Cam Newton said his short-lived benching for the Carolina Panthers' defeat to the Seattle Seahawks was down to a "lack of communication", but sternly maintained that his failure to wear a tie had nothing to do with the 40-7 defeat.
Newton stayed on the sidelines in favour of Derek Anderson, who earned the surprise start at quarterback, a "coach's decision" announced by the Panthers simultaneously with the start of the game.
Anderson promptly threw an interception to Mike Morgan on the game's first play and Newton resumed duties on the Panther's next drive.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera made the decision to bench Newton based on "disciplinary reasons", explaining after the game that the quarterback's outfit worn to travel to Seattle had breached the franchise's dress-code.
Though accepting fault for his choice of clothes, Newton dismissed its impact on the game as the Panthers slipped to a 4-8 record in a dismal campaign.
"In my opinion, it was a lack of communication," he said. "On my part, especially as a team captain, a person that I feel has his ear. I should have just cleared it first.
"By the time everything happened, it was just, I was off guard.
"But, we didn't lose this game because of a tie, you know what I'm saying? It was a lot of execution errors, it was a lot of things that we had our opportunities, and we failed at it.
"As a team, we're going to keep putting ourselves in this position if we don't maximize the opportunities that we do get in the game."
For the record, this is what Cam Newton wore on the flight Saturday and what he'll wear home to Charlotte tonight. pic.twitter.com/zlvsF3JwSU-- Joe Person (@josephperson) December 5, 2016
Newton added: "When you're 6"5', trying to get a shirt. I was away from home for a week.
"I didn't pack a shirt. There was a lot of ties that I was given, but I can't wear a tie with this black turtleneck.
"We discussed it internally, me and coach, we got on the same page.
"I feel I wore a similar outfit as this before and nothing was done. But he said he has rules in place and we have to abide by them, and no person is greater than the next person. It is what it is."