Love him or hate him, Newton blossoms in run to Super Bowl

Fri Jan 29, 2016 2:37pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - Whether viewed as electrifying and flamboyant or as egotistical and annoying, Cam Newton stands tall as the one-of-a-kind quarterback of the Carolina Panthers.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Newton is the NFL's greatest dual-threat quarterback and brings boundless energy and enthusiasm to his job and relishes the spotlight - which will shine brightest on Feb. 7 when he battles the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.

Beloved by his teammates, the 26-year-old Newton led the top-seeded Panthers to a league-best 15-1 record in the regular season while at the helm of the NFL's highest-scoring offense.

He also dances in the end zone after touchdowns, signals first downs after a clutch play and mimes Superman ripping off his shirt following his special gridiron feats - histrionics that can get under the skin of opposing players and fans.

"When I look in the mirror, it's me," Newton said. "Nobody changed me, nobody made me act this certain type of way, and I'm true to my roots. And it feels great."

Newton, who may not appeal to some due to his brashness and outspoken nature, on Wednesday suggested his skin color was a factor in how he has rubbed some fans the wrong way.

"I've said this since day one," Newton said. "I'm an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven't seen nothing that they can compare me to."

Fans have witnessed other successful African-American signal callers, but what sets Newton apart are his celebrations.   Continued...

Jan 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs on the field after the NFC Championship football game against the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers won 49-15.   Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports