The season is over for the Carolina Panthers in terms of contending for a playoff spot in the NFC as their poor start has come back to haunt them despite winning four out of the last five games and seemingly figuring out a way to turn it around.
Second-year quarterback Cam Newton has had a lot to do with the team’s recent resurgence, but wasn’t immune to a fine from the NFL due to bumping a referee on the field in the win over the Oakland Raiders last week according to NFL Insider Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports via Twitter:
Cam Newton was fined $21,000 for making contact with an on-field official last week.
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 28, 2012
The Auburn product proceeded to bump referee Jerome Boger after a flag wasn’t thrown following a hit from Raiders safety Mike Mitchell.
Newton has received a lot of criticism during his first two seasons in the league for his attitude and inability to play well with others. The former Heisman trophy winner seems to be building a reputation for this kinds of altercations and it only seems to have gotten worse with the Panthers’ season as disappointing as it has been.
Carolina will come into Week 16 against the division rival New Orleans Saints with a 6-9 record. Last season’s impressive resurgence in Newton’s first year under center for the struggling franchise was a breath of fresh air for the Panthers and was thought to be a sign of things to come.
Unfortunately, the rest of the league began to catch onto Newton and his style of play this season. As a result, the second-year pro hasn’t been able to be as efficient as he was in his rookie season with opposing teams knowing exactly how he’d attack them.
Newton will head into the regular-season finale against the Saints having thrown for 3,621 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The one-time BCS champion has also rushed for 707 yards and eight touchdowns.