11 September, 2011



Only distantly, darlings.

Dudes and Dudettes –

This could be one of the most delightful of debuts I’ve dared to cast my eyes upon. I, like most of Panther Nation, are delirious on this evening of remembrances of disaster that descended upon us one decade ago. A dour dedication detoured by a decidedly dominating dynamic of a non-Davidson director! The derisive detractors of our #1 draft pick? Diminished! The days of depression over a desiccated, demoralized, deflated and disconnected football team? Dismissed! The future cheers for our offense in BOFA? DEAFENING!

The dollars destined to be spent on Panther tickets going forward are definitively driven by the deft direction of our dazzling new star , and to deny it would be, well, downright delusional.

One Cam Newton, who, for all of his jaw-dropping poise in this debut, could not command the English language like your Cedar Street Seer who has used words that start with “D” in a paragraph like the one you just read. Admit it, it was fun, and witty. And you’re in a really great mood after what you saw this evening. And I just couldn’t wait to get my thoughts into this rant, one I was only remotely confident I’d be writing. But I had no clue I’d feel as good as I do now, even after this narrow loss.

First, let’s get this in perspective. From where we were, when there was little to no chance of our team being competitive, to see a team sling the biscuit down the field like we did that even exceeded the days of Beurlein and his Frisbee-catchin’ dogs was as refreshing as stepping out of the door on an early fall morning, when the crispness of the air makes you awake and alive! To see Steve Smith perform as if he were in his prime! To see tight ends make clutch catch after clutch catch! To see the defense, yes, the defense, make plays when the whole world knows their shortcomings. I can’t think of all of the positive metaphor I can add to this – It’s like a chance meeting with the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen in your life – and she LOVES all the stuff YOU do, and SHE has season tickets! And when you have your first date at the pool, you discover she looks INCREDIBLE in a two-piece! Ok, that’s just a bonus and not THAT important, but you testosterone-poisoned goobers know what I’m talking about. It’s like going to Morton’s, and after your meal, and they bring you the best dessert ever made for FREE! And the dude at the next table is Jerry Richardson, recognizes you as a Panther Fan, and BUYS YOUR DINNER for you and your “D” cup darling (hey – there’s the “D” words again!) It’s like buying the truck you always wanted, but they only had the standard version, but once you left the lot in your brand-new F150, you discover it had ALL of the extras you wanted anyway! Do I need to go on?

It’s the discovery the franchise quarterback your team drafted –





After today? There can be no question. The stats speak for themselves. No rookie EVER started a game, much less PLAYED a game in the entire season with the productivity that Cam displayed today. Of course, I’m going to have to give a tremendous amount of credit to Coach Shula, to Coach Chudzinsky, and certainly Coach Rivera for their patience, and their confidence. The poise shown by Newton today while under massive duress was not that of a rookie, but that of a seasoned veteran. The Cardy-noles were determined to blitz, early and often. They never diverted from that plan, and more often than not, he BEAT IT! And after today, the rest of the league will take notice. The sportswriters who follow the frontrunners like pre-programmed flocking birds will have to pay attention to this young, aggressive, and talented team that has determined ---

WE WILL NOT SUCK ANYMORE. When you are going to play us, you are going to have to account for EVERY INDIVIDUAL on that offense, who will play for this QB, this coaching staff, like they all received Underdog’s Super Energy Pill when they report on gameday.

And my beloved PantherFanz –

This offense is a work in progress. How much better are we going to get? Of course, I don’t want to get too high after this performance. We will see Cam have a stinker, and THIS SEASON, most certainly. But as the seasons march on, barring catastrophic injury, these malodorous performances will become fewer and fewer.

Here’s a telling shot –

At the end of today game, with a goal line shot stopped INCHES from scoring, Cam Newton returned to the sideline, a look of deject disappointment in his face. Do you think he cared that he blasted his name in the record books in HIS VERY FIRST START? He didn’t give a damn about that. HE WANTED TO WIN, AND BADLY! His teammates consoled him and congratulated him, but the drive to win is evident in this young man. And I was delighted to see that, and not the goofy smile of Julius Peppers on our sideline after a lackadaisical performance that handed a victory to our opponent in a CRITICAL game! We have just experienced the rebirth of our Carolina Panthers, friends. The excitement level for this team has just reached SEISMIC proportions! Again, barring catastrophic injury, Uncle Jerry will sell out every game this season, particularly if we perform well against the Packers next Sunday, win or lose. The old axiom about offense selling tickets will once again hold true. Not only tickets, but jerseys, product, all of the attention a shining new superstar generates. Primetime will once again romance these Panthers. If Newton continues to perform like he had today, we will be tailgating for many a night game in our future. The value of our PSL’s escalate. The most popular Christmas gift this year? The #1 jersey, for sure.

Unfortunately, the old axiom about defense winning championships also holds true. As good as our offense promises to be, the defense also has potential to be the one-ton concrete block chained to the hopes of our team. While they didn’t look as bad this evening as they had in the preseason, they gave up yardage in MONSTROUS CHUNKS to an average Cardy-noles offense. I saw some bone-headed alignments called by McDermott, particularly in the second half, which surrendered critical points that turned the game in their favour. Of course, this unit is a work in progress as well. But potential DISASTER is losing Beason, the undisputed captain of our defense. Let’s hope and pray that his injury is not serious or season –ending. It WAS good to see Thomas Davis back out on the field causing mayhem. Let’s also pray that his return is permanent.

But I certainly don’t want to end my delirious rant on a downer –

Try to imagine this, PantherFanz-


We are able to withstand the Packer’s best shot? What if we can go toe-to-toe with the Super Bowl Champs? We’ve done this before. We’ll be home, and the stadium will have a disproportionate amount of THEIR fans, but what if WE can summon the noise and sprit this team so desperately needs and DROWN out the cheers of the foamy-cheese adorned fanatics?

All of a sudden, the somber demeanor of the day has got me thinking of one of the most poignant scenes in film. When the battle for the bridge in Remelle is finished in the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, with the Allies victorious, Captain Miller, mortally wounded, clutches the titular character, and utters with his dying breath ---


The scene changes to an elderly Ryan contemplating his life, and tearfully asks his wife for affirmation, which she lovingly gives him.

Football isn’t war, and in no way are sports the critical occupation doofuses like Dierdorf would have you believe if you listen to his annoying analysis during a game. But one thing’s for sure –

After today, with this performance –

The Carolina Panthers have earned our support and every ounce of cheering energy we can give them.

And let’s start it in the lot this Sunday!

Instead of a death march over a seemingly vastly superior opponent, now it feels like we’ve got a puncher’s chance! Hope – real, genuine hope, like we haven’t had in what feels like years –

Makes being a fan on this team feel worthwhile, at last. I’m also a realist. We weren’t expected to be very good this year, and the pundits continue to pound that in our faces in both the print and visual media. We aren’t making the playoffs this year, and I stand by my prediction of five wins, six at the max. But we are going to look VERY good doing it for the most part. There will be no shortage of exciting plays game after game, home or away.

The future looks dazzlingly bright, Fanz!

I’ll be back with the Week 2 picks in a few days –

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