Newton got more votes, but Luck gets the Pro Bowl start


The ultimate reality show has found a way to inject a little manufactured drama into a game that otherwise doesn’t have much of it, artificial or otherwise.

According to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, the team captained by Deion Sanders and coached by Chuck Pagano has opted to give Colts quarterback Andrew Luck the start on Sunday night in the Pro Bowl — even though Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had more combined votes from fans, players, and coaches.

In contrast, Panthers coach Ron Rivera has chosen to configure the depth chart for the team drafted by Jerry Rice based strictly on voting.

“We talked about it prior to this,” Rivera said Saturday, via Person.  “He asked and I asked and we both said, ‘Hey, why don’t we just start them according to votes so there’s no hurt feelings?'”

Under the prior AFC-NFC format, starters and backups were determined by the voting results.

League officials had expected Newton to get the start.  The “flip card” to be distributed in the press box shows Newton as the starter for Team Sanders.

Luck was the first quarterback taken by Sanders in Wednesday night’s player draft, so it makes sense that Luck would get the start.  Moreover, Luck plays for Pagano.  It’s hard not to wonder whether Newton’s history in the Pro Bowl was a factor; in his only other appearance two years ago, he completed nine of 27 passes with three interceptions.

Then there’s this recent assessment from former 49ers long snapper Brian Jennings regarding Newton’s debut:  “We have Drew Brees with his playbook all week, studying. . . .  We have Cam Newton with his head phones on all week goofing off. . . .  We go into the game, and this guy is chucking the ball all over the place, and everybody is looking around going, ‘What’s this guy doing? Are you kidding?’ . . .  He went in there and stank it up.”

Newton now has a reason to prove Pagano wrong for picking Luck, similar to the way Newton proved people wrong all year long.  And we all now have a reason to watch and see what Luck and Newton can do.

51 responses to “Newton got more votes, but Luck gets the Pro Bowl start

  1. Cam had a much better season then Luck. Better record, more tds, better completion %. Luck only had more yards. Cam seemed to have matured more then his rookie season where he thought he was a big shot. I think he should’ve got the start.

  2. Why would they get mad at Cam Newton for wearing headphones last year?! This game is a joke 😂😂 Drew Brees naturally takes the business approach so I understand why he was studying the playbook all week long. I say they add more to this game put something at stake at least. Give 2 stadiums the chance to host the Super Bowl the next season, 1 from each conference and the winning conference gets to host the game for example if NFC wins the game then the team from the NFC that’s of the 2 finalist hosts the game.

  3. I’ve been to Hawaii many times. Lots of things to do there and I’ve never felt my time was wasted…unless I was forced to watch the Pro Bowl.

    What a farce it has become.

  4. Cam is fine when the team is winning. Just look at his body language on the sideline during his playoff loss this year. He seemed more interested in puting around with that towel on his head, than act like he care about the game. He seems like a that has everything handed to him, and he doesn’t work or take most of it seriosuly. It’s a shame, with the right attitude and prep, he would be great player. He has done good, but in bad situation he looses it.
    I’d take Luck longterm over Cam. Cam will be busted up from running around sooner or later.

  5. Cam and his defense won games. Luck pretty much had to do it by himself. That said it’s hard to not view Pagano as biased here. Shoulda gone by the votes like it always has.

  6. Ziggystheansah: Cam had 1 more td than Luck, had a 61.7 completion % compared to Lucks 60.2, and had 4 more interceptions. And panthers without Cam > than Colts without Luck. If you watched both play you would see Luck had a much better season. And btw, the Panthers only had one more win than the Colts all regular season.

  7. The colts defense was actually very good this year in big games. But people don’t want to admit that because they’ve already dubbed luck the next Peyton Manning. He looks closer to the next tony romo with the way he throws interceptions.

  8. Get cam some legit wrs. I like his upside compared to luck. Seems like cam is still developing and luck is pretty close to his ceiling. Both good qbs and good guys.

  9. We’ve all be spoiled with elite QB play for the past 10-15 years, and in just a few seasons from now, Manning, Brees, and Brady will be retired. Other than Rodgers who can’t seem to stay healthy, which one of the young QBs is gonna step up to be the next NFL super star? Luck, Cam, RG3, Kaepernick, Stafford, and Wilson all show flashes, yet are far from there.

  10. How about scrapping the pro bowl game completely, and replacing it with a triple header day of college all star games, Senior Bowl, East/West etc the weekend before the Super Bowl?

    When you have less players on each team that are currently invited to the senior bowl, the players therefore will play the whole game instead of getting like 7 pass attempts then take a seat.

    Also, since these guys would playing for their future, on a Super Bowl audiance stage, these guy will go all out bc of the attention, and the fact they’re playing for their future draft slot i.e. money. So you’ve got ego married with money, that’s how you get competition. Or even give the winning players a cash prize. It would be a great bridge between now and the next season by introducing the next players of note.

    And given the state of media today, there would have been so much more pure football to talk the week before the championship about rather than wall to wall around the clock coverage of Richard Sherman yet again screaming, and Erin Andrews asking him the intellectual and high end philosophical 8th grade girls’ bathroom journalism of… “who was talking about you”

    Who do you wanna see talking football leading up to the finale of a football season… the NFL Network morning show 10 yr old boy and girl mentality ship of fools/car of idiots… or the NFL Network Senior Bowl and college/draft analysts?

    Who of the two groups actually speaks adult?

    What say you, hit thumbs up or thumbs down and see if they actually listen…

  11. A number of Cam Newton’s teammates from last year’s Pro Bowl went on record that he was totally unprepared — hadn’t read the playbook, didn’t have a clue what he was doing out there. Maybe that was a factor.

  12. The League’s Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says:
    Jan 25, 2014 9:00 PM
    srich36 says: Jan 25, 2014 8:48 PM

    Nfl4days: 9 interceptions all regular season is definetly at the top of the league right?

    Didn’t he have 7 interceptions in his two playoff games?

    Yup, and also led his team to one of the greatest playoff comeback victories of all time…..How many playoff games has cam played in?

  13. Cam better than luck is laughable. Cam came into a bad team and continued to be bad for two years until they got one of the top defenses in the league and he rode them to wins, luck came into a two win team and took them to the playoffs both his years and double digit wins.

    And some guy said cam is still getting better, check the stats, his numbers have declined every year he has played, luck is nowhere near his peak, has nowhere near the defense the Panthers or Seahawks or niners have, Colts don’t win unless luck plays well, he leads his team to the playoffs, not rides the defense and takes the credit.

  14. The issue isn’t Newton vs. Luck. The issue is that Pagano seems to have broken the gentleman’s agreement he had with Rivera as well as made the NFL look foolish. If you followed the link back to Person’s actual article on this you see that Florio has left out an important fact.

    From Person’s article:
    “League officials in Hawaii expected Newton to start based on their initial conversations with coaches: As of Saturday evening, Newton was listed as the starter on the Pro Bowl “flip card” to be distributed in the Aloha Stadium press box.”

    Both coaches apparently told league officials that Newton would start which makes the change look like:
    a. Pagano decided to favor Luck OR
    b.Pagano decided to punish Newton for some transgression.

    Either way, it makes the NFL look like it’s playing faves/punishing players during the Pro Bowl which is supposed to be a relaxed, easy affair.

    Expect tighter rules for coaches next year , …if they MUST play this unremarkable game again.

  15. scmems07 says: Jan 25, 2014 9:06 PM

    Yup, and also led his team to one of the greatest playoff comeback victories of all time…..How many playoff games has cam played in?

    You might call it that. We’d call it one of the worst defensive collapses in NFL history. The score was, what, 35-10? You could have the perfect QB and a decent defense would still be able to win that game. Luck dug his team in a hole with 3 first half interceptions. The Chiefs bailed him out. He tried to do the same thing the next week, but obviously came up short. You can’t throw reckless throws like he does and expect to make it to the Super Bowl. Also, I don’t care about Newton either, just stating the facts.

  16. This should be renamed the “Don’t give a damn bowl”…

    Men on vacation, playing a just over walking speed…

    About exciting as watching grass grow…

  17. Someday people will realize that the primary traits of an effective QB are leadership, throwing the ball accurately, reading defenses, knowing when to get rid of the ball, and anticipating open receivers. Traits I have not seen in Scam… (Cam)

  18. If you’re coaching this game to win you start Cam, so you will have Luck at the end where he’s good.

  19. Seems to me that they’ve got it backwards. What happens to the starters in the second half? They’re sitting. So, by holding off on Luck is like deferring the toss. Just a thought.

  20. Whoa, let’s not get historically inaccurate Cam played great all three years

    here in Carolina…the defense just could not stop a nosebleed until this year.

    btw the Carolina defense is not as good as it’s cracked up to be but it will be even better next year.

    Now comparing Cam and Luck…Luck’s father was an NFL QB(that’s 18 years of coaching and developing) and he was coached 3 or 4 years by a pretty good NFL QB and he has his college OC calling plays for him every sunday.Luck has a better receiving corp and slighty better OL. His Team was never as bad as the Panthers(they tanked a whole season to get Luck)

    So Cam had one year of major college and he came into the NFL on fire…putting up 30 points per game with a defense that was giving up 35 points per game.

    Put Cam in San Fran or Seattle or Indy and he’d be winning…put Luck,Cap or Wilson in Carolina over the last 3 years throwing to a 5′-9″ aging wide receiver and see how many games they would win.

  21. You might call it that. We’d call it one of the worst defensive collapses in NFL history. The score was, what, 35-10? You could have the perfect QB and a decent defense would still be able to win that game. Luck dug his team in a hole with 3 first half interceptions. The Chiefs bailed him out. He tried to do the same thing the next week, but obviously came up short. You can’t throw reckless throws like he does and expect to make it to the Super Bowl. Also, I don’t care about Newton either, just stating the facts

    So the chiefs shut them down the entire first half and all of a sudden forgot how to play defense, not likely. Luck stepped up like he has done his whole career and led his team to a win, so your saying all the other comeback wins luck has are just the defense collapsing, that’s funny.

    If Newton, kap or Wilson does that it’s not a defensive collapse, it’s a comeback from a great qb, just like the nfc championship game, kap singlehandedly loses the game, three turnovers at the end of the game, and what was the story? Kap plays a great game, Seattle wins.

  22. Scrap the mess of an all star game that the players only use as an excuse to go to Hawaii on the NFL’s dime, and start the Superbowl a week earlier. Oh yeah and have it in a warm place or a dome. Goodell is an idiot.

  23. Out of the panthers 12 wins only 4 teams finished the year with a winning record. The epitome of over rated. Once they get a first place schedule they will finish 8-8 next year.

  24. I really don’t care what any player says. The last couple of years have proven that no one takes the pro bowl seriously. . . including the folks playing.

    If Brees is spending all his time studying the playbook then he is probably the first player in the last decade to let the actual game interrupt his Hawaii vacation.

  25. To discredit the comeback against the chiefs because of injury is just plain stupid. Injurys helped, but you cannot say the comeback doesn’t matter because of it. And for all those pointing to lucks 7 ints in 2 games, yes they were a lot and uncharacteristic, but were inflated because some weren’t his fault. Also, I saw someone say Luck dug his team in a hole in the first half because of his “3 first half interceptions”, but Luck only threw one in the first half, at the very end, and the chiefs had 0 points off the turnover.

  26. Srich36: room only had 10 ints. He’s never thrown A LOT of ints, its when he throws them. Same with luck. Drew brees consitantly throws more picks than a lot of QBs, but he can still get the W and go somewhere in the playoffs. Luck has the same number of playoff wins as romo BTW. And room got his early as well.

  27. Cam has a better team around him in Carolina. They dont ask him to do too much. Just manage the game, throw some screens, use his legs, the panthers can win when Cam has a bad game. The colts are Andrew luck or bust. they dont have much around him. Their defense made Alex Smith and L Blount look like hall of famers and their management traded a firstrounder for an average at best RB

  28. As mentioned earlier:

    Skills challenge is the way to go. Have it two weeks after the SB, and people will watch. This isn’t that hard.

    You wouldn’t even have to change the voting or anything. I would say top 6, regardless of conference. You could have OL/DL challenges too.

    And winners get even more money, so the incentive would be there.

  29. You people are talking about the future of the nfl. Yes, luck is quite a good QB and so is Cam. Personally I prefer Cam because ,skillfully, he is a better player. Stronger arm, more precise, quicker on his feet, just not as clutch as luck. Either way they are both talented. But if we are looking for the future “manning” or “Montana” . Look past RG3, look past luck, look past Cam, look past Kapaernick, and look past Wilson. Keep your eyes on Nick foles. Statistically he’s had a better year than all Qbs but Peyton. He did this and didn’t even start until late in the season. His 27 to 2 interception pass ratio was record breaking. If you give him a full year and he plays like this. There is no telling what he is capable of. He is the future. And he is aiming for rings and records. So watch out.

  30. They’re both talented. Luck is less arrogant and more co-operative. Which is probably what Pogano was thinking about when he made the decision.

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