Cam Newton gets special treatment from referees – which isn’t so good, says Michael Irvin.
Other quarterbacks in the NFL would have been better protected by officials than what Newton got last week, Irvin said Tuesday on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”
“Because it’s Cam and because the size that Cam is, they don’t make those calls, which is not right.,” said the former Dallas Cowboys star and now NFL television analyst.
“And they should make those calls.”
Both the NFL and the NFL Players Association is looking into whether Panthers and independent medical team members responded properly to hits on Newton – particularly a fourth-quarter hit in Thursday’s season opener at Denver.
“He’s taken hits in the pocket, outside the pocket, crown of your helmet, helmet to helmet,” said Irvin.
“There’s no doubt in my mind – running or not – had that been a number of quarterbacks in this league those would have been penalties thrown immediately.”
In the NFL opener, a rematch between Super Bowl 50 teams Carolina and Denver, Newton took at least four helmet-to-helmet hits during the Panthers’ 21-20 loss to the Broncos.
But the hit that raised the most questions came in the fourth quarter when Newton was hit with a violent collision with Broncos safety Darian Stewart. Newton was left on all fours.
That collision occurred in front of umpire Bill Schuster, who watched as Newton then went to the field and rolled over on his back.
Retired quarterback Boomer Esiason said on “Inside the NFL” that Newton has attracted national attention because of his self-proclaimed “Superman” status and frustrates defenders because he excels at both quarterback and running back.
“So I know some of those hits were just absolutely vicious,” Esiason said. “He is a superstar athlete. They’ve never seen anyone as gifted as he is.”
Esiason said that Newton is an unusually vexing target to the defensive line.
“They’re frustrated by his size and his ability,” he said, “and they are going after him because he puts himself out there.”