Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson and Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez were by far the runaway vote getters in the NFL Nation confidential survey. Anybody who is a football fan would want to see the best back in the game today and arguably top tight end of all time in the show.
But Newton is a lot closer to making the championship game than either of them. Peterson is on a Minnesota team that was 5-10-1 this season and is undergoing a coaching change.
Gonzalez is retired.
Newton is coming off a 12-4 season in which the Panthers won the NFC South. If the team can give him a few more weapons on offense and maintain what it has on defense with the league's No. 2 unit, the first pick of the 2011 draft will have a chance to reach the championship game that he did at the college level at Auburn and Blinn.
The only other Carolina player to receive a vote in the poll was left tackle Jordan Gross, and he went to the Super Bowl after the 2003 season.