Will Cam Newton’s appeal extend beyond Super Bowl 50?

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been front and center in the media coverage leading up to Super Bowl 50.

Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton has been front and center in the media coverage leading up to Super Bowl 50.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Super Bowl 50 is days away and as the Carolina Panthers prepare to face the Denver Broncos, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been the centerpiece of media sessions. Newton has had to answer copious questions about being an African-American quarterback, his on-field celebrations and his personality, among other things. Newton’s responses are now being commonly accepted and it seems he is as well, a huge change from how he was covered earlier in his career.

Newton with one of his signature celebrations after scoring a touchdown

Newton with one of his signature celebrations after scoring a touchdown

In the first two seasons of Newton’s career with the Panthers, there was a lot of losing and blame to go around for those losses. The former Number one overall draft pick and Heisman Trophy  winner found out the hard way that every aspect of his game would be scrutinized as the team struggled. Newton was even called by former teammate Steve Smith, Sr. and current head coach Ron Rivera, “Mr. Mopeyhead” for the way he apparently sulked when the team struggled. Reflecting on that difficult period, leading into his third season, Newton said:

“It was very disgusting. That’s as blunt as I can be. I could say other words as well. We went back on YouTube and looked at Cam Newton’s post game interviews. I was like “oh my God,” I see what people see. I see how people are viewing me. When they see this selfish player, or see this childish temper tantrum that I was throwing, I’m like “that’s why people look at me like that”

Newton (l) and Rivera (r) have grown together to help lead this team to the franchise's second super bowl appearance.

Newton (l) and Rivera (r) have grown together to help lead this team to the franchise’s second super bowl appearance.

Newton’s third season was in 2013, a year in which the Panthers won their division with a 12-4 record and earned a first round bye. Though they lost in the second round of the playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers, the team has grown together and has not missed the playoffs since that season.

While Newton has been clear in recognizing the need to mature on and off the field, it is clear that he has the support of his team and in particular his head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera has been the Newton’s head coach since he entered the NFL. Rivera’s past experience as a player for the Super Bowl winning ’85 Chicago Bears has helped shape his view of how to govern his team. Rivera has admitted that he embraces players individuality as long as they work together as a team on the field.

Newton (l) and Manning (r) are the first pair of former #1 overall selections at quarterback to face each other in the super bowl.

Newton (l) and Manning (r) are the first pair of former #1 overall selections at quarterback to face each other in the super bowl.

The Broncos and their top rated defense hope their quarterback Peyton Manning has one more vintage performance left in him to help pull off the upset over Newton and the Panthers. Manning, for his part acknowledged how much he has had to change this season stating, “I haven’t been stubborn. I have been flexible.”

Newton has been given the opportunity to have his personality and style of play embraced by his organization over the last few seasons and the results have been resounding. The Panthers enter Super Bowl 50 with a 17-1 record and the overwhelming favorites to win it all. With this being the fourth straight Super Bowl with an African-American starting quarterback, maybe there is growing acceptance for different ways to win at the quarterback position.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr., is a senior writer at OnPointPress.net and a Licensed Insurance Professional working with HealthMarkets.  Contact me directly at (470)755-9940 for your health insurance questions and concerns.

Cam Newton cites higher power as he recovers from car crash

Newton was introspective during his first appearance since his car accident Tuesday afternoon.

Newton was introspective during his first appearance since his car accident Tuesday afternoon.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton returned to the team’s facility on Thursday just two days after a two-car accident. Newton sustained two fractures in his lower back during the accident and has been ruled out for this weeks game for the Panthers. However, Newton is more focused on his good fortune in surviving the car accident, rather than what happens on the football field.

“As far as when I’m coming back, who cares? I’m just thankful to have breath in my lungs,” said Newton as he answered questions during a seven-minute press conference on Thursday. Newton expressed how thankful he is to be alive sharing, “I’m on somebody’s fantasy [team] and I think it’s the man upstairs.”

Newton answered questions Thursday after spending a day in the hospital following his car accident.

Newton answered questions Thursday after spending a day in the hospital following his car accident.

Newton told the media that he was fully aware throughout the process of the accident and was able to give specific details of the crash. The Panthers have ruled Newton out for this Sunday’s game but have not made a determination as to how long he will be out for the season.

The Panthers may have slim playoff hopes but as far as Newton is concerned, he’s just happy to be alive.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a training and benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Breaking: Cam Newton involved in car crash, status unclear

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (l) is being attended to at the scene of his car accident today.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (l) is being attended to at the scene of his car accident today.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Cam Newton was involved in a two-vehicle car accident today in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The truck Newton was driving as lifted off of its side after the accident, but clearly damaged during the crash.

The truck Newton was driving as lifted off of its side after the accident, but clearly damaged during the crash.

The truck that Newton drives was seen turned over on its side after the accident. Images of Newton being carried into an ambulance followed shortly. According to numerous sources, Newton suffered two transverse fractures in his lower back. His status for the remainder of the season has yet to be determined.

More information about Newton’s health and details about the accident will be made available in the near future.–OnPointPress.net–

NFL, Roger Goodell, face crumbling, tarnished image

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions. There needs to be more emphasis in preventing those occurrences.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions while addressing the need for preventing those occurrences.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Thursday, July 24, National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell levied a two-game suspension on Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice’s suspension stems from a domestic violence incident with his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer. While the length of the suspension generated a great deal of criticism of Goodell’s judgement, the larger issue is the alarming number of NFL personnel facing criminal charges and the shaky NFL image that is presented to the public.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice received a 2 game suspension last week that many felt was  not enough.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was punished with a two-game suspension last week, causing national uproar from fans who felt the punishment was inadequate.

Part of the uproar about Rice’s suspension stemmed from the length of suspension for  legal issues and the discrepancy in penalties levied by the NFL for drug offenses. Some people believe the NFL commissioner is painting himself in a difficult corner when it comes to these inconsistent penalties. ESPN NFL Writer Jim Trotter was blunt:

“Once perceived as being too tough and inflexible, [Goodell] now comes across as being too soft on domestic violence — even at a time when the league is courting female fans.”

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslem is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

The NFL has demonstrated that there is considerable difference between breaking specific NFL drug rules and vague NFL conduct rules. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has agreed to pay a $92 million penalty as a result of a federal fraud investigation. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello issued a statement on Haslam’s case, which said: “There have been no allegations of any personal conduct that it is violation of NFL policy.”

There have been numerous personnel from different teams arrested this offseason, with the charges varying from Driving Under the Influence (DUI) to attempted murder. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has amended his initial inclination to suspend players immediately who are arrested and has repeatedly stated, “We have to let the [legal] process play out before we determine if any sanctions are necessary.” This change  in attitude has resulted in roughly two years passing without players being suspended under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to  domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Goodell will have plenty of cases to resolve over the next several weeks. Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty on July 15 of assaulting and threatening a  female. However, Hardy and his defensive team have been granted an appeal and a jury trial for this case is expected to occur early next year. Hardy will be free until the trial is over, but that does not preclude the NFL from making a judgement in the interim.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Additionally, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news because of his arrest and DUI and drug charges. An owner having legal problems has brought extra attention to how the NFL is dealing with NFL personnel having legal problems. Many fans have voiced their displeasure with the process. The NFL also has the continued link to Aaron Hernandez and his ongoing murder trials as reminders of the legal problems facing different players in the league.

Browns wide receiver is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

There is also the appeal hearing scheduled for August 1 in the case of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has already received a year-long suspension for failing another drug test. Gordon was also arrested for DWI this summer after learning of the suspension and upcoming appeal. With the NFL regular season just six weeks away from starting, the NFL would like all of the emphasis to stay on the field of play. San Francisco 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith is also expected to face some sort of penalty after having a number of off-the-field issues last season that led to arrests.

 Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received 'swift justice' from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.


Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received ‘swift justice’ from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.

Goodell seems to have shifted in philosophy in evaluating matters for suspension and fines. Players like Adam “Pacman” Jones and Ben Roethlisberger received penalties before their legal processes had been completed. Terelle Pryor and coach Jim Tressel received punishment for NCAA violations. These types of premature sanctions have not occurred much recently but that has not made people forget they happened. In fact, they highlight an inconsistency in levying punishment, resulting in fans and members of the media view Goodell with suspicion and unease.

Whatever the penalties levied to the afore-mentioned NFL personnel, the bigger problem Goodell is facing is how to prevent scenarios that require punishment in the first place. The NFL has the largest workforce of the major sports in this country and is debatably the most lucrative and popular. Athletes may not be role models for their community but they tend to be idols for many fans. It is incumbent upon the NFL, Goddell and the NFL Players Association to be more diligent in working on preventing reasons for the commissioner to issue penalties under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, while making an effort to clean up the NFL’s tarnished image through relevant, ongoing training of its personnel and representatives..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

NFL coordinators need Rooney Rule too

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome at Super Bowl 47.

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome at Super Bowl 47.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

There are currently five minority head coaches in the National Football League (NFL): Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals), Lovie Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Ron Rivera (Carolina Panthers), Jim Caldwell (Detroit Lions), and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers). There are five minority general managers: Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Reggie McKenzie (Oakland Raiders), Martin Mayhew (Detroit Lions), Rick Smith (Houston Texans), and Jerry Reese (New York Giants). There are 32 NFL teams so there is clearly need for better minority representation at the coaching, coordinator, general manager and ownership levels . Extending the Rooney Rule to address this under-representation, seems to be the only solution to change the status quo.

Current NFL AP Coach of the Year Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers.

Current NFL AP Coach of the Year Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers.

The  Rooney Rule, named after the chairman of the NFL diversity committee and Steelers owner Dan Rooney, was instituted to give minority candidates more chances in positions of power. The NFL hiring pool for head coaching positions generally comes from current or recent NFL coordinators. As the Associated Press recently reported, “The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group of minority coaches and front-office, scouting and game-day NFL officials, wants the Rooney Rule expanded to apply to coordinators, assistant head coaches and club president positions.”

Mike Tomlin has led the Pittsburgh Steelers to two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl 43.

Mike Tomlin has led the Pittsburgh Steelers to two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl 43.

The challenge for minority candidates now is that most of they mainly come from the defensive side of the game. As the NFL continues to make rule changes to accentuate offense, defensive coaches are increasingly challenged to prove their worth in a league with continual rising scoring. This past season, NFL teams combined to score an average 23.4 points per game, the highest league average of all time. As offensive coaches continue to be rewarded, defensive coaches find themselves left behind and  having to constantly prove themselves, which is odd, since strong defense typically wins games as the Seattle Seahawks convincingly demonstrated in Sunday’s Super Bowl blowout.

Newly hired Detroit Lions head coach, Jim Caldwell, was the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens last season.

Newly hired Detroit Lions head coach, Jim Caldwell, was the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens last season.

The extension of the Rooney Rule to coordinator positions will allow for more diversity in coordinator positions on both offense and defense. Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports recently surmised, “offensive coordinators tend to get the call to be head coach, and the guys overseeing quarterbacks… tend to get [Offensive Coordinator] OC jobs.” Of the current minority head coaches, only Jim Caldwell has expertise on offense. His hiring this off-season was lauded as a positive step for minority candidates as the Lions were viewed as a desirable destination. Extending the Rooney Rule to coordinator positions will likely give more minority candidates a chance to show that their knowledge of offense is as strong as their accepted knowledge of defense. That should increase the ranks of minority coaches in the NFL, a change that is long overdue.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Revisiting NFL playoff predictions for insight, context, perspective

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By Charles Glover, Jr.

As the final week of the regular season for the National Football League(NFL) approaches this weekend, this writer will revisit predictions made about the playoff teams at the start of the season. Most of the playoff spots are currently unsettled coming into the final weekend, bringing greater excitement and interest in the season finale for NFL teams.

Peyton Manning has led the Denver Broncos to the best record (12 - 3) in the AFC so far.

Peyton Manning has led the Denver Broncos to the best record in the AFC so far.

In the American Football Conference (AFC), the four divisions have already been decided. The winners of those divisions are:

AFC West – Denver Broncos (12 – 3)

AFC East – New England Patriots (11 – 4)

AFC North – Cincinnati Bengals (10 – 5)

AFC South – Indianapolis Colts (10 – 5).

One of the two Wildcard playoff spots is going to the Kansas City Chiefs (11 – 4), while there are several teams vying for the final playoff opening in the AFC. The Miami Dolphins (8 – 7), Baltimore Ravens (8 – 7), San Diego Chargers (8 – 7), and Pittsburgh Steelers (7 – 8) all have different scenarios in which they can make the playoffs if they win their last game this season.

Russell Wilson has led the Seattle Seahawks to the best record in the NFC so far.

Russell Wilson has led the Seattle Seahawks to the best record in the NFC so far.

In the National Football Conference (NFC) only three teams have clinched a playoff birth and none of the divisions have been decided yet. The current division leaders at this time are:

NFC West – Seattle Seahawks (12 – 3)

NFC South – Carolina Panthers (11 – 4)

NFC East – Philadelphia Eagles (9 – 6)

NFC North – Chicago Bears (8 – 7).

Based on conference records, the three teams that have clinched playoff births are the Seahawks, Panthers, and the San Francisco 49ers (11 – 4). The New Orleans Saints (10 -5) or Arizona Cardinals (10 – 5) can clinch the final Wildcard position with a win this weekend. The NFC North division winner will be decided on Sunday afternoon when the Bears face the Green Bay Packers (7 – 7 – 1). The winner of that game makes the playoffs. The same applies to the winner of the NFC East division deciding game between the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys (8 – 7) on Sunday night.

This writer was very wrong in predicting the Houston Texans (2 – 13) and Washington Redskins (3 – 12) would make the playoffs this season as they have the two most dreadful records in the NFL this season. However, there is still a chance that 10 out of the 12 predicted teams will make the postseason this year. The final playoff spot will be decided in the final game of the NFL regular season.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training specialist. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.

The NBA could achieve talent, economic parity, if it embraces the NFL’s draft model

 

 

Andrew Wiggins (l) and Jabari Parker (r) are the two highest ranked prospects for the 2013-14 NBA draft if they declare themselves eligible for the next NBA season.

Andrew Wiggins (l) and Jabari Parker (r) are the two highest -ranked prospects for the 2013-14 NBA draft if they declare themselves eligible for the next NBA season.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The popularity of the National Football League (NFL) has grown over the past twenty years, while the National Basketball Association (NBA) has seen peaks and valleys in its television interest, fan loyalty and attendance. The NFL has been able to generate greater parity and excitement for its teams in more small market cities compared to the NBA equivalent because star players from college football teams are guaranteed to go to the NFL teams that performed the worst in the previous season but the opposite is true in the NBA.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was drafted #1 overall in the 2012 draft.

Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck was drafted #1 overall in the 2012 draft.

The NFL draft model ensures that the team with the worst record in the league will receive the first pick. There is also a provision that precludes a team from receiving that coveted first pick in consecutive years. On the other hand, the NBA has a draft lottery that gives a weighted chance at the first pick in the draft according to the records of the teams that did not make the playoffs. The team with the worst record has, at best, a twenty-five percent chance at procuring the top choice in the draft. The small market teams in the NBA would greatly benefit from the NFL draft model as it would give them a better chance to land big name players from college. This would then grow their fan bases.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was drafted #1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton was drafted #1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

The NFL has seen small-market teams with terrible seasons rebound quickly with the selection of the right players in the draft. In conjunction with other moves in free agency, this results in quick improvements. The Carolina Panthers drafted Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton with the first pick in the 2011 draft and the team is having its best success in several seasons this year. The Indianapolis Colts drafted second generation NFL quarterback Andrew Luck first overall in 2012 and made the playoffs the very next season. These players were big names in college and helped create excitement for the fans of their respective teams while improving the performance of those teams as well.

The New Orleans franchise drafted Anthony Davis with the #1 overall pick in the 2011-12 NBA draft.

The New Orleans franchise drafted Anthony Davis with the #1 overall pick in the 2011-12 NBA draft.

Conversely, in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery for the third time in ten seasons and picked Anthony Bennett first overall last season. The New Orleans Pelicans (Hornets at the time) selected Anthony Davis with the first pick in the 2011-12 draft. Those teams have yet to see their teams improve to playoff material, yet but many believe that those teams have bright futures. The challenge for the NBA is to have small market teams land stars that can help generate widespread interest which would eventually translate to more money for those franchises.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to draft Kevin Durant (l) and Russell Westbrook (r) in consecutive seasons; moves that helped turn their franchise into perennial title contenders.

The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Kevin Durant (l) and Russell Westbrook (r) in consecutive seasons, moves that helped turn their franchise into perennial title contenders.

The Oklahoma City Thunder organization is the most referenced small market team, loaded with young stars through the draft in the NBA. The challenge for other NBA teams is to land young exciting players that become top-tier talent that can eventually transform a team to a title contender. Small market teams in the NBA have an additional challenge of retaining young stars they initially draft. Some of the biggest stars in the NBA change teams in pursuit of a championship. Parity in the NBA is difficult because many small market teams struggle in putting together consistent winning teams while retaining their drafted stars.

Troy Polumalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of many stars from small market teams, on and off the field, for the NFL.

Troy Polumalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of many stars from small market teams, on and off the field, for the NFL.

The other challenge is few small market teams draft big name stars. The Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, and Toronto Raptors stand out as teams that are in small markets, have struggled on the court, and have had a difficult time landing stars that can help their teams become playoff contenders. The NFL has big name stars in many small markets, which helps keep interest for those teams, even if they struggle with those stars on their team. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers’ quarterback), Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings’ running back), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers’ quarterback), and Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety) are just a handful of NFL stars from small market cities that are regularly featured in commercials. All of these players were also drafted by their current team.

The NBA would have a better chance of achieving the parity it desires if the rules in the NBA draft are changed to decide the order of the draft, based on records. A provision that would help guard against teams intentionally losing games to get the best draft pick is to prevent teams from having the top three picks in consecutive seasons. The potential for landing top-tier talent will always be alluring through the draft because of the potential to have a young star transform a franchise to a winner. The potential draft class for the NBA includes two of the most hyped freshmen in college basketball in years: Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Jabari Parker (Duke). It would be phenomenal for the NBA if the best player in the draft had a chance to transform the worst team in the NBA into an exciting championship winner.–OnPointPress.net.

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.