TNF At Its Worst

That was so awful.

Jim Rome
September 13, 2019 - 9:19 am
Christian McCaffrey

USA Today


Remember when the Packers and Bears played on Thursday night and it was awful? Yeah…Neither do I, because I watched the Buccaneers and Panthers last night and it was so bad, I don’t remember anything about anything. That was so awful, I’m not sure I even remember my own name. Who the hell am I? And what do I do for a living? And why am I sitting behind this microphone? And why are those cameras pointed at me? I feel like Douglas Quaid and the re-call company has erased my brain.

In other words….Bucs-Panthers was Thursday Night Football at its best, which really means that it’s Thursday Night Football at its worst. 

That wasn’t A Thursday Night Football game, that was THEEE Thursday Night Football game. That was an EXTREMELY Thursday Night Football game. 

Because it had everything. Weird camera work. A weather delay. TMZ footage of a fight among Panther fans during the weather delay. A doinked field goal. A safety. Referees just wandering around the field with the ball. And a ton of reviews.

By the way, did Tampa really call two timeouts in a row in the fourth quarter? Or was I hallucinating at that point?

And did the Panthers run some goofy trick play on fourth down at the goal line instead of just using their giant quarterback on a sneak? Yeah they did. Roll it.


That was a really weird play call in a night of really weird play calls. You know, because you have Cam Newton who is enormous and can probably sneak it for the two feet that you needed instead of some slow developing trick play that nobody bought in the first place.

Bucs corner Vernon Hargreaves made the play on Christian McCaffrey, but he said it was pretty obvious: "You watch any football and you've seen it a few times. Once I saw Cam walk up to the line of scrimmage and act like he was talking to me I had a pretty good idea what was going on." 

DAMN. That’s pretty damning of Norv Turner’s trick play. If the defense is starting by saying “you watch any football and you’ve seen it a few times” then it’s not a trick play, it’s just a bad play. 

Then again, that whole game was bad.  And because of it, so was my night: in fact, I’m going to call that one of the worst nights of my entire life; because it was one of the worst games I’ve ever seen

That game was so brutal to watch that I’ve made it this far without mentioning the score – Tampa Bay had 20 points, Carolina had 14 points, but there were no winners last night.  And while I know my man Bruce Arians isn’t about to apologize for that win., he should.  So should anyone else who had anything to do with that disaster; y’all can apologize to me personally, because we’re all on the clock; we all have a finite amount of time in this life; and that’s one full night I will never get back. And just know, I’m not going to accept the apology; I just better damn well get one. 

There are so many questions.., starting with Cam Newton. I tweeted last night, I’m not a doctor, but I don’t need to be to know there is something wrong with Cam. Let me add to that today, I’m not a coach, a gm, or even a scout, but I don’t need to be to know Newton simply is not the same player he used to be. He’ll never go as far as to own that, but he did own his poor play last night, saying “It’s hard to look defensive guys in their eyes after a game like this because offensively we didn’t hold up our end of the bargain. We just didn’t uphold our end and we’re past due. Special teams had a good return, defensively was stout all game, but all fingers are just pointing back to me specifically and our offense.”

There’s more.

"I have to be better. No matter what physical condition I'm in. No matter what, foot, shoulder ... I didn't get the job done, and it's frustrating. I wish I could say something other than that, but that's the fact. I'm a brutally honest person with people, and I'm a brutally honest person with myself. And it's time for me to look myself in the mirror and do some real soul-searching, because I had opportunities tonight and I didn't get it done."

This dude just isn’t right. At all. Not when he drops back to pass, not when he passes, not when he does anything. And not when he runs, because they don’t even let him run anymore. As jacked up as this world is right now, I still think there is at least one thing we can all agree on: and that’s that Cam Newton isn’t right. That’s not even subject to debate. Of course, he’s not right, with the game on the line, and fourth and short, with superman under center; your 6-5, 240 pound quarterback doesn’t even touch the ball.??!  If that doesn’t say dude’s not right. What the hell does??! 

Yet…The team keeps saying he’s healthy, that the shoulder is fine, the foot is fine, that all of his other injuries from all of the other shots he’s taken over the years, are good. 

So if that’s true, what the hell is going on? Because the guy didn’t forget how to play quarterback or how to be a dominant force on the football field. He was the league MVP a few years ago. 

If he’s healthy, why has he run for a total of negative two yards this season? If he’s healthy, why were they not sneaking him on fourth down from the goal line?

Wait.  I can answer that.  Because he’s not right.  Because he’s not the player he used to be.  Because all that punishment has taken a toll.  But if need to hear it from someone other than me, listen to Hargreaves:

“He can’t take them hits like that. It’s going to eat his body up. We expect him more throwing as he’s getting older in his career. Now if this was year one, yes, I’d be surprised. But you know, where he’s at in his career, he’s got to take care of himself so he can take care of himself and play all 16 and lead his team to the playoffs. But no, not really too surprised he’s not running and things of that nature.’’

Having said all that, let me be very clear – this is not a criticism of Cam. Just stating facts. But not criticizing the man.

He has shown how good he can be and how tough he is. When he’s right, he is borderline unstoppable. But he hasn’t been right for a while. And this guy is so tough that he keeps fighting through it. He keeps taking hits and was still slinging it last year even when it looked like his arm might fall off.  

The worst part of last night for Carolina isn’t that they lost or that they’re 0-2. And it’s not that Cam is injured. 

No, the worst part of last night would be if Cam isn’t injured. 

The worst part would be if last night was the new normal. 

That this is just what happens when you take thousands of hits. And that Cam Newton is yet another example of no matter how big you are, no matter how tough you are, you can’t take hits forever. 

Teams aren’t scared of him anymore. They know the toll this game has taken on him. And it sure looks like they’re daring him to beat them and right now, he can’t.   

Cam might have said it best when he said: “Sometimes you find yourself in a blender and the only person that can get you out is yourself.”

Carolina finds itself in a blender and they better get out. Stat. Or his and their season will be over before it really even starts.