Saying Cam Newton runs for a lot of touchdowns is like saying a lot of people are going to go see the new Star Wars movie. It’s an accurate statement, but it doesn’t really convey the magnitude of the matter.
Newton isn’t just running for a lot of touchdowns by the standards of a quarterback. Newton is running for a lot of touchdowns by the standards of a running back. There’s only one NFL player who has run for at least five touchdowns in each of the last five seasons, and it’s not a running back. It’s Newton.
There are four running backs who have rushed for at least five touchdowns in four of the last five seasons: LeGarrette Blount, Mark Ingram, Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson. But none of them have scored five touchdowns in five out of five years like Newton, and unless Lynch comes back from his injury and scores two touchdowns in the next three games, none of them will.
Newton already has 40 rushing touchdowns in his career, with three games left in his fifth season. Not only has no quarterback done that, but no quarterback has come close: Daunte Culpepper, with 26 rushing touchdowns in his first five seasons, comes the closest.
With 40 rushing touchdowns in his first five seasons, Newton is ahead of the pace of a lot of great running backs, and every running back who entered the league with Newton in 2011: DeMarco Murray, who leads the 2011 running back draft class in rushing touchdowns, is at 32, eight touchdowns behind Newton.
There’s a long list of Hall of Fame running backs who had fewer rushing touchdowns in their first five seasons than Newton. Gale Sayers had 39. Thurman Thomas had 35. Jerome Bettis had 31. O.J. Simpson had 30. Larry Csonka had 27. John Riggins had 25.
Newton is already second in NFL history in rushing touchdowns for a quarterback, just three back of Steve Young’s record of 43. Newton could still break that record this year, at the age of 26.
Suffice to say, when Newton is done, he’ll have scored touchdowns at a rate unseen by any quarterback in NFL history. And for that matter, a rate unseen by many running backs.