– Former 49ers long snapper Brian Jennings believes the NFC should have won the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season, and he blames Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
“Cam Newton owes me $25,000 – a lot of people don’t know that,” Jennings said this week on the “Murph and Mac Show” on KNBR. “We have (New Orleans quarterback) Drew Brees with his playbook all week, studying (for the Pro Bowl). ... We have Cam Newton with his headphones on all week 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? Are you kidding?’ The punter and I look at each other and say, ‘We are going to have a long second half.’ We punted five times.”
Newton was 9 of 27 with a 43.7 passer rating and threw three interceptions during his stint as the quarterback for the NFC, which lost 59-41.
Newton apparently also rubbed teammates – and especially opponents – the wrong way during the week leading up to the game. He allegedly committed one of the most cardinal of sins by dissing then-Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, perhaps the most esteemed player at the time. When game day rolled around, Lewis’ defensive teammates on the AFC took revenge.
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San Francisco left tackle Joe Staley, playing in his first Pro Bowl that year, figured he’d have a rather relaxed outing considering that the game is played at three-quarters speed (if that) and no player wants to see another get hurt. Newton, however, was the exception, and Staley found himself having to block ravenous pass rushers like Houston’s Antonio Smith and Denver’s Von Miller. Newton was the only quarterback sacked in that game.