Tag Archives: Carolina Panthers

Newton, Cam

Card: Upper Deck College Legends 2011
Acquired: Box Breaker, 2019

I bought a box of Upper Deck College Legends at the beginning of 2019 with the Christmas money I had gotten. Inside was this gem of a pull. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d get Cam’s autograph so this came as quite a happy surprise and a shot in the arm to start off the year.

After seeing little playing time at Florida, Cam Newton transferred to Blinn Junior College for a year where he won the equivalent of the JC National Championship in 2009. The following year in 2010, he joined the Auburn Tigers and led them to a National Championship. He also won the Heisman Trophy as a dual threat quarterback, passing for 2854 yards on 185 of 280 throws, along with 30 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. On the ground, Cam rushed for 1473 yards and 20 touchdowns on 264 carries.

He’d cap off his monumental year by being selected #1 overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft- who immediately turned over the reins of the franchise to their new starting quarterback. Critics were quickly silenced when he threw for over 400 yards in his first game, and shattered rookie quarterback records, en route to Offensive Rookie of the Year Honors.

Arguably his best season came in 2015 when he won the NFL Offensive MVP award, and led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50. During the regular season he threw for 3837 yards and 35 touchdowns and a career low 10 interceptions, while rushing for 637 yards and 10 TDs.

Since that point, Cam’s career has gone sideways as inconsistency and injuries have forcibly taken their toll over his career. In 2019 he started a career low 2 games, and although he is still considered one of the most underrated offensive threats in the league, Cam has faced withering criticism from fans who feel that his wardrobe is more important than his game. He was allowed to enter free agency in 2020, and after a longer than usual wait, Cam signed with the New England Patriots where he currently is their starting quarterback.

Hunt, Cole

Card: Topps AAF 2019 Certified, Topps AAF 2019, Topps AAF 2019 Future Stars
Acquired: EBay 2019. TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 4/8 Received: 4/17 (9 days)

TCU alum Cole Hunt was an interesting name to watch for the San Antonio Commanders of the AAF in 2019. Unfortunately nagging injuries slowed his playing time. He saw action in a few games, logging 2 catches for 13 yards.

At 6’6″, 254 Cole provides nice size and blocking skills that most teams look for out of a tight end. Never logging more than 10 catches in a season, he finished with 25 receptions for 242 yards and 2 TDs, while splitting time between Rice (2014-2015) and TCU (2016-2017). After being cut by the Chargers in 2018, he’d join the Commanders for the ‘abbreviated’ Alliance football season, and quickly find a home with the Carolina Panthers in late April of 2019.

Cole did not make the roster of the Carolina Panthers, and later signed with the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL 2020, but was placed on IR early in the season.

Cook, Connor

Cards: Panini Contenders 2016 GameDay, Panini Contenders 2016 Passing Grades, Leaf Draft 2016, Leaf Draft 2016 All-American, Score 2016 ScoreCard, Panini Elite 2016, Topps XFL 2020, Panini Prism 2015, Panini Draft 2015
Acquired: IP 2019, Houston Roughnecks Fan Meet & Greet.
TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 7/3 Received: 7/24 (21 days)

Connor Cook was a 3 year starter for the Michigan State Spartans. He played college ball there from from 2011 to 2015, and saw action in 43 games, passing for 9,184 yards and 71 TDs to 22 interceptions. Cook was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Raiders saw value selecting him and decided to groom Cook behind incumbent quarterback Derek Carr.

He was pressed into his first starting duty- a grinder of a game against the Houston Texans in the first round of the 2016 Playoffs. The Raiders fell 27-14, as Cook threw for 161 yards and a TD to 3 interceptions. Connor saw no action in 2017 and was cut in 2018 after the Raiders traded for AJ McCarron.

Connor spent the next year on and off the rosters of the Panthers, Bengals and Lions. He was selected in the first round of the XFL 2020 Draft by the Houston Roughnecks. I sort of questioned the move considering the Roughnecks already had Philip Walker allocated to the team, but coach June Jones insisted that he was picking the best player available with NFL experience.

I pulled every card I had of Connor and added 2 or 3 more hoping to get Connor’s autograph during the season. Luck was on my side as the Roughnecks frequently put together fan events.

The Roughnecks put together an event in the Woodlands where they had Connor Cook and Sammie Coates at. It was a no brainer. I was going to call it a success if I could get 2 or 3 cards signed- but in the end I was able to get all 5 knocked out along with a stack of cards of Sammie as well.

The event itself went well. The players were friendly and approachable. Connor talked to me one on one for a few minutes. We talked about briefly about the AAF and how it failed before he had to go up on stage. There Connor really shined, with a quick wit and clever smile. Afterwards both he and Sammie signed more autographs for fans. I was able to get them both on posters before I headed back out.

Of this group, the Panini Contenders cards really stood out. I love the Gameday cards. I wasn’t really fond of either of the Leaf entries, but the Score Scorecard makes up for the Leaf cards trite design.

Well the quarterback competition between Cook and Walker apparently went down to the wire. In the end PJ was named starting quarterback of the Roughnecks. I really had hoped to see more of Connor, but PJ played lights out the entire way. Still I think Connor has the prospects of being one of the brighter stars in a spring league if he decides to try that route again.

I got a few more cards of his after being caught flat footed at the Roughnecks season ticket holder event, but the cards, ordered 2 weeks before the league shut down- didn’t arrive until after 2 months after the league shut down. Still that gave me a chance to add his Topps XFL 2020 card to the batch, which really pushed him up on my list of players I wanted to get an autograph from thru. I really liked how the Elite cards were designed in 2016 as well. The abstract design is actually really smart as the lines all cross artistic points of emphasis. It’s a beautiful card, but like many the distribution kills my interest in making this one a set to collect. I’m not very hot on the gaudy Prism set, but I liked the die cut helmet one enough as it is eye catching.