Broncos beat the Panthers, 21-20, in the Super Bowl matchup we all wish happened in February. It was a close, hard-fought game, and the Broncos came out on top.
Unfortunately, a good football game was overshadowed by some terrible officiating. Officials didn't call a number of head shots on Cam Newton, helmet-to-helmet hits that are illegal. When they finally did call one, it was offset by an intentional grounding penalty.
Worse, Panthers coaches and team doctors and the independent concussion spotter in the booth did nothing to pull Newton out of the game and assess whether or not he might have a concussion, despite him clearly suffering from a head shot in the fourth quarter. Teams that violate the concussion protocol are now subject to fines or even lost draft picks; we'll see if that holds true for the Panthers.
So, yeah, the NFL still puts up a lot window dressing about head injuries, but it's still hard to take anything they say seriously.
The NFL doesn’t protect Cam Newton like other QBs, says Thomas Davis. Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis says he doesn’t think 6-5, 260-pound quarterback Cam Newton is extended the same protection as other NFL quarterbacks because of his size.
MARSHALL JOINS KAEPERNICK'S PROTEST
Broncos LB Brandon Marshall, Colin Kaepernick's college teammate, took a knee during the national anthem.
Marshall was Colin Kaepernick's college teammate. "I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America. I’m just against social injustice." Marshall discussed why he kneeled after the game.
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PODCAST: Stephen White and Ryan Van Bibber previewed the NFC South, dug into the Bradford trade and more on this week's podcast.
RECORD BROKEN: Cam Newton breaks NFL record for career rushing touchdowns by a QB. Cam Newton passed Steve Young in the record books on Thursday.
NEW RULES, NO FUN: Panthers lineman was one penalty away from being ejected because he jumped a bunch after a TD. Players will be ejected after two unsportsmanlike penalties in 2016.
GOLDEN AGE OF FULLBACKS: A fullback scored the first rushing touchdown of the NFL season, AGAIN. We’re living in the golden age of the fullback.
CAM FLOSSED: Cam Newton proves he is the MVP of dental hygiene by flossing on the sideline. That's excellent dental care.
ICING THE KICKER ACTUALLY WORKED: The Broncos opened the season 1-0 when icing the kicker actually worked. It may not work often, but it did for Denver.
SIEMIAN WAS FINE: Trevor Siemian's "body of work" now includes comeback win. Trevor Siemian's first career NFL start in a game that counted wasn't pristine, but he helped author a win to reward the Broncos' faith in him.
GROUND GAME: C.J. Anderson and the Broncos offensive line shines in win over Carolina. The biggest question prior to Thursday’s game was the Broncos offensive line. The question now is how good can this rushing attack be?
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MYTHOLOGISTS SO MAD: The Chiefs have upset Greek Mythology fans with this tweet. Never misidentify a Greek god or the internet will let you know all about it.
WHO IS JIMMY GAROPPOLO? The Patriots are just as curious about Jimmy Garoppolo as the rest of us. "You never know what the big man upstairs has in store for you," Garoppolo said after New England's final preseason game.
BEAST MODE RETURN? Marshawn Lynch "up in the air" about a possible return. Will Beast Mode come out of retirement? We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath.
DJ MANNING: Peyton Manning's next career won't be as a DJ. Manning used to DJ for the team on flights back to Indianapolis after wins, and not all of his former Colts teammates loved it.
BEING A FAN: How to enjoy the NFL in spite of the NFL. The NFL is rotten, so what a miracle it is that there is any good in it at all.
FANTASY FOOTBALL ADVICE: Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 1. We're back for Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season. We've got fantasy football start/sit advice as you head into the weekend.