07 September, 2008


September 7th, 2008

I know that Brain said if I said “Foxball” one more time, he’d give me a five-minute time out-

Go for it, lover boy!!!

If you’re like me, many of you PantherFanz are just giddy with what we’ve just seen. Let me temper y’all. This is one game. Remember 2001? Going up to the Mighty Metrodome and seeing Stinky Weinke and that little runt Steve Smith rough up the Vikings? Remember what happened next?

Uh huh.

This, I promise you, is NOT 2001.

What we’ve seen today is the template for the rest of the year. Just as I had described it in a blog last winter. We have seen Foxball played today, while not to perfection, we have seen it played good enough to win- in a hostile stadium against one of the NFL’s supposed “Power Teams”. What is Foxball, for those of you who’ve not kept up? It’s a power running game, with a bruising offensive line, with bruising running backs, with little chances being taken in the passing game. In the John Fox football world, a PUNT is “not a bad play” and you take the three points when you get the chance. Hence, the 9-7 lead at the half. I know lots of fans would take disdain at the fact we weren’t able to punch it into the endzone. But friends, look at the numbers- we had OUTGAINED the Bolts two-to-one offensively, particularly on the ground, where the Bolts supposedly excel. We controlled the line of scrimmage and time of possession. Most importantly, Jake wasn’t TOUCHED until the third quarter. Since field position was also well in our favour (thanks Rhys Lloyd and running game!!) the defense could play their kind of game, and keep that powerful offense in check and on the ropes.

Speaking of “on the ropes” I couldn’t help but think of Muhammad Ali and his- Rope-a-Dope fighting style, and how it related to Foxball. Gettin’ the defense set up- for the knockout. While it didn’t quite happen to the Chargers, they were still plenty gassed by the time Jake engaged his end-of-game heroics. While Foxball is not for everyone, and it certainly doesn’t sell tickets- it does tend to win championships. It did for the Giants, and it did for us, when we had the personnel. We have the personnel NOW. And oh, there’s a time when Foxball doesn’t work. The last two minutes of a half, or a game. That’s when you need a ballsy gunslinger of a quarterback, kinda like Brett Favre. Oh, yeahhhhhhhh- We got that. But he needs a target he has confidence in. Like Steve Smi- uh oh. Like Mushin Muh- uh oh. Dante WHO? Uh, yeah, we got that. Tomorrow morning, look at the box score and see who caught the ball for our Cats. DJ Hackett? Never saw preseason or practice? No problem. DeWayne Jarrett looked like the possession receiver we drafted him to be. Moose made some clutch catches, but we are seeing the emergence of an offensive weapon that will make the running game even more effective, and one particular little dude that wears 89 a death blow to defenses later on in the season. Welcome back, Tight end, to the Carolina Panthers offensive game plan. When Foxball is REALLY working to it’s intended result, the second half will be the part of the game when the opponent will have to choose their style of death- Will they want to be bludgeoned by Williams and
Stewart, or carved up into little pieces by 89, Moose, Hackett, Jarrett, and especially now, Dante Rosario? Again, how are defenses going to game plan for us WHEN STEVE SMITH COMES BACK!!?? The prospects are absolutely intoxicating to contemplate.

How many times have we watched a big game we had in the bag, only to have a big-name QB snatch the victory away from us with those late game heroics? How many times have we watched in angst, either when we were playing or some other teams, and thought, Why not US!!!??? Why can’t WE have a Brett Favre or Tommy Brady or Joe Montana throw that heroic last second touchdown pass? Why can’t WE feel what it feels like?

Today, it WAS OUR turn. And OHHHHHHHHHHHH how sweet that felt!

So, season opener, in the bag. A big win, of course, but it’s not a division game. Gets us noticed, but don’t think the Saints, Bucs and Duckies are afraid of us now.

But they need to be.

As I type this, the very balance of power is shifting in the NFL- The Mighty Indianapolis Colts are being throttled at home, by the “lowly” Chicago Bears, who by the way, we host next Sunday. Tom Brady is OUT for the season. Forgive me if I shed tears of sympathy for the Pastry-Rots! Cleveland laid an egg at home, just as I thought they would. The SeaDogs got blasted by Bufflamago. It’s OUR TIME, Fanz! And Foxball will take us there, whether you like the style or not.

Oh, and welcome back, Dano. I know you enjoyed that trip out to Sad Diego.

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