In the second half of last night’s 21-20 victory over Carolina, the Denver Broncos defense decided to employ a new tactic. It can only be described as the Game of Thrones Assault Blitz. They literally attempted to remove Cam Newton’s head from his shoulders, stick it on a spike, and parade it in front of all the pothead peasant folks. “Whoa dude, like they totally just took his head off, that’s trippy man” [resumes hitting off a 6 foot bong and forgetting his name for the next half hour].
This was such a blatant display of headhunting, that it was almost hard to believe it was actually happening. I truly expected the Mountain or the Queen of Dragons to appear at any moment. The most ridiculous part of it all is that while Newton was getting his brain bashed in, the officials stood by with their thumbs firmly entrenched in their asses. Way to go NFL. So nice to see that big player safety initiative is right on course. Newton was earholed at least 4 times while in the pocket and got exactly one flag.
I’ve been perusing many comment sections throughout the morning and there are several prevailing sentiments. First, there’s the “Old Guy Get off My Lawn” take. “Listen here sonny, back in my day we played without helmets and pads. We played with broken legs, arms, backs, and skulls. We was tough back then.” [Proceeds to drop his teeth and aimlessly meander out into traffic all the while claiming he is Vince Lombardi]
Then there’s the “Bro” take. “Yo, this is football, man up. If he can’t take a beatin’ he shouldn’t be out there. Yo when I played in high school I’d go after guys heads on purpose and coach would buy me 6-pack a Bud pounders afta every game!” [Proceeds to wax his chest, apply his spray tan, put on his tank top and jorts, and head down to the Jersey shore for some bar hoppin’]
And we can’t forget the “Hillbilly Yokel” take. “Man, I tell you what. He needs to stop doing all that dancing man. You don’t see Tom Brady doing that damn nonsense. If I could jump through this TV, I’d knock him upside the head too. He deserves what he’s getting!” [Proceeds to crack open an Old Milwaukee’s Best, scream at his wife, kick his dog, and go and hang out in his shed/meth lab for some alone time]
Then there were actually some sensible takes of people who were logical about what they saw and realized that the Broncos got away with a lot. For those out there who don’t have any kind of issue with Newton getting hit in the head repeatedly, think about this. What if that had happened to Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or even last year to Peyton Manning?
Would all of these foolish takes still be the same? Would we be saying it’s just part of the game and they got what they deserved? The reality is that if this happened to any of the Golden Boy quarterbacks, the referees might sprain their wrists because they’d be throwing those flags so hard. On top of that, Roger Goodell would send the defender to death row on Riker’s Island. Not to mention the fanbase would collectively die of a massive heart attack.
But we’re not talking about this, because it would never happen to any of those quarterbacks. The NFL simply wouldn’t allow it. Why do they allow it against Cam Newton? The answer is simple. Cam Newton isn’t like other quarterbacks, and I’m not just talking about skin color. He is 6’5, 250 and runs like a deer. He smiles, he celebrates, he dances, and he generally looks like he’s enjoying himself on the field.
Apparently referees feel it’s okay for Cam to get hit because they see him as more of a running back than a quarterback. So even though he was in the pocket on several of the hits, they turned a blind eye. It was a bad look for the NFL in my opinion, and a bad look for a Denver defense that is quickly earning a reputation for being dirty.
Denver’s defense led the league in penalties last season. They were also among the leaders in personal foul penalties. Aqib Talib is a disgraceful football player. Not only has he been involved in a couple of off the field incidents with guns (including shooting himself and being so drunk he couldn’t remember), he has also been flagged for poking Dwayne Allen in the eye, and launching Philly Brown out of bounds by his facemask. He earned a one game suspension last season for cheap shots against the Chiefs and he should’ve been ejected from the Super Bowl.
So whether you are a Cam Newton fan or not, if you are a fan of the NFL, how can you justify these head shots? If it were Trevor Siemian receiving that treatment, Denver fans would probably drop their roach clips and storm the field. I personally do not have a problem with Newton. I think he’s fun to watch and supremely talented. He has an MVP trophy to prove it. Does he celebrate? Yes, as do the majority of players when they score. I don’t see it as such a big deal and neither does the NFL or they would flag him for it. If it gets under the skin of the defense, well guess what defense? STOP HIM FROM SCORING!
I recognize the fact that Denver’s defense is great. I’m not denying that. But their thuggish tactics are starting to wear thin. This was an obvious attempt to seriously hurt Newton and knock him out of the game. I sincerely hope the league office takes a long look at these cheap shots and metes out the appropriate punishments.