The Pro Bowl isn’t fun to watch. We’ve been over why it isn’t fun to watch before, but a brief refresher for those just joining us: the Pro Bowl is boring because no one tries to hit each other. Quarterbacks, especially, are treated with kid gloves.
But CBS Sports Senior NFL Columnist Pete Prisco noticed something weird about the end of the NFL’s 2012 Touch-Tackle Invitational. The AFC’s defensive players, you see, were going after Cam Newton a lot harder than they were the other NFC quarterbacks. Instead of employing the customary Pro Bowl “tap-and-stand” pass rush, as they had against Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees earlier in the game, players like Antonio Smith and Von Miller were making a concerted and visible effort to hit Newton.
The full piece is worth a read, but here were some standout anecdotes.
According to several players in the game, some from both teams, Newton’s standoffish, diva ways made him enemy No. 1 in the eyes of some of the players.
“He was a total —-hole,” one AFC player said. “Who did he think he was? He acted like the big shit. Here he was at his first game and he acted like he was the star. Guys didn’t like that.”
That’s kind of vague, but according to Prisco’s unnamed sources, there were indeed specific instances of big-timing. At one point, Newton refused an autograph for a player and a picture for his kids at a function, saying “now’s not the time.”
“Who the hell did he think they were?” said one player. “The only people around are families. He knew that. Yet he big-timed the guy by saying ‘now’s not the time.'”
Okay, that’s kind of dickish, but maybe Cam was tired. Surely, he can’t be expected to be on all the time.
But then there’s this, which crosses over from being “possibly tired” to “politically tone-deaf.”
That player said Newton did the unthinkable and even dissed Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
“That’s the godfather there,” one player said. “Can you believe he did that?”
Go read the whole thing, because behind-the-scenes revelations about players acting like jerks are always fun. Newton, by the way, had a terrible game, going 9-of-27 for 186 yards with three interceptions.