Casey Jones loves Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers so much, she named her son after the MVP quarterback.
It was 2011 and she was on bed rest, during Newton’s rookie season, pregnant with twins – a girl and a boy to join their sister Allie, now 8. Coming up with a boy’s name that she and her husband could agree on had been difficult. But then Casey thought of it. She called her husband on the phone.
“I know what we’ll name him,” Casey told her husband Scott. “Cam.”
Scott knew exactly where she got the name from.
“Is that after Cam Newton?” he asked his wife. Casey told him ‘yes,’ and Scott agreed.
He was a fan of Cam Newton too and liked the name.
Their son’s full name is Camden Luke Jones.
And Cam’s middle name isn’t after Luke Keuchly. He hadn’t been drafted by the time the four-year-old and his twin sister, Brystol, were born.
“Luke was a coincidence,” Casey said, laughing. “But I’m glad it happened like that.”
Cam Jones laughs when he thinks of himself having the same name as his two favorite football players. He runs around the room with his Carolina Panthers football helmet, his toy car and Panthers shirt.
And he knows just how much his mom loves the Panthers too. When he gets mad at his mother, he tells her he’s now a Seahawks fan.
While his twin sister Brystol is shy, she loves to imitate signature Newton’s first down move, pointing both of her hands – with index fingers out –in a forward direction.
Like many North Carolina sports fans, before the Carolina Panthers came to town, Scott was a Washington Redskins fan. Casey liked the Dallas Cowboys. But they’re allegiances changed when the state got its first sports franchise in 1994.
They’ve been to many games since the team made the Carolinas its home. They’ve seen them through losing seasons and winning seasons.
This year the Panthers will play in the Super Bowl.
The Carolina Panthers (17-1) will play the Denver Broncos (14-4) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS. It is the Panthers’ second trip to the Super Bowl, their first since 2003, when they lost 32-29 to the New England Patriots.
The Panthers boast the best record in the league and are the favorites heading into the game.
“I think the mindset and the attitude they all have has a lot to do with their success this season,” Casey said. “Those guys on the team right now are awesome. And they are wonderful role models for the kids.”
Casey said she disagrees with all of the backlash Cam Newton has received this year.
“I don’t care what people say about Cam Newton, all those letters that people have been sending in,” she said. “I love for my kids to look up to him.”
That blacklash includes, a Tennessee mom writing a letter to the Charlotte Observer, criticizing Newton’s sportsmanship and dancing on the field, a Packers fan who demanded the Panthers compensate him for a Green Bay Packers banner Cam Newton tore down at Bank of America stadium, a Seahawks fan who called Newton classless and created a petition to ban Newton from the Seawhawks’ home field, and others.
“Haters are going to hate,” Casey said. “People look for anything they can find to say about somebody.”
Said Scott, “They’re just jealous. I’m into sportsmanship too, but Cam’s just having fun.”
And Allie: “They just want to be like him.”
The Jones family plans to go to a friend’s house to watch the Super Bowl, a family tradition. But this time, everyone will be focused on the game and not just the camaraderie and food.
Scott expects them to be on the edge of their seats, watching every moment.
Allie gave a bold prediction on what she thinks the score of the Super Bowl will be.
“I think we’re going to win big, 100 something to zero,” Allie said.