NFL's most valuable is a Panther

Rick Gosselin

(Photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers)
(Photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers)

(Cam Newton photo courtesy of the Carolina Panthers)

Talk of Fame Network

Adrian Peterson won his third NFL rushing title, and Tom Brady had another marvelous year as is his custom.

Brady passed for 4,770 yards with 36 touchdowns and only seven interceptions to power the injury-riddled New England Patriots to their seventh consecutive AFC East title and yet another 12-win season.

You can argue Peterson, who rushed for 1,485 yards ... or Brady ... was the best player in the NFL this season. But the most valuable player -- that’s another discussion altogether. And that’s a discussion dominated by Cam Newton.

In last week’s Talk of Fame Network poll, we asked our listeners and readers to vote on the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player and gave them six options: four quarterbacks, a running back or a pass rusher. Newton won going away with 48.7 percent of the vote, followed by Brady at 30.8, then Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer at 12.8 and Peterson at 7.7 percent.

Talk of Fame Network co-hosts Clark Judge and Rick Gosselin both agreed with the poll, casting their ballots for Newton. But our Ron Borges had other thoughts. He leaned toward Palmer, saying he not only was having a career year but argued "Where were the Cardinals without him? Not the second seed in the NFC, that's for sure.''

As usual, his colleagues disagreed with him.

“Newton lifted the Panthers to unexpected heights after the loss of his top receiver, and he did it not just with passing and running, but with leadership,” Judge said.

Indeed. Newton lost his best playmaker in training camp when wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin suffered a season-ending knee injury. That subtracted a 1,000-yard receiver and top touchdown producer (nine in 2014) from the offensive lineup. But that didn’t slow Newton down, whose arms and legs powered the Panthers to a 14-0 start and a 15-1 overall record for an NFC South title and the top seed in the NFC playoff bracket.

Newton completed only 58.9 percent of his passes, well below the league average, but threw for 3,837 yards with 35 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. What separated him from the other quarterbacks, though, was his legs. He also rushed for 636 yards and 10 more scores.

Newton passed for five touchdowns in a game three times. His best game came in victory No. 14 against the New York Giants when he passed for 340 yards and five touchdowns and also rushed for 100 yards. Newton only threw one interception over the final seven weeks of the season.

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