Derek Anderson started in favor of reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton for the Panthers in this evening’s game versus the Seahawks, and swiftly threw an interception (on a tipped ball). On the broadcast, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth have been trying to flesh the reasoning for it. Newton entered the game on Carolina’s second series.
Panthers reporter Bill Voth revealed that this was a coaching decision:
Meanwhile, this tweet from a Panthers fan who says he was listening to the team’s local radio broadcast is widely circulating on social media:
While this is still unconfirmed, it is hard to imagine that Newton was benched for the beginning of the game for any reason besides a form of discipline.
If and when there is more concrete information confirming this news, or some sort of explanation about what Newton may have done, we will update this post accordingly.
UPDATE: Michaels said that Newton “broke a minor team rule,” and that Rivera benched Newton for what was supposed to just be the first play of the game — which wound up being an interception. Michaels added that Michele Tafoya will ask the Panthers coach about what happened before halftime.
UPDATE II: Michele Tafoya said on the NBC broadcast that Cam Newton was benched for a dress code violation.