19 October, 2014



So it’s come to this –

Fourty percent into the season, and it’s come to this.

My movie geek buddy Beau Kaelin, from the bourbon snob capital of the universe, Louisville, Kentucky, relishes in the word –

Schadenfreude –

Satisfaction from the suffering of others. So much that he’d named his film making studio after the German –based word on how I’m viewing the events of the day –

I’m not going to go into the x’s and o’s of what happened today. Most of you who follow this column, and have found it bare lately; get your brain overloaded by hundreds of bloggers on hundreds of sports sites from ESPN to the local grass roots outlets.  Like me, you read these daily, and slurp on what’s become the man drama of the era.  But I feel compelled to make priority in my cluttered life to pound out on the keyboard what I’m feeling after today’s monumental shitpile of a football game.

First of all, let me say with finality –

Last year –

Was Last Year. Period. All of the superlatives attached to this Keystone Kops of a defense in 2013 mean NOTHING. NOTHING.  FIVE Steve Smith Seniors could not help this team, not defensively.  While I refuse to accept the fact the absence of Greg Hardy made the difference, I WILL say that the complete turnover of the defensive backfield HAS.


The word –


You may have been like me and Dano and Patrick – We turned off the game early in the third quarter and turned on “Red Zone”. Lauren went shopping.  I saw a guy in his Cam Newton jersey mowing the grass.  And we began to cheer the Baltimore Ravens stomping fifteen new assholes in The Duckies.  Great.  And we gave claw to each other when the Detroit Lions put fourteen unanswered points on our closest rivals in the division, those Naw’ins Saints – and I felt some weird satisfaction at our opponent of last week “Bungling” to a SHUTOUT – A SHUTOUT!!! The Browns, a team the Buckeye State is SO READY to embrace and cheer for, laying a huge titanosaur egg at the downtrodden Jaggy-whyers.  The Bears taking it on the nose AT HOME to the Dull-Phins. The media darling Sad Diego Chargers, blowing a winnable game, also at home –

And I had a sickening feeling at enjoying the misery of fellow fans I’ve come to feel genuine affection for at best, and honest respect for, at worst.

How did it come to this?

And as I swill on a medicinal Basil Hayden’s, I understand, briefly, my friend Beau’s fascination with the word.


Taking a misguided and guilty delight in the misery of the fans of the Squeelers, Browns, Saints and Duckies.  

Even though at the end of this day, The Carolina Panthers are SOLIDLY in first place in our miserable division, we have to realize that it’s not out of the question that certainly EVERY team in the division can potentially overtake us. One could take the optimist’s approach and look at the numbers and pound on the ideal that “a loss is a loss no matter if by one point or fifty”.  Not me. I look at trends. And ours is looking down, my friends. Look at the next four weeks and tell me if you feel good about getting out of that with a winning record!

I didn’t think so.

I know this isn’t the first time I’ve tuned out the Panthers this early in a game this early in the season, but it sure feels like it.  And I know that statistically there’s still plenty hope to salvaging the season, but after what we’ve seen today, I can’t feel  it.

So it’s been reduced to this.


And cheering every loss from our hated rivals.

And feeling some kind of sick relief from it, making the season more bearable.

And continuing the best tailgate party in the NFL, despite it all.

That’s MY “view from the lot” this week – and I’ll see some of you IN THE LOT – next week –

Gotta Comment?

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30 December, 2013


The seemingly long drive home after yesterday’s victory on the Duckie Pond, at first, found me jubilant, and then, quickly mired in a sea of emotion, none of it good. We listened to ESPN Radio’s Football Sunday broadcast, and all seven CRITICAL afternoon games were covered on the air “Red Zone” style – Packers triumphant over Bears. Niners surviving a late charge from the Cardy-Noles. Saints PUMMELLING the Sucky-neers, as expected. Seahawks dispatching the Lambs, thereby snuffing the hoped-for #1 seed. And – the Chef’s BACKUPS taking a DESPARATE Chargers team to overtime – mostly NFC teams that discovered their UnderDog Super-Energy Pills, that would watch film on our Keystone-Cops like offensive performance and begin licking their chops.

I struggled with what I’d write about, and the title – Yes, we “FINISHED” as I implored our Cats to do, but I was APPALLED at how FLAT our offense was! At a time where it was never more important to make a play, our supposed #2 receiver that NEEDED to step up – blanked. Couldn’t catch a F**KING cold! And, despite Dominik Hixon’s heroics of last week, we can see why he’s nothing more than a bit role player.

And I, just like everyone else who paid rapt attention to this game, realized just what STEVE SMMMMMMMMMMMMIFFF means to this team. Time has robbed him of some of his speed, but not his fire, not his passion, not his drive, and has done nothing but ENHANCE his leadership position on this team, a place that no one short of Jordan Gross can approach. One of these years, Luke will take that role, but right now, #89 drives this team. I thought of titling this rant “OFFENSIVE OFFENSE”, for the meager yardage (for US) gained on a TRULY SHITTY DUCKIES DEFENSE, was, well –

Offensive.  AND – in a game with such high stakes.

And then – I could not forget what ELSE we saw –

N  I  N  E 

S  A  C  K  S.

When, in this age of Super Bowls and the vertical passing game, has a team collected NINE SACKS???

I’m tempted to peruse the records of the ’85 Bears and see if they matched that feat –

And four of those sacks were collected by the ONE player on defense whose star has now begun to share the exclusive domain of Luke Keuchley and Thomas Davis – which led me to another thought, which was to subtitle the derisive editorial of our “O” with “DEFINING DEFENSE”. And for sure, when the story of the 2013 Panthers will be told, it will be the defense that will headline it. Cam Newton, that gorgeous hunk of quarterback that scintillates at least three times a game, might be the easiest on the eyes, and sexier to write about, but it’s this defense that’s carried this team this season.  Those of you who read this rant know I’ve been YEARNING for a madman on defense like Kevin Greene, a madman who can change the course of a game with a single play. I once thought earlier this season that Luke Keuchley could be that man – but he doesn’t have the character. The White Mike Singletary, yes, but NOT Kevin Greene.  And then I realized –

Greg Hardy is that madman.

MORE than MAD –


Who, in the history of the modern NFL broadcast, introduces himself as a mythical sea beast, and lists his education as JK Rowling’s iconic cotillion of higher super-natural education?

The Kraken, Class of Slytherin, Hogwarts, that’s who.

And he’s a free agent next season.




Dave Gettleman, DO NOT let this franchise cornerstone walk like Hurney let Peppers walk! What a heart-breaking prospect for the upcoming offseason, to have the closest thing to Kevin Greene leave for another team!!! You owe it to the continued success of this team to secure The Kraken’s services for the next few years – The producers of breakfast foods are DEPENDING on you!


For the future of Panther NATION –

PAY   THE   MAN  !  !  !

More on the game and the victory in the next few hours…

Gotta Comment?
Email me, The Cedar Street Seer


24 December, 2013


A sea of unusually boisterous golf fans line the tee box all the way to the green of a long par-5 on a top championship course.  The familiar figure, with his ubiquitous red shirt and black slacks uncorks his long, chiseled body, and hits a MASSIVE drive, splitting the fairway 400 YARDS!!! (Dano says – what a piker – I can hit it THAT long after a five-day DRUNK!!!) The crowd erupts in a massive cheer – He’s on his way to holing out yet another tournament title – His playing partner is a good 75 yards back. Woods hits his second shot to the green well within makeable putting distance – His opponent has to hit a masterful fairway wood to have a chance – and does.

And Tiger


Three putts.

His opponent, a portly, aged, once-was, with his belly flopping over his belt onto his knickers holes a magnificent putt and takes the trophy. Game over, Tiger Woods.

You didn’t finish.

Panthers –

Don’t be THAT Tiger Woods.

Mike Tyson is in the prize fight of his life – a one-time amateur fighting him is barely hanging on, round by round – absorbing punishing blow after punishing blow by the most fearsome puncher in the sport, loses every round – By the 15th round, Tyson is toying with him thinking it’s in the bag. The unknown pugilist from Escodera la Mar Republica de Bananas lands a perfect punch to his chin – and Iron Mike lays cold on the mat.

KO – Ernesto “Le Mancha Pescadores Grande” Rodriguez wins his only prize fight and becomes a body guard for a prominent Mexican drug cartel.

Tyson didn’t finish.

Panthers –


Kevin Harvick, the new Stewart-Haas Sprint Cup driver takes his new #39 Chevrolet to Victory Lane in Daytona – As an official supplier of product to SHR, SMI Properties is given a rush order of 1200 premium polo shirts with Harvick’s number and sponsors embroidered on it. The Embroidery department manager gets the product and pushes it through – the shirts are all stitched in time but there’s a problem – Joe Nejberger, the department manager didn’t schedule enough garment trimmers to get the shirts finished and bagged and barcoded –

The order doesn’t get to the SHR distribution center in time and they are very unhappy.

Joe didn’t finish the order.



Happy Holidays, Fanz –

It’s nice to have a ten-day break so that I can pay a little more attention to the blog, so I’ve got this particular vision in mind as we near the final game of the regular season – and this vision only.


I watched with particular concern last evening as the Duckies gashed the vaunted Phoney-Niners  defense again and again, coming within a scant 3 points with a mere 90 seconds or so to play – A HUGE defensive play keeps the Niners from disaster in their final home game at Candlestick Park. And my mind fast forwarded to this Sunday.

This could be us.

And – on the other end of it. That can’t happen.  Not after the magnificent season we’ve put together.
I’m going to admit I had, and still have a certain amount of trepidation going into this Sunday’s game –
Despite all of the stats and trends pointing to a Panther Victory – I’m reminded of a few things –

This game is being played at the Duck Pond, a place we’ve historically been awful at. This will be Tony Gonzales’ final game. They are BOUND to be absolutely GEEKED to perform well for him. Matt Ryan, despite the wretched year he and his Duckies have had, has not quit on this team, as evidenced last night. They certainly detest us as much as we do them, and nothing would make a terrible season a bit more palpable than to F**CK up our playoff seeding. There’s more than a reasonable sense that this smells of upset –


I’m comforted in the fact that the Panthers got to see something in their locker room after our slugfest in the Carolina Monsoon last Sunday – Seattle, getting their ASS HANDED to them by the CARDY-NOLES in a place they were supposedly INVINCIBLE at! I’m also sure they paid attention to the Ravens looking TERRIBLE at home in a game they HAD to win. And I KNOW they’ve scouted the Duckies last night. The one thing I take the greatest comfort of all in is hearing Riverboat tell his team, more than three times in his locker room speech –


I’ve got this feeling that he feels this more acutely than anyone on this team, and the team tends to follow him. While Cam may have earned the trust of his teammates now, I feel that Rivera has also earned that trust – Part of the reason that the Panthers have had a successful season is Riverboat’s propensity to go for it on Fourth Down – AND MAKING IT – I don’t have to remind you that he elected to punt last week – WITH TWO MINUTES TO GO – and at first, the fans and team were aghast – but as evidenced by the final results, our trust in Rivera was rewarded. I think the team knows what we have to do.

Finish in one putt.

Knock that banana-picker on his ass.

Get Kevin Harvick’s Daytona shirts to SHR in time.

Finish it.

Give the Duckies no hope, no chance, no question about who is the better team, and make that statement IMMEDIATELY from kickoff whether it be offense, defense, special teams. Play hard, clean, and within yourselves. Just like we have all year.  You will have an added bonus too, Panthers – it’s almost a certainty that the Georgia Dome will be half-filled with Panther Fans, as the fair-weather Duckie fans will long be looking for something better to do. We will be there, and cheer loud.

We will help you finish it.

And the reward – two weeks to heal, extend the season, and a very, very, real chance –

To finish. Something far, far, bigger…

I wish you all, dear readers, the Merriest of Christmases. We’re in the playoffs –

Merry indeed.

And some of you – I’ll see on the battlefield this Sunday –


Gotta Comment?

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23 December, 2013


I’m a little late coming to the keyboard to pound out my thoughts and passions as they command my most of my waking thoughts as a testosterone-poisoned sports lunatic, but the date of December 15th, our home game against the Jets, did not pass without me thinking about someone that a good many of you were very close to, or dug hangin’ with in the early days of PantherFanz tailgating. Still, quite a few of you may have never met him – but the day of Marc “JoKer” Stanton’s departure from the mortal coils of this corporeal existence into the realms of eternity brings to me a flood of thoughts, most of them warm and positive.  I feel his presence most profoundly on the few times I’m privileged enough to operate his vintage WWII hand-operated air-raid siren to fire up the tailgaters in the lot,  but there are other times that Marc comes to my mind as a dedicated, zealous PantherFan.

Do yourself a favor if you've never met the man. Go to the "JoKer Tribute Page" on the website.

I apologize to you all, dear readers, but the rest of this rant is a conversation between Marc and I.

Yo, JoKer!!!

Dude, I have no clue how you’re experiencing the afterlife, and how much you’re able to keep tabs on Julie, the kids, your Microsoft associates or James, myself with the rest of the tailgaters you’ve befriended in your long history of passion for the game, its accompanying festival and in particular, the Panthers, along with this website and community that was the genesis of a really good buzz between you and Dano. It’s the firmest belief I hold that you indeed have a never-ceasing view, not only of “The Lot” you took much pride in, but everything else on a galactic level, since now your essence spans a space none of us that still slog around this planet can yet comprehend. So, bro, I suppose you know that I’ve been particularly naughty this year, and deserve a bag of switches this Wednesday –

I could go on and on and on about how things have gone in this world since you left us, but that might bore you and definitely the readers of the blog YOU created, so I just wanna tell you, in case you’ve spent the past seven years digging something on a plane of existence we couldn’t  fathom, how, indeed things are going in the lot – I personally think you would be, to paraphrase my dad, who I’m counting on you hooking up with by the way, if you haven’t already – “EXCITED AS HELL” to be a physical part of PantherFanz tailgating –

You know, Marc, one of the last conversations I had with you was how some of us could take on more of the work in the party preparations, and I remember how glad you were in that SOMEONE was FINALLY going to make a serious contribution to the tailgate – Not only have Dano and James done a stellar job in keeping this thing going, but Marc, bro, there’s now about a dozen of us that do something important to keep the party goin’, game after game, season after season. And dude – you would LOVE the concoction Lauren and I came up with as our signature party drink – it’s called, of all things – Panther Potion, and it’s one part each of these liquors – Bartlett’s Orange Vodka – Captain Morgan’s SILVER Spiced Rum (why? Cause EVERYONE’s got a little Capn’ in ‘em!!!) Good Gordon’s Gin, and the cordial that gives it its blue colour, Dekuyper’s Blue Curaco. We cut it with an equal part of diet tonic water, and serve it in a gallon pitcher or a special dispenser James has on the bus, and the tailgaters get REALLY buzzed from that! Dano tells me that the game a bunch of Matt’s football teammate’s parents attended a tailgate party, much intimacy was achieved afterwards! It’s also a big tip generator at the party. And speaking of tip generators, Dano and Brain have gotten really awesome at cooking our main courses on the venerable “JoKer Smoker” so christened by us after we refurbished it. It’s still in great shape, bro; we’ve taken really good care of it! And of course, it goes without saying, even though we’ve never lost a tailgate, the party’s SOOOOO much better when we’re winning – and this year, Marc, this team is fantastic on levels we’ve never seen before – Dude, our defense is ’85 Bears good – no shit, and Ron Rivera is our coach! Our quarterback is a dude that wasn’t even in college yet when you left us – he’s a freak of athleticism on par with Julius Peppers, (who you may know isn’t on the team any more..)and can do things Jake Delhomme couldn’t even dream of doing. And DUDE –

WE ARE BACK IN THE PLAYOFFS after a five-year absence – with a chance to end the regular season in Atlanta, yeah, that town that you HATED with a fiery white hot passion, as the #2, maybe even the #1 seed, bro!!!

And Marc –

Bro –

Speaking of absence, I’m unsure if you get the internet where you are, I’m guessing you’ve got ways to circumvent the regular physical properties of needing a WiFi connection and a nice Windows machine to get it on, cause there’s no way, NO HOW, they’ve got Macs where you are… but I really feel your absence when I take to the keyboard to write for the website the rant you SO EXCELLED at. I could never call it “The View from the Lot” – that was yours, and yours alone, bro. I so miss the wit, passion, and INTELLECT and KNOWLEDGE you imparted to your sometimes weekly rants, and here in the past few years, I’ve felt so inadequate to keep that part of your legacy goin’ dude, but in that Sam Mills spirit – (Oh, give Sam my best for me-huh?) I will “KEEP POUNDING” because that honors you, bro.  I just really hope that you approve of it.

I get kinda maudlin this time of year, Marc, not JUST because you’re gone, but I do think A LOT of you in December, man. I just wanna let you know that the party you started is better than ever, the people who are part of it are more like family than ever, we’re extending into the national tailgating community more than ever, The Panthers you LOVED are better than ever, and Marc-

Julie and the kids are great.  Everyone’s takin’ great care of ‘em. You got nothin’ to worry about there, bro, but again, I think you know that.

You’re legacy’s in great shape, Marc.

And DUDE –

If that was not you hammerin’ the stadium with the Hammer of Molinjor yesterday when Cam threw that TD to Domenik Hickson, I wanna know WHO WAS!!!

Gotta comment Bro???

Email me, The Cedar Street Seer (the name YOU game me, bro!)

And if you do, I would hope I recover from the certain flip-out….

02 December, 2013


Happy Holiday times, Fanz!!!

It’s been five years since our Panthers have been relevant in December – and now firmly entrenched in the league’s TOP FIVE – NOT conference, mind you – LEAGUE – I, along with the rest of you, continue to spend week after week in incredulous amazement at the ascendancy of these Carolina Panthers.

As I made an incredibly FAST trip through a now speedy security process, which does the double duty of not only getting you to your seat WELL before kick-off, but there’s virtually NO buzzkill in the process, so you are guaranteed to have that “tailgate fresh” feeling when you’re ready to cheer – I was in quite the contemplative spirit as a horde of fans REFRESHINGLY devoid of devotees of the Sucky-neers excitedly made their way to their gameday positions in the seating bowl.

And as I indeed had the most MASSIVE of buzzes courtesy of your PantherFanz tailgating group, and the concoction Lauren and I created for you, I drank in the event that is Carolina Panthers Football (no pun intended-), Gameday, at the stadium. I watched the cheerleaders, the pre-game ceremonies, the players warming up, everything, with a focus I’ve not brought to bear here in many years –

I reveled in the pageantry.

And amazed at how much more precise the choreography of the TopCats is when you’re 8-3. How profound the invocation of the Holy Man is when you’re 8-3. How sincere and tone-perfect the National Anthem is sung when you are 8-3. Don’t think that I didn’t notice the NEW inflatable version of the Panther statue over the home team’s visitor’s tunnel. As the players’ introductions were met with a deafening roar from the crowd, I could feel myself being transported to a teeming ancient metropolis, the Eternal City of Rome itself, where, resplendent in his toga and freshly adorned laurels, Cesar Jerry lords over the day’s Circus. I could imagine Steve Smith, covered with scars his gladiatorial armour could not conceal, as the favorite of the immense crowd that came to watch their hero duel the enemies from a rival city, as the loudest roar from the stadium was given for him. And he deserved every decibel.

And yet, as the old warrior sees his gladiator days shortening, a new star of the crowd is coming to ascendancy – Many of us expected to see this from Cam Newton, some of us right away in his rookie season, most of us were expecting this last year. And as it goes in reality, this young, immature athlete, gifted beyond the mere percent of a percent that are good enough to play this game, NOW gets the nuances he MUST understand to be part of a winning team – part of a “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” team. Cam Newton is growing up. When the crowd began to become quiet, and the Sucky-Neers moved  the ball on our vaunted defense with unexpected ease, this super new gladiator turned on the hyperdrive generator, much like Jake Delhomme did way back in ’03 when he rushed the field in the third quarter of our opening game . The energy spread from the team to the crowd, who resumed the throaty ear-busting cheers of our Monday night victory over the Cheat-a-Cheks. And Cam reveled in it. The players reveled in it. I've never seen our other new gladiatorial star, Luke Kuechley, more animated and active in the defense. (Adding to the pageantry aspect, the stadium PA has taken to playing "Lukes Theme" from StarWars for every "BIG BOY TACKLE" Luke makes. Cheesy, but I LOVE IT-)  The crowd couldn’t get enough (until 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter- REALLY FANS? That’s a rant for another time) and the pageantry continued with a halftime hip-hop show, and more excellent dance choreography from those smokin’-hot TopCats. The beatdown was on, and we now own the longest winning streak in franchise history.


I’m going to want you to reflect on that –

These Panthers are making history – Every reception Steve Smith makes now puts him in the rarified company of those who have busts in Canton. Cam Newton is on a pace to take his place among the elite of the elite. This defense is approaching the yard-miser and point-denier status of – of –

The 2000 Baltimore Ravens – and dare I say it –

Rivera’s old team –

THEM.  If you know football, REALLY KNOW FOOTBALL, you don’t even need me to tell you who this group is, but to be compared to – to –


It’s Historic.

Deserving of the pageantry heaped upon them and the contests they wage. Between now and the battle in The Bayou, hundreds of thousands of words will be written preceding this game against the Saints– I don’t plan on adding to them, except to say –

We’ll be in this game. Drew Brees, if you think the Seattle Defense was tough –


And these games decide the division, home playoff games, a season of success. And it felt like it was galaxies away two months ago, after the detritus had been swept away from the Arid-Zona defeat.

Win or lose, it’s just an honour to be there, to give our all for Cesar Jerry and the Panther Empire.

And the pageantry for us continues, quite likely into January –


I do.

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24 November, 2013

Caaaaam..... a Jedi now, you arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre..............

I am almost breathless as I write this -

What we needed to see as Panther Nation , we have seen -

We have seen the continuing maturation of this team into a bona fide contender - On a day where we didn't bring our best game, and there's no question we didn't - Even the best of the teams that play "BIG BOY FOOTBALL" don't bring their  "A" game week after week - we have for the THIRD WEEK IN A ROW -

Pulled VICTORY -

From the jaws of defeat  - in a manner that the recent edition of the Carolina Panthers could not have done in the past. I KNEW this game would not be as easy as it seemed on paper. That's why they "play the games" as it's said in the sporting lexicon...

There are three elements of this "BIG BOY FOOTBALL" team that won this game today -

Number one, and possibly the most important -

The nads of "Riverboat Ron", like the heart of the Grinch in that timeless holiday story, grew TEN TIMES on this day - With his Panthers on their own twenty yard line, and facing Fourth and Defeat, he GOES FOR IT -

to -

Number two, Cam Newton, instead of running for it, knowing that Miami will be expecting it, trusts the Force and Mike Shula to throw it to -

Number three, Steeeeeve SMIFFFFFFFFF who shows again and again, game after game, that HE is the emotional Obi-Wan Kenobi of this team, and WILLS it to VICTORY with a MAJOR, CLUTCH CATCH to extend the GAME WINNING DRIVE -

And Cam ends the suspense with a final lightsaber slash to Greg Olsen, finally defeating the final team these Panthers have NEVER BEATEN - leaving the mop-up work to the defense, who is seriously missing "Big Money" Charles Johnson - but not for long - he's expected back for the now HUGE game against the Sucky-Neers next Sunday.

I cannot begin to contain the excitement I have as a long - suffering Panthers fan at what this victory means -

It means -

Ron Rivera will NOT have a losing season this year.

It means-

This team is now closing the gap in the "close game" albatross that has hung around our neck for the past two years -

It means -

That Cam Newton and the rest of the offense now has the confidence it needs to KNOW WITHOUT QUESTION that it CAN play from behind, and WIN.

It means that the postseason is a virtual guarantee for us -



The pressure is even greater on the New Orleans Saints -

We're here, Drew Brees, Sean Payton, Who Dat Nation -

And we AINT SKEERT of YOU....

AND ----




Gotta Comment?

Email me, The Cedar Street Seer -


20 November, 2013


Greetings, FanZ!

As I pound this latest rant, I realize that through this season of success I have a similar problem as I had when we went through the valleys of dismay Post-2009 – how many times could I write, “WE SUCK”, and “FIRE JOHN FOX-HURNEY” and “PEPPERS HAS TO GO”, and plumb the depths of your dissatisfaction and at least make you feel like your angst had a legion of allies and supporters  – Now, I’m finding quite a similar situation coming up the same way, week after week,  win after win –

How many times can I write about how UTTLERLY F**CKING AWESOME it is to watch, tune in, read about, listen to radio chatter concerning THE CAROLINA PANTHERS OF 2013??!!! Of all of the superlatives and hyperbole I could possibly muster out of my expansive vocabulary, could I piece together something you, dear reader, would find interesting and enlightening? Could I take tackle after tackle, score after score, and make an epic storylog  that would prime you for more Pantherfandom?

As Lauren and I sat in the stadium Monday night, after a buzz not achieved in our lot in many a year, I considered all of the witty titling I could give a rant after our sixth consecutive win – But much like last week, all that my mind could process was simple verbiage betraying my almost limitless ability to colourize in word, any possible subject –


Ok, so I think you, me, every casual fan and every feverent gridiron-poisoned fan, every talking head on every sports network can agree, that The Carolina Panthers are playing “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”. So, with that said, I would say, that if you are a young man playing football, on the high school level, a blue-chipper playing at a 4A organization, I think you would likely be playing “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”. And like that “HELLO…………………!!!” commercial some telecommunications company aired last year, you’ve got Bob Stoops coming to speak that repeated salutation to you, and before you know it, you are an All-American playing at a Division One school with a chance at glory on a national level. And NFL scouts are looking at you play – “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”… And then you hear your name, possibly on the first day of the NFL Draft at the Music City Hall, and you will now get paid to play – “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”

So – if we take the description, and determine that all 32 teams in the NFL play “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” –

We would be in error.

In my opinion, “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” looks something like this –

It starts with a coaching philosophy.  A determination to use the athletes in your organization to execute your vision in “x’s and o’s, and succeeding. A supporting front office that provides this coaching staff with the college athletes and free agents it needs to continue and cycle the process.

Bill Belli-cheat is a good example of a coach that gets it. His New England-gland Pastry-Rots PLAY BIG BOY FOOTBALL. Year after year. Pete Carroll is another. So is Sean Peyton.

The players are all bought into the system, both offensively and defensively. There’s no self-serving desire for records, for individual milestones for petty bickering about who gets the ball, who starts, who sits who gets the points – all there is, is the singular vision of success, the way the coaching staff builds it in practice. All of the acclaim, the records, the stats, comes as a result of the process. Of course, it all sounds utopian, because there IS a strong sense of pride in every athlete at this level – it’s displayed in various ways, from the boisterous howling of Ray Lewis, to the intense and cerebral mannerisms of Peyton Manning.  They all want to win – and the way that these athletes join from OTA’s  through training camp, to the end of the regular season and beyond, form the very definition of the word – TEAM as we use it to describe clubs in the NFL.  The offense of a “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” team is a system that consistently runs to game plan, and is capable of adjusting to game conditions in REAL TIME.

Note that last part of that last sentence.  It will be an important part later in my rant.

The defense of a “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” team is one that controls the game, snap to snap. It is able to limit yards, points, and consistently gets possession BACK to the offense. It is staffed by athletes of the highest level of performance, who never, ever, stop until the whistle blows.

As I said before, The Pastry-Rots play “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” – The Saints play “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”.

The Pissburgh Squeelers no longer are capable of “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” –

The Detroit Lions are beginning to grasp it – but are not there yet. Same for the Bungles.  The Phoney- Niners play “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”. And believe it or not, it’s coming back to the Noo Yawk Gi-AINTS. Jon Beason has the HEART of “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”. He makes a difference in that defense now.


The Green Bay Packers do NOT play "BIG BOY FOOTBALL". One player CANNOT make that big of a difference on a "BIG BOY FOOTBALL" team.  Billi-Cheat lost Tommy Terrific and STILL won 10 games with Matty Cassel who now stinks it up for another team that DOES NOT play "BIG BOY FOOTBALL". If you cut your greasy hair, Clay Matthews, and quit doing those INANELY STOOPID FatHead commericials, you MIGHT sniff a TENTH of Luke Keuchley's "BIG BOY FOOTBALL" quotient.

John Fox can usually coax an unusual brand of “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” out of his teams when Peyton Manning’s not the QB, we’ve been real used to that game we knew as “FoxBall”. Of course, now that Brotha Mannings dealing with a bit of a gimpy ankle, FoxBall makes sense for the Broncoids, who, without question, are playing “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”.

The game last week in San Francisco was a great example of “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”. The game Monday –

WAS DEFINING.  In ways that exceed the best of John Fox’s teams. Why would I say that?  More on that in a few sentences. I turned to Lauren at the kickoff, and said –

“Its time to play some BIG BOY FOOTBALL!!!” , and I was fairly confident that we could. There was no question that the Brady Bunch and his Cheat-a-checks would bring their best efforts. And there was no question that the Panthers would. Even though Brady found his yards, the BIG BOY DEFENSE of the Panthers held this offensive juggernaut to a measly 3 points.  As the game unfolded, I realized the genius of Bill Belli-cheat, and how he decided he was going to play this contest. He knew yards would come at a premium against this defense– there were so many heads to the hydra, so he could only keep so many heads at bay – Brady all but forsook the deep ball, because those extra seconds taken scanning the field would have brought Kraken and Company driving him into the Bank of America Stadium turf. He dumped off, with frequency, and those little 3 and 4 yard gains became 8 and 9 yard gains! And as you saw, they took the lead late on us. This is what “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” teams do.  But “BIG BOY DEFENSE”, which the Panthers have, no doubt, makes the lead by the opposition only 3 points – and gets the ball back to the offense -

And, now, if there was any question, and I had many, about this Carolina Panther offense being able to play “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”, they are dispelled. Like I said, Belli-cheat had made an absolute commitment to stopping the run. Our stable of backs, the “Triple Threat”, didn’t manage 50 yards. THE WHOLE GAME.  In seasons past, this was a recipe for disaster. But we didn’t have Cam Newton then. Jake Delhomme could never have done in this offense what Cam does. What we saw in the past two games was like seeing that idealistic gung-ho farm boy from Tatooine become a Jedi Knight in “Star Wars”. Soooo – If we were not able to get yards running with the backs, then Cam would find the open receiver, because that extra player was in the defensive “box”. And if he found the passing lanes choked off, of course, as the endless loops of highlight reels show again and again – he RAN.  Unlike Forrest Gump, he RAN for a VERY PARTICULAR REASON. And again, I cannot ignore the role Mike Shula is playing in this offense. Remember what I said about “BIG BOY OFFENSE”? I’m going to have to retract my vilification of his system I made early in the season -  When our original gameplan to gash the Pastry-Rot Defense with StewWilliams Cookies failed to produce, he switched gears, mid-game, and the result?

A final drive by Cam Newton and his Cam-a-Lots of the Cat’s Table that was one for the ages. I will save the game on my DVR, and watch it again and again until the Panthers top this one. Which they will. This season.  Like Luke Skywalker severing the hand of Darth Vader, rendering him useless, Cam severed the most important head on Belli-cheat’s hydra, and like Han Solo sweeping in with the Millennium Falcon to clear Luke’s path to destroying the Death Star, the defense, led by our OWN LUKE – finished the job.

And I’m not adding one more f**cking word to the blathering about catchable balls. Period.

And I would be failing you not to mention that this success begins with our new GM, Dave Gettleman, who I believe 100% gets “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”, and makes sure Riverboat gets the athletes he needs to succeed. I would also be failing you if I did not once again retract my earlier statement about Ron Rivera and his inability to win at this level. Like Cam, he’s make a quantum shift in the way he approaches this game, and the results, well, this 6-game winning streak is proof enough.

Do this year’s Carolina Panthers play “BIG BOY FOOTBALL”??? You damn right they do.  Can they continue this string of success? I believe it. If we can go to a place and beat a “team” that’s about five galaxies away from “BIG BOY FOOTBALL” in the Miami Dull-phins, a “team” incidentally, that we have NEVER BEATEN IN OUR ENTIRE FRANCHISE EXISTENCE – with the same intensity we’ve brought to EVERY GAME WE’VE PLAYED this season, you can print the playoff tickets, because we, THE CAROLINA PANTHERS, will be there.

A Crazy Joe Diversion from topic, slightly ……………..

The young Jedi, Cam Newton, approaches a ghostly visage of the Lord of BIG BOY FOOTBALL, Master Lombardi – who tells him his training is finished – already knows, him, that which he needs.
“Then I AM a Jedi” Cam breathlessly tells himself –
“COUGHCOUGHCOUGH” replies Master Lombardi – “NO – not yet! One thing remains – The Dolphins – You MUST DEFEAT THE DOLPHINS – “

“Then, and only then, A Jedi will you be –“

Thanks so much for the diversion. I felt it necessary. In order for the Panthers to be what I feel they should TRULY be, they will need to do what no coaching staff, no front office was able to manage in our 17 years of existence. Beat the Miami Dolphins. Now.

Then,  and only then,



The SuckyNeers and the Saints await after that.

As well as your PantherFanz ultimate Tailgate Party!!!

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