Last night was a tough loss for Panthers fans hoping for a fresh start to another great season and maybe even a little revenge stemming from a bad offensive performance in the Super Bowl. But after the game, a loss was almost certainly an afterthought.
Head shots on Cam Newton from Broncos players have spread like wildfire throughout social media following the game. Many people have argued Panthers fans that it wasn't the reason we lost, but they're missing the point. We know it's not the reason we lost and that's fine. It's the shots our quarterback took with what seemed to be blatant disregard from referees standing ten feet out from the aforementioned hits that is frustrating.
I realize the game is so fast on the field. However, if a referee can see two fingertips of Ryan Kalil's hands on a defender's facemask, in the jumble that is the trenches, they can certainly see a defender launching (leaving his feet) head first into Cam Newton's ear hole.
Just so we are clear, Panthers fans are not the only ones upset about this. Many sports analysts from various sites have stood up in disbelief of what they saw. As well as his Newton's teammates.
"There's no doubt that he's officiated differently than other QBs. He doesn't get some of the calls other QBs get." Louis Riddick of ESPN on Cam.
"It's kind of been like that since he's been here. They judge him different and they look at him differently, but that's not the reason we lost that football game."- Thomas Davis on Cam Newton after the loss.
"I kind of get that a lot. Being big, I figure that they guess you can take it. DBs be on my back all the time on slant routes and stuff. He's a quarterback, so you have to treat him like a quarterback."- Kelvin Benjamin relating to Newton during post game.
The NFL has already stated that "they concluded there were no indications of a concussion that would require further evaluation and the removal of a player." All this took place during officials discussing penalties to be handed out. Video was requested by neurotrauma consultant (unaffiliated) and independent athletic trainer who came to the above conclusion. Yet one of the number one signs of the NFL concussion protocol is a player "slow to get up after taking a shot to the head." Newton was on the ground for several moments following the shot that ultimately ended in an offsetting penalty for intentional grounding, because he was taking said shot to the head.
It will be interesting to see where all this leads to when the Panthers host the 49ers for their first home game of the season. Newton was asked questions following the game but deemed not in the protocol. The NFL will likely dig into the film to review the hits and fines should be followed. Also following could more evaluation for Cam Newton and the next game. The fact they went through the protocol that is supposed to pull a player and didn't is alarming. Did we want/need Cam in the game? Yes, but not at further risk of his health.
Cam Newton is a 6'6" 250lbs quarterback and yes, he can take punishment more than most other quarterbacks in the NFL. But that doesn't mean he can't receive the same player safety any other ones do?Especially as the NFL's reigning MVP, you would think he'd be favored a little more.