clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why does Cam Newton give footballs away to kids?

Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula originally gave him the idea.

SB Nation's Super Bowl 50 Coverage

For much of the last five years, Cam Newton has given away footballs to kids in the stands after every Carolina Panthers touchdown. But the widely renowned "Sunday Giveaway" wasn't originally his idea.

In a 2013 interview with NFL Total Access, Newton explained the history behind this random act of kindness. As it turns out, Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula is the person who first brought it up to him.

"My quarterbacks coach Mike Shula was teasing [me] about how individualistic the Superman pose could be," Newton said. "He said, 'Well, it would be cool if you could give a fan a football.' So I said, 'Alright, coach. Just for you.'"

Though Newton's penchant for giving footballs away is a relatively new phenomenon, his love for kids isn't. According to his junior college coach, Brad Franchione, he's always had an affinity for making children happy.

"I see why [Cam] hands the football to the kids, because I saw him in 2009 with how he interacted with my kids and how much time he enjoyed with them," Franchione said.

Other members of the Panthers have followed in Newton's footsteps and delivered balls to young fans as well. In the NFC Championship, for example, wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. gave one of his touchdowns to a little girl.

On a couple of occasions over the years, Newton has faced deterrents in his quest to present footballs to young fans. In December, Newton overcame the obstacle of a curmudgeon-like referee who insisted on tossing the football to a spotter after a Carolina touchdown instead of letting Newton have it.

Last December, two kids in the stands actually fought over receiving a Cam-delivered souvenir.

Perhaps Newton's most memorable giveaway occurred Nov. 8, when he chased down a football to hand off to a 6-year-old who had recently lost his father. Green Bay Packers linebacker and former Panther Julius Peppers actually ripped the ball out of Newton's hands and tossed it aside, but Newton recovered it just in time.

Newton didn't know the young fan, Colin Toler's, backstory at the time, but the gesture made his day.

"I was like oh gosh, oh gosh," Toler said via WSET13. "Am I going to be on the big screen or am I going to be on TV? I was jumping up and down like yeah!"

Provided the Panthers score during the Super Bowl, whoever receives a football from Newton will have a memory to last a lifetime.