CHARLOTTE – Cam Newton is, indeed, ready for some football.
"I remember the theme song with my man with the cowboy hat," Newton said in reference to Hank Williams Jr.'s iconic introduction to Monday Night Football when Newton was a kid. "Are you ready for some football? Good sauce, good swag right there.
"I might bring my cowboy hat for Monday night, too."
Newton recognized at an early age that Monday Night Football was a big deal and dreamed of being a part of it. He's a part of it all right, often playing his best ball under the bright lights.
Newton enters the Monday night matchup against the Dolphins with a 4-1 record on Mondays. In his debut in 2012 at the Eagles, Newton became the fifth quarterback in the history of Monday Night Football to pass for two touchdowns and rush for two touchdowns. He also reached the 300-yard benchmark through the air – the first time but certainly not the last time.
If Newton tops 300 yards against the Dolphins, he would join just five other current quarterbacks with four or more 300-yard games on Monday Night Football – and he'd do so with much fewer appearances. While Newton has topped 300 in 60 percent of his MNF games, the five he would join – Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning and Matt Ryan – have combined to hit 300 in 40 percent of their Monday games.
And here's more toward the point that Newton thrives on Monday night: Away from Monday Night Football, he reaches 300 passing yards less than once every seven games.
Of course, 300-yard games aren't the end-all, as evidenced by the fact that Newton's highest passing yardage effort in a Monday game (2014 versus the Eagles) stands as his lone loss. Along those same lines, the most memorable Monday Night Football game for Newton actually came when he threw for the fewest yards.
In Week 11 of the 2013 season against a 7-2 Patriots team, Newton threw for just 209 yards, but 57 of them came on an epic drive in the final minutes that netted a 24-20 triumph. That game emphatically announced that the Panthers – led by Newton in his third NFL season – had reached relevance, sparking them to their first of three consecutive playoff appearances.
With yet another Monday Night Football victory versus the Dolphins, Newton and the 6-3 Panthers would move closer to another playoff berth.