Lamar Jackson is a two-time NFL MVP and one of the most recognizable faces in the sport of football but, according to Cam Newton, he isn't the face of the NFL. Newton argues that the face of the league is Patrick Mahomes, despite Jackson's impressive personal accomplishments.

“In modern-day [if] somebody were to say who's the face of the NFL right now: Patrick Mahomes,” Newton said on the latest edition of his 4th & 1 podcast. “For as great as Lamar Jackson is and has been, there's never been a point in time where somebody has dominated the MVP race and polls of unanimous winner like Lamar Jackson has. But it's still Patrick Mahomes because of one reason and one reason only: three Super Bowl rings.”

He continued, “There's never a moment in time where you can be a face of a league without no championship rings, and even if you do have championship rings we go off to another discussion point, are you marketable?”

Newton experienced the same in his career. He was a phenomenal quarterback that was acclaimed for his dual-threat ability and exciting style of play. However, he was never acknowledged as the league's figurehead, despite clinching his MVP and guiding the Panthers to the Super Bowl. Newton realizes that fact and acknowledges it.

“When I won MVP back in 2015, me still being voted the number one player by my peers, Tom Brady was still the face of the league, I would also say JJ Watt was the face of the league too for some time from a non-quarterback position, and even really Drew Brees was a Golden Boy.”

Jackson, however, doesn't seem to truly be concerned with being the face of the league or a marketable star. He seems to want to earn his medal as a champion and elevate his level of play, as he did in the 2023 season. He had an outstanding season with the top-ranked Ravens, who finished with a 13-4 record. He ended the year with 3,678 passing yards and 24 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. Additionally, he rushed for 821 yards and scored five touchdowns. Jackson played a crucial role in the explosive Baltimore offense, leading the NFL in rushing and ranking in the top positions for scoring (fourth with 28.4 points per game), yards (sixth with 370.4 per game), and red zone scoring (eighth with 61.8 percent conversion).

Although he might not be considered a “Face of the league” a la Mahomes, he's had flashes of greatness that has commanded attention from the sports world. Lamar Jackson had several MVP-worthy moments, including outdueling MVP finalist Brock Purdy on Christmas Day and having a standout 321-yard, five-touchdown performance versus the Miami Dolphins in Week 17.

Newton certainly is spot on with how Super Bowl wins trump individual accomplishments when looking at true marketability. But, Lamar is a star and is building a legacy that will cement him as one of the greatest to ever grace the field.