Football Is Stupid: Cam Newton’s Missing Tie Edition

Are you kidding me with this nonsense?

Getty Images
Dec 05, 2016 at 11:54 AM ET

Fans hate ties in sports, but this is something else. For the opening play of a nationally televised Sunday night football game, there was reigning MVP, quarterback Cam Newton, on the Carolina Panthers’ sideline while Derek Anderson—who has, by one measure, been the worst quarterback to start an NFL game this season—in his place.

Anderson’s first snap? He threw an interception.

Newton would return on Carolina’s next possession, already trailing the Seahawks 3-0 en route to a 40-7 loss.

The reason, disclosed after the game, for Newton’s absence was a missing necktie for the previous day’s flight to Seattle.

Yes, the slick-dressing man who has been interviewed by no less than Vogue and GQ about fashion, wore a jacket over a turtleneck—see the dapper photo below—and this was deemed insufficiently appropriate attire by Panthers coach Ron Rivera. Welcome to Tiegate.

While the coach would only tell reporters that the benching for one (short-lived) possession was “a travel code violation” and “completely my decision,” Newton acknowledged that his lack of a tie was the culprit.

Newton tried offering some complicated travel logistics by way of explanation—the team stayed out west between games at Oakland and Seattle, and he had already shipped most of his belongings back east—and said he stood by his coach’s decision. Sure, he should have been better prepared, especially as a team captain, and Rivera wanted to show that no one was above the team and blah blah blah.

This whole thing is asinine. It’s ludicrous that Rivera would put a stringent dress code over giving the Panthers the best chance possible to win a game. It seems hard to believe that any of Newton’s 52 teammates think their quarterback’s lack of a tie on a team flight should jeopardize all they worked toward all week. It’s not like Newton showed up in a t-shirt or tracksuit or pajamas, which would have really flouted the dress code. Even his opponents thought it was absurd.

“I’ve never heard of a coach sitting you down for a dress code,’’ the Seahawks’ Cliff Avril said, per the Seattle Times. “That’s a little too strict I think, but that’s not my coach.”

To be quite honest, if Newton were to be benched for what he’s wearing, there were plenty of other outfits that were more of an affront to everyone’s eyeballs than his turtleneck.

“But,” Newton said, “we didn’t lose this game because of a tie, you know what I’m saying?”

True. They lost because the Seahawks are a much better football team. But Tiegate will live in infamy as another football coach tries way-too-hard to be Mr. Tough Guy over something inane.