In 2008, Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy for the Oklahoma Sooners. He was a Sophomore that year and led them to the National Title Game, which they lost to the Florida Gators. He chose to forgo the NFL Draft and return to Oklahoma for his junior season in 2009. After injuring his right shoulder twice that year he opted to enter the draft in 2010 where he was drafted number one overall by the St. Louis Rams.
In 2010, Cam Newton played his first full season of Division-I football with the Auburn Tigers. Just like Bradford, Newton won the Heisman Trophy and led his team to the National Title Game. However, unlike Bradford, Newton’s Tigers were victorious over the Oregon Ducks and won the title game. While Newton was winning the BCS Title game, Bradford was winning the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
In 2011, Newton chose to forgo his senior season and enter the draft, where he was also taken no. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers. Newton went on to set the all-time rookie record for passing yards and was the first rookie QB to throw for over 4,000 yards. Just like Bradford, he won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and Newton was named to NFC Pro-Bowl Roster.
Neither of these guys have been able to duplicate their success from their rookie season and have yet to make the playoffs. Going into the 2013, both teams improved their roster and were ready to make a run at the postseason. The Rams drafted offensive weapons for Bradford, while the Panthers loaded up on the defensive side of the ball.
With very similar stories, the two QBs met for the first time on Sunday. Newton completed 15 of his 17 passes for 204 yards and a TD. He also rushed 10 times for 26 yards and finished with a QB rating of 136.3. Bradford finished 21-for-30 for 255 yards with one TD and one INT that was returned for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Bradford hurt his left knee and was taken out of the game and did not return.
After their 30-15 win over the Rams, Newton has the Panthers on a two-game winning streak and competing for a Wild Card Spot. The Rams, on the other hand, are in a state of flux with the injury to Bradford and may find themselves back in the top-10 of the draft.