Cam Newton was hit 17 times in Carolina’s season-opening 21-20 loss at Denver, with the most gruesome shot coming in the final minutes of the game when Newton took a helmet-to-helmet blast from Broncos safety Darian Stewart. Newton seemed dazed but remained in the game.
While many viewers were concerned that Newton had sustained a concussion, Bart Scott thought Newton’s post-hit antics were Oscar-worthy.
“Cam Newton did a little bit of a little Ginobili,” the former NFL linebacker and current NFL Today on CBS analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “He understood what part of the game it was. Yes, it was a vicious shot to the head, but I don’t think he was dazed. Maybe dinged a little bit, but I don’t think it was one of those things where he had a concussion. He had to play it up and yuk it up to make sure that the call went his way. I don’t know if he really saw the flag at the end of the play. He looked up and was trying to spot the receiver and trying to milk it a little bit. That was a little bit of a Ginobili. You got to yuk it up to make sure you get the call – and if not that one, you get the next one.”
Gregg Giannotti wondered if game situation matters in terms of players deciding whether or not to go to the sidelines and get evaluated.
“Of course it shouldn’t matter, but of course it matters,” Scott said. “The referees are human, too. If he leaves the game, you’re hurting your opportunity to win. The referees gave him the benefit of the doubt. He was down there. It’s not like he was laying on the ground, rolling around holding his head. He got to his knees almost like he had lost his wind and he got up. He was fine, I believe. But of course that plays a role.”
Stewart was called for roughing the passer, but Newton was called for intentional grounding. The penalties offset, meaning Denver essentially got a free shot on the reigning league MVP.
Many wonder whether Newton is treated unfairly by referees.
“I think there’s two categories: the pocket quarterback and the mobile quarterback,” Scott said. “I think he gets treated like the mobile quarterback, and also because of his size, I think a lot of things don’t get called because they see him as a big athletic quarterback. You think about him, you think Ben Roethlisberger, sometimes Andrew Luck. These big mobile quarterbacks, a lot of times, they don’t get the calls that a lot of other superstars – traditional pocket quarterbacks (like) Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, even Aaron Rodgers – (often get). So I think it’s something they have to look at, but it’s just tough when you’re a mobile quarterback because they give the defense the benefit of the doubt because they know how difficult it is for you to get brought down.”