Five reasons why the NFL’s Cam Newton is similar to the GFL’s Quentin Barnes

Number 5 may shock you!

I get it every year from readers. Depending on who the hot NFL quarterback is, I get the inevitable, “Quentin Barnes is a lot like X, amiright?” Plenty of NFL QBs are comparable to Quentin in one way or another, but I think the closest I’ve ever seen is Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.

Many readers came to the my Galactic Football League series of novels from 2010 to 2012, and many of those thought Quentin was based on Tim Tebow. Nope. I wrote THE ROOKIE‘s first draft back in 1999 or so, when Tebow was 12 years old. Quentin’s large size was originally based on Danté Culpepper, who at 6-4, 260 was a beast of a QB. I combined Culpepper’s skill and size with Jim McMahon‘s attitude and backstory to create everyone’s favorite Ionath Kraken.

So why is Cam so “Quentin-esque,” you ask? Allow me to enumerate:

Quarterbacks may look smaller on the field, but that is only because they are surrounded by freakin’ giants. In truth, the typical NFL quarterback is a big person. So why are Barnes and Newton similar in this category? They are bigger than most people who play that position.

Russell Wilson is 5-11 — so tiny standing next to Cam.

The GFL is set seven centuries in the future. Human players have gotten much bigger than they are today. Where GFL quarterbacks average about 6-9, 310. When Quentin is nineteen and playing Tier 3 ball for the Micovi Raiders in THE ROOKIE, Book I of the GFL series, he’s listed at 7-0, 360. The phrase used for his taller, more massive physique is that a Human that size could be “a small tight end.” By the time he hits Book V, THE CHAMPION, he’s 23 years old and a grown-ass-man at 380 pounds.

In the NFL, people are smaller overall, but in that context Cam’s size stands out. The average NFL quarterback is roughly 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. Newton is 6-foot-5, and listed at 245 pounds although most pundits say he’s 250 or even a bit over that. That’s almost as big as the Chief’s Travis Kelce (6-5, 260), who had a breakout season this year, and only a tad smaller than superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski (6-6, 265).

But Cam’s only 25-30 pounds bigger than other QBs, you say. That’s not that much, you say. SHUT YOUR VILE MOUTH, SIR AND/OR MA’AM. Bigger, faster and stronger means more force, which is something that comes into play when both QB’s carry the ball …

There are many quarterbacks as large as Cam (and Quentin), but what makes both superstars different is they are so big and they can run the ball. Either guy is like a tall running back, complete with agility for sweet moves combined with the mass and strength needed to run your ass over.

Obviously I can’t show you clips of Quentin, but I can show you clips of Cam. This first clip shows how size and strength can let him do things other QB’s can’t do. Let me break it down into three categories: strength, speed, and scrambling/open field running.

Speed = Highlight #2
Scrambling / open field running = Highlight #4
Passing accuracy = Oh, he has that, too? Highlights #3 and #5

If you don’t know football, highlight #4 in that reel is defined as “f-ing ridiculous.” That is a 6-5, 250-pound man making those moves, defying momentum and inertia to completely change direction numerous times while highly trained assassins are trying to decapitate him.

The NFL doesn’t want people to play videos outside of YouTube, unfortunately, so hit “play” and if you can’t see the video just follow the link:

That’s sooooo Quentin, brah.

While we never “see” Quentin’s face, his good looks are frequently commented on. Yolanda Davenport mentions it, as does yacht salesman Manny Sayed who wants Quentin to be his pitch man — the face that sold a hundred really expensive ships, so to speak. Newton is also one handsome devil, with a bright smile that makes him a target for Madison Avenue.

In fact, Cam is poised to become the NFL’s biggest pitch-man, taking the title away from self-deprecating ad fave Peyton Manning. This is where Quentin and Cam part, however — Quentin gets hundreds of offers to advertise, and passes on all but one. It looks like Cam has never met an ad campaign he didn’t like.

Quentin makes a habit of circling the field after every home game, high-fiving fans who reach down over the barrier. Ever wonder what that looks like? It looks exactly like this:

And also this:

Okay, Cam doesn’t high-five as many aliens as Quentin does, but you get the point.

Surprised? Many of my readers are. In all the GFL books, I intentionally gloss over Quentin’s skin tone in his descriptions. I wanted every man, woman, boy or girl to be able to project either themselves or their ideal image of an amazing athlete upon the character of Quentin Barnes. Are you Pakistani? Than maybe you think of Quentin as Pakistani. Are you Hispanic? White? Arabic? Russian? Have that favorite QB from your college team? Fondly remember your star high school quarterback? In your mind, dear reader, Quentin can be any of those things?

But make no mistake: I wrote the book, and Quentin Barnes is black. In the GFL (seven centuries in the future, remember), a black quarterback is nothing unusual and no one gives a shit about the color of your skin — unless your blue, I suppose (shout-out to Don Pine). There is far more focus on Quentin hailing from the Purist Nation, because no PN quarterback has ever won a Galaxy Bowl — a direct parallel to something people pointed out about black quarterbacks in the NFL before the great Doug Williams snagged dat ring as part XXII in 1988. Until Williams, there was this bullshit wag that a black QB couldn’t win the big one. In the GFL, people say the same thing about Purist Nation quarterbacks.

Cam is black, obvs. He catches a lot of shit for his excessive celebrations (first downs, touchdowns, gain two yards, you name it, that dude will celebrate it). Some think he catches that shit because racism: whitey can’t handle a successful black QB. I’m sure there’s an element of that, but in my opinion it’s more of a culture clash than outright racism. When I played football and wrestled, for example, we were taught to celebrate in moderation, that humility was a part of sportsmanship. Cam says screw that and has a ton of fun playing the game. This might be something I blog about down the road — Cam’s “having fun” comes across to many as “bragging” and “rubbing it in” against the other team. Fun? Absolutely? Good sportsmanship? Not so much. I don’t see anyone bagging on Teddy Bridgewater and E.J. Manuel. James Winston is definitely catching some crap, though is it any more or less than Ben Rothlesburger? They’re both under fire for the same off-field reasons.

Quentin is a top QB because he is bigger than most, faster than most, has a cannon for an arm, has amazing pass accuracy, can make running back moves and also run your ass over when he has to. Newton is a a top QB because he is bigger than most, faster than most, has a cannon for an arm, has amazing pass accuracy, can make running back moves and also run your ass over when he has to.

It’s like they are cosmic twins separated by a mere 700 years!

This is a hard one. I want to see Cam win, because I think Cam is the total package and reminds me a lot of my vision of Quentin Barnes. I think he makes the sport fun and embraces the fact that he’s lucky enough to get to play a game for a living. Does he have his rough spots? Sure. He’s brash and he’s young.

I want to see the Broncos win because I think Peyton Manning is one of the best QBs of all time, an on-field genius who changed the way the position is played. He’s overcome a lot to make it to this last game. It would be great to see him with two rings (mostly so his brother Eli can’t lord that over him at Thanksgiving dinner).

So my pick? I think Carolina is better overall. I pick the Panthers 27-17. What’s your pick?

Here’s to hoping for a great Super Bowl.


About The Author


    1. scottsigler

      Shep: You know, I think he did when he lost that playoff game to the Wolfpack. I’l have to go back and check.

      When you work your entire life to reach a goal, work hard, and constantly, and you are so close to that goal and it slips away? Hell yes people cry.

  1. OrionWitch

    I was becoming a GFL fanatic right about the same time that Tim Tebow was drafted by my beloved Broncos, so I saw a lot of similarities to Quentin Barnes. Their relative size, raw athleticism, and religious upbringing seemed very similar. For some reason, Quentin’s personality made me think of Brian Bosworth.

    As far as the color of Quentin’s skin, I had assumed that all humans would be basically the same color. White, black, yellow, red, brown, etc… will have all blended into a limited spectrum of beige-to-tan.

    1. scottsigler

      OrionWitch: Have to remember, though, that Quentin was very much against the Purist religion. In that way he’s more like McMahon, who was the quarterback at BYU even though he wasn’t mormon and didn’t live by the school’s “honor code.” He was there to play football, much like Quentin. Tebow seems pretty devout in his beliefs.

      1. Charles


        thanks for the reply

        you are the best story teller every,

        well not quite as good as john was… ie .3:16

        but I watch you like a hawk and look forward to your next installment

        thank you ever so much, Scott, talent like yours is out of this world

  2. David Roman

    As I live in the Carolinas, i’m all about the Panthers, and I hope they can cap off this amazing year with a SB win.

    #5 totally threw me, i agree 100% with Joey Lynch

    “I have to say I’ve always imagined Quentin as white. I always had the picture that the Purist Nation was akin to a KKK or Nazi type of culture and so that’s where my mind went with it’s inhabitants.”

    Thats pretty much how I thought about his race, thinking “purist” was just another type of Nazi type group, and never really thought about his color after that.

    I guess we all bring our own prejudices into things and how we see the world.
    Should have realized this as the whole GFL is about accepting other races and learning how to overcome our own prejudices.

  3. Joey Lynch

    I have to say I’ve always imagined Quentin as white. I always had the picture that the Purist Nation was akin to a KKK or Nazi type of culture and so that’s where my mind went with it’s inhabitants. Scott, I do love that you are utilizing minorities, by today’s standards, as leading characters for your stories like Quentin and Em. Thanks for ear-pleasings.

    1. scottsigler

      Joey: I’m not surprised that’s the image you had. Many people have that same concept when they read it. If you take a step back from ‘Murica, however, you see that racism is a problem all over the world, not just here.

      Overcoming racism is a main theme of the GFL series. Showing that racists come from all colors (and species) helps establish that theme.

  4. Alex

    I always imagined Quentin was a mix of football QBs. Most of my time I’ve just watched football in it’s modern age so my comparisons have been to the QBs in the league post 2000. He’s got a brain like Peyton Manning’s, size like Roeth, speed like Vick, and the arm and accuracy like Rodgers’. Those were my immediate comparisons anyways.

    As for the Super Bowl… I’m a homegrown Broncos fan. I want Manning to get the Elway treatment and ride off into the sunset as a champ. Easier said then done though. I expect the game to be close thanks to the Broncos D. Which is why your 27 points for Carolina surprised me… with Wade at the helm and the skill of the defense I think Cam is in for a rough day. He’ll get his but not 27.

    My final score prediction is 24-17 Broncos.

    1. scottsigler

      Alex: Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Panthers rack up 27 in the first half alone. They always start strong. The test will be to see if the Broncos can weather the storm. Ironically enough, Peyton turning into a “game manager” could be the thing that helps the Broncos the most, because they need to slow the game down and have long drives to keep Cam off the field as much as possible in the first half. If the Broncos do that, if they keep moving the chains and have long drives, they will win.

      I like your hodgepodge Quentin. That’s a great mix.

      1. Alex

        27 in the first half? I mean the Panthers O is good and you need to be when you win 17 games but you might be underselling the Broncos D. Most say the Panthers line is good but that’s thanks to there max protection scheme they run. Funny as that works in the Broncos D better as they will have less receivers in play and with the No Fly Zone that’s not a good idea (they’re hard to beat with 5 spread out. Go ask the Pats). The goal is to stop the run as that’s the Panthers bread and butter but eyes will still be pealed for the pass. Also keep your eyes peeled for Von Miller cause you might miss him ;). Which makes me curious to ask if there is any pass rushing linebackers similar to the likes of Ware, Miller, Houston, and Mack in the GFL?

        Agreed on the Broncos O though. They will need to play the game of keep Cam off the field but they need to score. No more of this run, run, pass, punt Kubes likes so much.

      1. Alex

        DaveKan: I thought it was a great prediction too 😉

        Scott: Hoped you enjoyed the defensive slug fest that was SB 50. Go Broncos!

  5. Jesse

    Scott, I don’t know if I ever told you this in the many times we have talked, but the Rookie is the reason I’m so obsessed with football. And Cam Newton is absolutely my pick for Quentin. So would that make Peyton Don Pine? Either way. Go Broncos!!!!

  6. Jacob Larsen

    I think it’s a very bad decision to first let your readers create their own image of Quentin Barnes and then change their perception by reveiling this now.

    It’s entirely your decision to make him black, white or even blue. I’m fine with that, but I’ve heard 3 and a half book of the GFL series now, and have my internal picture of QB set up, and now you go out and change it.

    I really think you should have let your readers keep their internal images or told this information from the get go. It’s not like the skin color should be a big deal anyway, but if information about a characters look should be given, it should be given before a reader makes an internal image of said character.

    This being said I really liked, I could make Quentin look like anyone I wanted.

    Love your writing and I hope you get eaten by a Ki.

    1. DanielD

      Maybe the difference in perception is based on if you read it, or heard Scott read it… I’m could have swore that it was established very early on that Quentin was black.

  7. Innae

    I am hoping for a sixth similarity this weekend…like Quentin, Cam throws some great passes to Denver! Go BRONCOS!

  8. Evan Hammerman

    I’ll be honest, I never realized Quentin was black, partly because, as you mentioned Scott, it isn’t an issue in the books. Quentin being from the Purist Nation was more of an issue in the first two or so books.

    Too bad Cam Newton isn’t left-handed.

  9. Rachel

    Aren’t there “black” humanoids in the GFL? With ebony skin? Not the varieties of many Browns that we see in modern times.

    1. BigJohn

      Rachel, The most notable example i can think of is Jonathan Sandoval. He’s described as being black-skinned.

      On the Krakens, Samuel Darkeye is black-skinned, as is Tim Crawford.

      Rick Warburg has light brown skin, probably similar to Quentin.

        1. scottsigler

          Shawn: I will answer your rum-soaked question, sir. The Ki do have their own ethnicities. I haven’t gotten into specifics and probably won’t as that’s a really deep level of detail not yet needed in the stories.

          1. DanielD

            How about Ki vegans? … and on another note, you should get a Creterakians on the team. The NFL had Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead, et al. …maybe they could be part of special teams, encased in armor, and thrown to block punts, etc. I’m pretty sure that’s how Woodhead get’s through the line sometimes.

  10. connie taylor

    I kind of knew he was black… you kind of hint at it in a way… and his sister has ‘caramel’ skin…. sort of imagined a dark skinned man without the label of black…

    1. scottsigler

      connie: Probably because in my vision of the future, that label has ceased to have any meaning. You have 700 years of ethnic interbreeding, which probably makes for a more uniform “color.” Add to that the introduction of blue and bone-white people, and the visual differentiators change. “White” and “Black” as we now know them are almost indiscernible from each other when you compare them to Don Pine and his blue skin.