The last time Cam Newton lost to the Broncos, he pulled on a hoodie and moped and pouted his way through a brief press conference, and became an offseason-long topic of conversation.
So this time, he made it a point to get dressed and answer every question, even if both were done a bit oddly.
The unusual outfit was loud even by his standards, but his belief that the officials weren’t the problem with the multiple headshots he received during the game — particularly in the second half — also stood out.
“It’s not my place to question the officials,” Newton said, via David Newton (no relation) of ESPN.com. “I really like the officiating crew. It wasn’t something I know they did intentionally, but it’s not fun getting hit in the head.
“We didn’t lose the game off that. I know that for a fact.”
Maybe not, but he was clearly a lesser player in the second half after taking a number of shots which will likely result in fines.
That happened at least four times in the second half, with Brandon Marshall launching himself and safety Darian Stewart earholing him in the fourth quarter — that was at least penalized, but nullified by an intentional grounding.
But if Newton wasn’t going to complain, he had people in his corner who were willing to.
“Do you see them calling it?” Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said. “Early in the game, a guy took two, three steps and hit him in the head and they didn’t call a penalty.
“We’ve talked about it ad nauseam. It doesn’t matter. They ain’t going to change it.”
“I know he’s the biggest guy on the field, but he’s still the quarterback,” tight end Greg Olsen said. “We’ll see what some of those [helmet-to-helmet hits] look like. Obviously, we got one of them, but we didn’t get many yards off of it.”
The last one they got set up a potential game-winning field goal, which Graham Gano missed.
But that should only add to the pain on a night when the reigning MVP took far too many hits to the head (one is supposed to be too many, right NFL?)