By Ted Fleming
The Panthers held a brief four-hour practice so players could enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday as they prepare for their Monday night tilt against the Eagles in Philadelphia. There was little to report except that Dwan Edwards, Thomas Davis and Ron Edwards sat just to give them a break as well as a few offensive linemen.
Colin Jones did not participate because of concussion protocols, while Steve Smith got the day off because the team was a little worried that he might have opened up the stitches to his finger; the cut happening in Sunday’s loss.
But while the team took a break, Panthers’ fans got a heavy dose of their quarterback, and he was brought to you by the letter “C,” as in commercials. Cam Newton’s infectious personality was on full display in spots for the Windows Phone, but nothing compared to the hilarious spot for the NFL’s Play60 campaign.
The masterminds behind those spots did not let the Panthers’ woeful season get in the way of running them time and time again. It is pure genius that Newton came into everyone’s home to remind us that he is still just 23 and if his team manages to turn things around in the near future he is a marketing company’s dream and could even rise to Peyton Manning status.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock since the 2011 NFL Draft, Newton has already been around the block a few times representing companies from Under Armour to sitting in a cubicle at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut and even graced the cover of GQ Magazine. But the one he will likely be remembered for is his rapid-fire back and forth with a kid named Nate.
It shows the youngster standing in a playground while Newton uses the Panthers’ home, Bank of America Stadium, and a yellow school bus with a Play60 banner on it as the backdrop. It went something like this:
NATE: Hey Cam, thanks a lot for coming to my school today.
CAM: No problem Nate. (That thousand-watt smile beaming)
NATE: I promise to exercise and eat right.
CAM: Don’t forget 60-minutes of play a day, right?
NATE: And I’ll grow up to be big and strong like you?
NATE: And Play in the NFL?
CAM: Yes sir.
NATE: And be drafted number one?
NATE: And be starting quarterback of the Panthers?
CAM: Okay. (Laughing)
NATE: And you can be my backup?
CAM: Excuse me? (He leans in, the smile slowly disappearing)
NATE: And make Panthers’ fans forget about you?
CAM: Wha…? (Now with puzzled look on his face)
NATE: And become your momma’s favorite player?
CAM: Whoa. (Waving his hand)
The next show sees Nate swinging his arm round and round)
NATE: I’m just loosening my arm.
Newton is a natural just like he is on the field. Sure he went through a tough period where he took a lot of flak for how he handled himself but these spots are exactly what he needed. Being shown in a positive light could easily make people look at him quite a bit differently. What will make him more marketable, Manning-style, is being the leader of a winning ball club.
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Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.