons of Taylor, Sayers, Dickerson and Moss, and have a great respect for football history.
I said it because, even in light of all the great years quarterbacks had this season, there was something so different about Newton's season. He did not meet most of his teammates or the men who would coach him till six weeks before he had to play a real game. After playing one season at a junior college and one at Auburn, with no prolonged exposure to the kind of "pro style" offense that most NFL teams would ask him to use, Newton walked into Spartanburg with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Not only did he have the pressure that normally comes with being the first pick in the draft, he would have to adjust to a new team and a new staff and a new league in a far shorter period of time than any rookie in a generation - or longer.
He broke the rookie record for passing yards in a season. He broke the record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback - and he's a third of the way to breaking the career record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. He accounted for more touchdowns than any rookie ever. The Panthers scored 210 more points this year than last. Is it a coincidence that Newton accounted for 210 points? He did - 35 touchdowns, times six. That's 210. The Panthers went from 32nd to sixth in total offense in one year.
With great respect to the other great rookies, who caught and sacked and intercepted and returned and ran their way to great seasons, Newton passed and ran and scored better than any rookie quarterback of all time. That's why I think he had the best season by a rookie ever.