SPARTANBURG Nothing says fashion like football. Its always been that way. Legends such as Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka and Mean Joe Green could knock you sideways, and look good doing it.
So it makes sense to put a football player on the cover of GQ, the countrys foremost magazine for mens fashion and style.
It makes even more sense to put Cam Newton and Tim Tebow on the cover of the September kickoff issue.
They dont share it. Buy the September issue in Charlotte and you get Newton. Buy it in Manhattan and you get Tebow. GQ could not tell me how many covers feature Newton. It could tell me that magazine will be on a leading newsstand near you Aug. 21.
Everybody is talking about it, especially at training camp.
Its my first time hearing about it, defensive end Charles Johnson says Tuesday after practice.
Hes not being sarcastic.
Somebody asks Johnson when hell get his GQ cover.
When they pay me, he says.
Two seasons ago the Panthers had a record of 2-14. They couldnt make the cover of Roar magazine. And they publish it.
Here they are atop the fashion world, stars of an issue that includes stories about coats, watches and perfect suits for the office. In some ways a GQ cover is more valuable than a Sports Illustrated cover because it will introduce Newton to readers who care more about whether their shirt is lemon, pumpkin, vanilla or sage than they do the Panthers, Saints, Falcons or Buccaneers. These fans might be looking for a franchise to adopt. Now they have one.
Carolina has never been a glamour team such as Dallas and it has never had a glamour player such as Tom Brady.
Newton is a glamour player. Look at him on the field Tuesday. The Panthers have 90 players, and 87 wear predictable colors, white or blue. Boring. Newton wears a shade of red so bold its almost scarlet. And you can tell the color is catching on because Derek Anderson and Jimmy Clausen wore it, too.
You might be disappointed when you see Newtons GQ cover shot because its as predictable as a blue jersey.
The money shot is inside.
Surrounded by TopCats, Newton stretches on the ground, left forearm on his helmet. He wears a $448 cardigan, a $70 shirt, $60 pants, a daring black scarf with two bold stripes, and a Cartier watch.
I go to Cartiers website and learn that it does not even make watches. Cartier makes timepieces. I click the first mens timepiece that pops up. It sells for $39,000.
Not bragging, but I once shopped for a Cartier watch. I bought a house instead.
Walking out of Woffords Campus Life Building Tuesday, I see the money shot for GQs 2013 September kickoff issue.
A Panther lineman lies on a sofa. Hes not surrounded by TopCats. Hes surrounded by linemen.
His legs are thick and his stomach is thicker and his gut hangs out of his T-shirt ($13.99), over his shorts ($7.99) and off the side of the sofa ($99.99).
Hes not glamorous. Hes a football player.
And you, the reader, are a football fan. GQ sells for $4.99, and Id love to know how many of you will buy the kickoff issue and what youll wear when you do.
I envision you in front of the mirror in a vintage Mike Minter jersey, trying to figure out which scarf will complement it best.