Like the rest of you, I'm a daily watcher of ESPN, which means a few times a day I hear analysts and "experts" comparing Cam Newton to Ben Roethlisburger. Now most of these people aren't scouts and neither am I, but I'm a huge fan of Big Ben, and I don't see Cam Newton as a Roethlisburger type player. Still, I'll give it a chance. I'll throw some stats out there, and you can tell me what you think.
Cam Newton's numbers in the 2011 season: 185-280, 2854 yards, 66.1% completions, 30 TDs, 7 INTs. 264 Rushes, 1473 Yards, 20 TDs.
Ok, now let's compare that to: 212-325, 3036 yards, 65.2% competions, 26 TDs, 10 INTs. 155 rushes, 1050 yards and 12 TDs.
Well, Cam ran the ball about a hundred times more, and had about 400 more rushing yards. He passed the ball about 45 times less, and was almost 200 yards shy in passing yards. He had a few more TDs and a few less INTs through the air, but, honestly, that's not too much different. They're both hovering pretty close to 3,000 yards, both rushed for over a thousand yards... I guess I do see some correlation.
There's just one problem... The second set of numbers aren't Roethlisburger.Did I trick you? It's ok, you don't have to admit it. If you're curious, by the way, I can put up Roethlisburger's numbers from his last season in the college ranks. Here:
Ben Roethlisburger, Miami (OH): 342-495, 69.1% completions, 4486 yards, 37 TDs, 10 INTs.
How was Roethlisburger as a runner? 67 rushes, 111 yards, 3 TDs.
Are you surprised? I was. I've always thought of Roethlisburger as a QB whose greatest strength is his mobility. Still, that never showed up in the form of rushing yards in college. I had to do a double take on his passing numbers also. The college season has a maximum of 14 scheduled games, and Roethlisburger threw for almost 4500 yards. That means he must have AVERAGED about 320 yards, almost 3 TDs and less than one interception per game. Statistically, he also had to throw 35 times a game to reach 495 pass attempts, and he still managed to have a completion percentage 3 full points higher than Newton. Newton, on the other hand, averages 20 pass attempts per game, and about 18 rushing attempts.
Is Cam Newton a talented college QB? Yes. Is he an explosive player who can create a lot of excitement? Yes. Is he Jamarcus Russell v2.0? Probably not. But is he anything, a-ny-thing like Ben Roethlisburger? No. Miami of Ohio relied on Big Ben's arm more heavily than most any QB I can think of and Big Ben still exceeded expectations. Cam Newton ran almost as often as he threw it. Big Ben accounted for 10,829 yards through the air in his 3-year college career. Cam Newton only played one year of college football as a starter.
Hopefully, this information helps to clear up the question of "how do Big Ben and Cam Newton compare?" In my humble opinion, they don't. Roethlisburger was a significantly better passer, and Cam ran the ball a much higher percentage of his total snaps than Ben. Well, that's that mystery solved. By the way, did you figure out whose stat line I used in the fake-out back at the top of the column? It was Vince Young's numbers from his senior year.