It wouldn’t be an NFL Sunday without a little controversy, right?
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton thought he was hit late out of bounds, warranting a personal foul penalty, during Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. After the play, Newton questioned head official Ed Hochuli on why he didn’t throw a flag.
Hochuli’s response, according to Newton: “You’re not old enough to get that call.”
In disbelief, Newton said afterward he didn’t realize that seniority factored into flags being thrown.
“I looked at him like, ‘Jesus! I didn’t think you had to have seniority to get a personal foul or anything like that,’ ” Newton said in his postgame press conference.
The NFL issued a response to Newton’s account.
“Officials make decisions based upon the play on the field, and no other factors,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora said. “On the play in question, there is no roughing the passer because the quarterback is out of the pocket and a runner, and no unnecessary roughness because the contact is not late.”
The Panthers went on to win 27-22, so Newton wasn’t smarting too badly after the game.
UPDATE (4:12 p.m. ET): Hochuli could face discipline if the NFL investigates the situation and proves the official did, in fact, say such a comment to Newton.
“We would do an investigation, see if anybody was miked in the area, and we’ve had situations in the past where an official said something inappropriate to a player and we’ve disciplined them,” NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told the NFL Network on Monday. “So there is a process in place, and we would have to go through that process to see if we could pick up what was actually said.”
Hochuli was “adamant” he did not make the comment, according to Blandino, who has spoken with the official since Sunday’s game.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/ USA TODAY Sports Images