Hit the dab, Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers quarterback can walk onto the field at the Super Bowl later today feeling very confident after being named the NFL's Most Valuable Player this year. Newton was given the honor at Saturday night's NFL Honors show, making him the first Black player to win the award outright (Tennessee's Steve McNair shared the award with Peyton Manning after the 2004 season) and also the first Panther to ever take the prize.
Carolina's Ron Rivera was named Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons. Neither Newton nor Rivera attended the awards show, as they were in San Jose, California, preparing to face the Denver Broncos on Sunday in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium.
"It means so much, but not just for myself,'' Newton said in a video acceptance speech for the MVP award. "To be the first person in Panthers history to win it — that's what I'm most proud about. I've received a lot of awards, but to be able to get this organization here, I'm really proud. We didn't get in this position by happenstance. It took years of hard work and dedication, and now we are reaping the benefits."
According to ESPN, Newton was a landslide choice for MVP, with 48 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who regularly cover the NFL. Tom Brady and Carson Palmer each received one vote.
Newton also earned the Offensive Player of the Year award, which his father, mother and two brothers accepted Saturday night.
"Cam took an unconventional journey to get here, and we're just so proud of what has happened, my family and I," Newton's father, Cecil, said. "So many thanks go out to so many people, from Pop Warner to the Panthers. I don't have time to tell you all 'thank you.' You know who you are. We know who you are."
If Newton and the Panthers win Sunday, it would make Newton the first quarterback and second player ever to win a Heisman Trophy, college football national championship, NFL MVP and Super Bowl.
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(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)