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Is Superman The NFL’s MVP? NFL Unfiltered Week 15

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The Carolina Panthers extended their unbeaten record to 14-0 after a bizarre 38-35 win in the Meadowlands against the New York Giants.  

On its own merits, a victory over the schizophrenic, undisciplined Giants is no big deal.  But in my view, this game effectively ended the race for NFL Most Valuable Player.  

And the winner is …Cam Newton!

A mere four weeks ago, the New England Patriots and Panthers had 10-0 records. The Pats, it seemed, were little more than quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, along with head coach Bill Belichick’s perceived genius. While the Panthers were a nice balance of good defense and a ball control offense.  Photo: www.businessinsider.com

Since then, the Patriots lost to the Peyton Manning-less Denver Broncos and the moribund Philadelphia Eagles embarrassed them at Gillette Stadium. Meanwhile, the Panthers, and Newton in particular, played much better.  

The question is: do the nation’s football writers have the courage and wherewithal to vote for Newton, instead of Brady, America’s golden boy?

It is not necessarily a matter of race, (though you’re kidding yourself if you think it has no bearing).  It is more a generational dichotomy, because a vote for Newton is an endorsement for clownishness and buffoonery at quarterback. Clearly, Newton has grown since his first couple of seasons in the league.  He is more mindful of his attire in press conferences and interviews. Plus, he measures his words much more carefully.  

Therefore, even if you think his new image is contrived, it is still a sign of maturity because he at least knows the importance of looking the part.  

But unlike Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans, (who earned MVP honors in 2003, though he shared it with Manning) Newton hasn’t buttoned himself up completely.  On the field, he still does the Superman thing when he scores a touchdown, and shows off his dabbing skills as often as possible.  

For a quarterback, Newton’s on-field conduct is rather bush league and does little to impact the outcome of football games. It is behavior reserved for wide receivers, since nobody really expects them to comport themselves like professionals anyway, see: Beckham Jr., Odell.  

Conversely, Brady is the leader America typically craves. Everything about Brady’s image makes him seem more like a CEO, instead of a man playing a kid’s game like Newton.  

Still, Brady and Newton have comparable statistics.  Brady has nearly 1,000 more passing yards, but Newton makes up for some of that gap with his 580 yards rushing.  Additionally, Newton’s Total QBR is slightly higher than Brady’s, but Brady’s standard quarterback rating is a notch better.  Newton has accounted for 40 touchdowns to Brady’s 38 so clearly, both men have had terrific seasons.  

However, the difference is Newton’s squad is undefeated, but might not have more than 4 wins without him. The Patriots? Well, if you think Belichick is the savant we’re told he is, the Pats likely would have competed in the AFC East without Brady.  

Brady is a great quarterback and future Hall of Famer, who could have a few more seasons to garner the league’s MVP.  Nevertheless, 2015 belongs to Newton, despite his playful, on-field demeanor. He is far and away the best player, on the best team in the sport.  

Here’s hoping pro football writers dab him up.    

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 15

-The Buffalo Bills have as many talented defensive players as any team in the AFC East, but have allowed an average of 24 points per game.  We already know Rob Ryan’s brilliance is vastly overstated, it seems his brother Rex’s is, too. For perspective, consider the San Francisco 49ers, a defense perceived as far worse than Buffalo’s, has allowed 24.2.  

-DeMarco Murray’s failure in Philly is reason enough to say the men in the know aren’t any smarter than anyone else.  More informed, yes, but smarter?  No. Because even a casual observer knew Dallas and Philly ran different offenses.  

-Quarterback Sam Bradford is likely to have other options after this season. If he doesn’t stay in Philadelphia, however, year four of Chip Kelly’s tenure could feature a fourth different starting quarterback.  

-A quick comparison of Kelly and our old pal, Andy Reid shows talent evaluation and stability at quarterback helps. Since both men began new jobs in 2013, Kelly is 26-20; Reid is 29-17.  

-Personally, I want the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers to play in the Super Bowl.  If that happens, either Mike McCarthy or Mike Tomlin becomes a two-time champion. Let that marinate for a second.  

-New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. is a terrific wideout and is on an historic statistical pace. But the Giants are 10-16 despite his efforts, adding fuel to the theory a superstar receiver is nice to have, but isn’t necessary.  

-Beckham Jr.’s cheap shot on Panthers cornerback Josh Norman is exactly the kind of hit the league rid itself of when quarterbacks were the victims. The NFL should have suspended him for the rest of the Giants’ miserable season AND the Pro Bowl. Yes, it’s a meaningless game in the big picture, but a 23-year old star like Beckham Jr. defines himself by making that trip to Hawaii. 

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area. He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

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Photo: businessinsider.com