In his four-plus years in the NFL, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has absorbed some hits that may be considered late hits to smaller, less mobile quarterbacks.
Sunday in the 27-22 win against New Orleans, he took a similar hit that drew no flag. But the reason he got for the no-call didn’t have to do with his 6-foot-5, 255-pound frame.
It had to do with his age.
“I was really baffled by what was said to me,” Newton said after the game in his news conference. “I was rolling out trying to string out the play and create some type of opportunity to get a completion and the defensive lineman, you know, kind of hit me. It was close. It was right on the cusp. Was it a late hit? I don’t know. But the response that I got was, ‘Cam you’re not old enough to get that call.’”
Those words allegedly came from the mouth of the NFL’s most popular referee, Ed Hochuli.
The Panthers took over at their own 12 early in the fourth quarter when the hit came. Out of shotgun on first down, Newton rolled to his right to buy time looking for tight end Greg Olsen down the field.
Saints defensive tackle Tyeler Davison gave chase and hit Newton around the time he released the pass, knocking the quarterback to the ground in front of referee Hochuli.
Newton looked to Hochuli, and upon getting a response, Newton could be seen shaking his head demonstratively in a show of disagreement.
I’m looking at him like what? Jesus. I didn’t think you had to have seniority to get a personal foul or anything like that. … I’m ticked off. Really.”
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers quarterback
“I’m looking at him like what? Jesus. I didn’t think you had to have seniority to get a personal foul or anything like that,” Newton said. “You just have to be accountable. It’s one thing to be frustrated in a situation where you see a personal foul on the opposing quarterback get called, and then for me when it’s something around the same range and for that flag not to be called, it’s … I’m ticked off. Really.
“Just the fact that it’s kind of, one, did he miss the call? If he would have said he missed the call, that’s one thing. But for his response to be what it was, that I’m not old enough to get that call, geez. So heaven forbid he gets any rookies. They’re going to have a long day. So, I don’t know.”
Hochuli was not available for comment immediately after Newton’s news conference. Emails to league spokesmen requesting comment were not immediately returned.