NFL may investigate referee's 'not old enough' call on Cam Newton

Referee Ed Hochuli is adamant he did not tell Cam Newton he “wasn’t old enough” to be awarded a personal foul call during the Carolina Panthers’ victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday but the official may face an NFL investigation over the matter.

The Panthers quarterback questioned why he wasn’t given the call on Sunday afternoon and was bemused by the answer. “’Cam you’re not old enough to get that call.’ I didn’t think you had to have seniority to get a personal foul or anything like that,” Newton said after the game. Newton is in his fifth season in the league.

But on Monday the NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said Hochuli denied using those words before defending the official’s decision. “Cam was outside the pocket and he threw the ball on the run,” he told NFL Network. “There’s different protections for a quarterback that is running outside the pocket versus inside the pocket. Outside the pocket, you don’t get the two step protection. When you look at the play, Cam threw on the run. There was some contact; it wasn’t late and it wasn’t a foul.”

Blandino did say, however, that the NFL could launch an investigation if Newton’s allegations were proved. “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,” he said. “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.”

Newton’s grievance seemed to be with the explanation he says he received rather than the call itself. “If he would have said he missed the call, that is one thing,” Newton said. “But for his response to be what it was and I’m not old enough to get that call ... Geez! So heaven forbid he gets any rookies or they’re gonna have a long day, man.”

Newton’s play seemed unaffected by the controversy. He threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another in what was his best game of the season so far.  

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