As the 49ers get set to play the Panthers in the divisional round of the playoffs this weekend, former 49ers long snapper Brian Jennings (yes, the long snapper, of all people) has a personal bone to pick with Cam Newton—a bone to the tune of $25,000.
It goes back to when both players were on the NFC squad in the 2012 Pro Bowl, in which Newton, then a rookie who replaced a Super Bowl-bound Eli Manning on the roster, and his lack of preparation (sounds about right back then), according to Jennings, cost the NFC players the $25,000 winners bonus. The NFC lost 59-41.
Here’s what Jennings (who has a light-hearted reputation and speaking with a jokey intonation in the interview, mind you) said to KNBR’s morning show with Murph and Mac on Wednesday (you can listen along beginning at 6:25 here):
“Cam Newton owes me $25,000, a lot of people don’t know that… I was fortunate enough to go to the Pro Bowl in 2011. We’ve got Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, it’s the Green Bay offense. We’ve got Drew Brees at quarterback with his playbook all week, studying making sure he knows the plays.
“And we got Cam Newton all week with his headphones on goofing off. We go into the game, and this guy is chucking the ball all over the place, and everybody is looking around going, ‘What’s this guy doing? Is he kidding?’ The punter and I look at each other and say, ‘We are going to have a long second half.’ We punted five times in the Pro Bowl.
“I mean, he went in there and stank it up. He never looked at his playbook, he’s chucking the ball all over the place. He can’t hit the open guy. So, not a lot of people know this, but Cam Newton owes me $25,000.”
The NFC lost a 35-31 lead in third quarter while Newton played the entire second half.
According to the game’s box score, the NFC officially punted four times with one fake punt. But still, going out to punt five times in the Pro Bowl? That’s… impressive. You almost have to try to be that futile on offense in the Pro Bowl. By comparison, the AFC punted a grand total of zero times in the game.
If you’re interested in Cam’s stats from the game, here they are—but, a warning, these may cause nausea and indigestion: 9-for-27, 186 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, 43.7 passer rating.
Again, those stats in the Pro Bowl—that defensive clinic of a football game. No other QB in the game had below a 101 passer rating. Even 49ers punter Andy Lee had a 100 passer rating on one passing attempt in a fake punt.
So, does Brian Jennings have a legitimate grievance with Cam Newton? Absolutely. But he’ll probably take solace in a 49ers win on Sunday.
H/T SF Gate