Cam Newton, 26, the dynamic starting quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, is a native of Atlanta, Ga. Newton graduated from Westlake High School in Atlanta before going on to the Unviersity of Florida and then eventually to Auburn University, where he won the Heisman Trophy. Before his days in the spotlight, Newton played his first football game in a Fulton County park as a youth; Fulton County is the country in which Atlanta is located.
Growing up in Atlanta, Newton idolized Titans quarterback Steve McNair, and was just a child when the Titans faced the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, which took place in Atlanta in 2000:
“Air McNair. What didn’t I like about him? … I remember when the Super Bowl was in Atlanta and Steve McNair was there,’’ Newton said. “It just goes to show you that this is a game of inches. (McNair) threw the slant at the end and (Kevin Dyson) reached out and didn’t get it, one of my all-time favorite Super Bowl moments.
Now that Newton himself is in the Super Bowl, just like his boyhood hero, he has plenty of support of his own. In fact, he will have a Fulton County cheering session prior to the Super Bowl. Fulton County commissioners recently passed a resolution to honor quarterback Cam Newton for his “outstanding achievements in athletics and community service.”
Fulton County commissioner Emma Darnell said she hoped the resolution would be inspirational to others in the county.
However, not everyone in the area has unbounded love for Newton. He did play for the University of Georgia’s heated college football rivals Florida and Auburn, only to then play professionally for the Panthers, an NFC South Division rival of the Atlanta Falcons. Some in the area, like others around the country, also find his showboating and perceived cockiness – like the dab dance he and his teammates do to celebrate – off-putting.