Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense were able to produce enough to stay close in the first half, but the Panthers defense was too much for them to overcome in a dominating second half defensively for the Panthers. At the same time Cam Newton and the Panthers managed to score 10 second half points to pull away from a valiant Titans defense that played hard and sacked Newton five times on the day.
However, it was Newton who created the biggest controversy of the day with his late game dance in the Titans endzone following his one-yard touchdown stretch.
With the football at the Titans goaline and Carolina leading 20-10, Newton was hit short of the end zone but battled and stretched the football across the line for the final points of the game. It was a tough run and effort by the quarterback. He followed it up with a dance rendition in the back of the endzone that when it went on for what seemed like a bit of an excessive time, angered two Titans defenders.
Let me say that I have no issue with players celebrating a touchdown, though I would personally prefer they head to the sideline and allow the game to move forward. That said, Newton's dance was fine with me in the first round, but when he continued it then became questionable.
I'm not the only one who felt that Newton went to long. Fox Sport televisions announcers Thom Brenneman and Charles Davis both agreed that the celebration went more into a "Dance Fever" routine than an acceptable celebration.
Rewind one week to Charlotte. North Carolina and Bank of America Stadium. It was Newton who tore down a sign belonging to Packers fans hanging on the Panthers home field. When asked about the indicent following last Sunday's win over Green Bay, Newton shared his thoughts abotu respect.
"We take pride in having an edge in playing in Bank of America Stadium, of playing in front of the Carolinas each and every week," Newton said. "I feel it's my due diligence to protect this house. It wasn't just about tearing down a sign. It was respect."
So it's ok for an NFL player to protect their "house" one week, but that same player can disrespect another players "house" one week later and think it's ok?
Let's be clear, I understand pride and the feeling a player should have about winning and giving their all in their home stadium, so I have no issue with Newton tearing down the banner, though I do think he should be more worried about the game at hand rather than trivial issues that could have easily been handled by stadium security or personnel.
I've read multiple comments both for and against Newton's dance. Some applaud him for his antics, some, including Cam justify it with a simple statement.
“I heard somebody say we aren't going to allow you to do that, but if you don't want me to do it, then don't let me in. I just like doing it. It's not to be boastful. From the crowd's response, they like seeing it. … No disrespect to anybody, it's just a Panthers thing.”
So it's a Panther thing, but a Packer banner is an issue?
I know all about Newton and his foundation and the great things they are doing in the Charlotte comminuty. I know Newton is doing things for children through Make-A-Wish- an organization that I myself support yearly- and that he sometimes is the target of unwarranted criticism. He's been called immature, and to some extent that is unfair and untrue.
His actions in the last two weeks don't make him immature, though one could certainly argue that. What it makes him is hypocritical.
You might say that is a bit harsh, but when you look objectivelty at his actions that is the right characterization.
Newton can tear down an opponent's banner that belongs to a fan who is not a player involved in the game, and tha'ts protecting his house, but when Newton does something one week later on the road that is disrespectful to another players home, that's ok and he can wash it all away by saying stop me.
Hypocrisy at its finest.
Make no mistake, Newton is a tough, physical, impressive, talented quarterback with exceptional speed for someone his size and a rocket arm to go with it. He is everything you want in an NFL quarterback to lead your team. He is respected around the league for his physical talents and ability, but his antics leave something to be desired in comparison to championship quarterbacks in the NFL.
I read comments this morning that the reason for this latest controversy around Newton is because of race. The writer suggested that all black quarterbacks are judged more harshly than there white counterparts. He referrence Doug Williams, Warren Moon, Randal Cunningham and Michael Vick in his argument.
Williams was the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl, and while he might well have been judged because of his skin color, he was a winner and acted with class. Warren Moon never won a ring, but set records in two leagues and is in Canton as one of the greats of the game. Randal Cunningham revolutionized the position with his legs when he entered the NFL as the first African-American quarterback who could run as well as he could pass. He suffered critisisms surrounding his game, though I never got the feeling that those criticisms were more harsh than white quarterbacks who were similarly mobile. Michael Vick was not judged harshly in my opinion because of his skin color, but rather for the actual deficiencies in his game.
Just for good measure let me add one more name to that list. Russell Wilson, who is a contemporary of Newtons.
Wilson has been critiqued harshly himself, but not for his skin color. Wilson's detractors sited his lack of idea height when he entered the league.
In spite of those "deficiencies" Wilson has won two conference championships and a Super Bowl. He's scored touchdowns both running and passing and I have yet to see him dance or disrespect another oppnenet.
Perhaps there's a lesson in that for Newton to learn. If it's on to protect your house, then why go disrespect someone else's house just because you can.
Hypocrisy isn't a good look for anyone.