Right before the Sunday Night Football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 4, it was announced that Ron Rivera would be benching quarterback Cam Newton for Derek Anderson. For how long? No one knew, but the reason for punishing Newton turned out to be highly peculiar.
It was because Newton was not wearing a tie on the team bus on the way to the stadium on Sunday.
Yep, you read that right. Rivera put the 2015 NFL MVP on the bench because the 27-year-old was not wearing a tie to compliment his probably very expensive suit (which he was wearing on the bus). Newton only missed the first offensive drive before going into the game, but guess what happened on the very first play of the drive that Newton missed?
Anderson threw an interception.
Granted, the interception was not Anderson’s fault, as fullback Mike Tolbert failed to catch the football that was thrown right to him. But, the Seahawks scored a field goal on their ensuing drive and then a touchdown on their next drive to take an early 10-0 lead.
The final score was 40-7 Seattle.
“I didn’t follow the dress code,” Newton said after the game. “Coach told me that I was not going to start. I stand by his decision.”
Before the game against the Seahawks, the Panthers had been on the west coast all week after playing the Oakland Raiders. According to Newton, he was not wearing a tie on the bus because he did not have a tie that matched the shirt he was wearing.
“When you’re 6’5″ trying to get a shirt…I was away from home away for a week, I did not pack a shirt,” Newton said. “There were a lot of ties that I was given, but I cannot wear a tie with this.”
Now with a 4-8 record, the 2016 season has been a disaster for the Panthers. After becoming the NFC champions and making it to Super Bowl 50, injuries, a disaster of a secondary, and bad play have plagued Carolina. Now, the embarrassing events of Sunday Night (that I am now naming “Tie-Gate”) just add more fuel to the fire.
You can point fingers either way you want. You can point a finger at Newton for not following team rules, no matter how minor the rule may be. You can also place blame on Rivera for benching his star quarterback on the first drive of the game that resulted in an interception and a score from the Seahawks. Either way, it is a pathetic situation and not a good look for this struggling Panthers team.
Rivera may be overly strict when it comes to wearing ties on the team bus, but apparently he does not have any problem with Newton wearing ridiculous outfits at his press conferences. So, enjoy this gallery of some of the best outfits Newton has sported at his post-game pressers.