12 December, 2011


I’m going confess –

When I’m watching a really boring game on TV, regardless if it’s football, basketball, NASCAR, whatever-
I’ll often find an alternate channel to switch to when the “action” or significant lack of it, really starts to ebb –

And more often than not, I’m switching to nature shows, like those on the National Geographic Channels, or Animal Planet, Discovery, PBS, etc…

I’m thinking about this as our franchise Superman used the “safari” metaphor to describe his role with the Panthers likening himself to that “lord of the jungle”, Felis Leo, the African Lion, in an much dissected and scrutinized interview he gave to ESPN about four weeks ago, in which he remarked he would leave the “safari” if the culture of losing didn’t change -

Ok, Cam – Do you know which gender generally does all the work? It’s the females, bro. The ones that get little of the attention, who have to make room for the fully-maned males to get their “lion’s share” of the kill. And so often, in the kill-or-be-killed arena of the grasslands and jungles, the hunt fails, for reasons that have had miles and miles of footage displayed on our favorite cable or satellite channels. The pride goes hungry; the cubs starve and die, until fortune provides the lions with an easy kill. Life is often tough for those at the top of the food chain; you have to compete with other desperate, hungry elements in the ecosystem for either rare, formidable or elusive resources. I wonder if Cam thought about that – Leaving the “Safari” if you’re a lion means certain death. Learn your metaphors well before you emote, Cameron – This ain’t Lion King, where the tormented young heir to the throne of the pride gets to the happy ending, and the “circle of life” goes on in it’s eternal rotation…

And while you’re at it, learn how to eat the ball when there’s no positive offensive options.

I’m pretty disgusted at the results of yesterday’s game. I’m not going to comment on those who want to lose for draft position, I’ve made my thoughts clear on that view a rant or so ago. The fact that it was the Duckies made it even worse. How, oh, how, do we SQUANDER a 16 point lead in the second half? Let me count the ways –

1) INTERCEPTIONS – This one’s on YOU, Cam. You got no business flingin’ a weak left handed pass to a back that’s not expecting it. You’ll never run down impala playin’ like that, Felis Newtonia –You’d more likely be hyena chow, to maintain the “safari” metaphor – And you have got to grow up, Cam. When you fail on the field, you have to have the emotional fortitude to shake it off. You are not going to be killed for making an error, as Roman Gladiators were. You have the opportunity to make GREAT plays, but the valleys you plunge yourself into after you (or a teammate) screw up prohibit you from doing this, in my opinion. Stop the Mr. Mopeyhead act. Make it an offseason priority, as well as finding ways to improve your passing accuracy and decision making. The picks you threw were more than 50% of the malfeasance that denied victory for your fans that are STARVED for it!
2) DEFENSE – No pressure up front, abysmal coverage in the secondary. Yes, there’s injuries, but that’s what depth is for. But we knew the defense sucked, and was going to remain bad for the remainder of the season. When this is the best effort we can get from this group, it’s time for wholesale personnel changes. And while I’m at it –

3) SCOUTING – our draft selections, for the most part, have simply not panned out as of late. Who, on the defensive side of the ball short of James Anderson or Charles Johnson, has been a bona-fide force that was drafted in the past three or four seasons?

4) COACHING – This one’s on YOU – Ronnie. How do you not keep the foot on the Duckie’s neck while you have them down? And this one’s for YOU, Chudz – How do you NOT elect to have your MOST DYNAMIC RUNNER take off with the ball when it’s 3rd and short? Not the Duckies, the Bears, The Ravens, whoever, are going to stop Cam Newton consistently when he’s out of the pocket and running – there were at least four instances when I turned to Kathie in the second half and said – “Watch this – Cam’s going to take off” – only to have an errant pass fall to the BOFA turf, when Cams’ long athletic legs would have likely generated a first down - Chudzinsky – FAIL. ON YOU.

5) KICKING – Hoooooooooh Boy. Kickers kick. They are paid to a) kick the ball from a tee as deep as possible to avoid long return yardage. b) to kick the ball from a punting formation to accomplish a similar goal and c) to put the ball through the uprights for field goals and extra points. Now, I’m not of the mentality that a kicker wins or loses a game for a football team. They’re a contributing factor, but in the grand scheme of things, they are more a tactical element, than strategic. You don’t game plan around kickers, unless you are likely to call “time out” at the end of a half to screw with one. If you have fine tanks and artillery, you are likely to win the battle in warfare, if used correctly, but again, these are tactical weapons. Olindo Mare missing yet another clutch field goal belies a short-circuit in his emotional capabilities when it comes to git-er-done time. I see young kickers all over the league consistently making field goals considerably longer than the relative chip-shots missed by John Kasay’s replacement. I really hate to spend so much page on this subject, but after all the calls and post-game commentary I’ve heard crucifying this man for the loss, I felt it necessary. Again, he’s a contributing factor, but he didn’t turn the ball over, TWICE, or failed to cover the wide receivers making catch after drive-sustaining catch. Ok, I’m done with this topic.

And all in all, it’s big picture stuff. When your car’s not running right, you’ve got to identify the parts of the machinery that’s prohibiting optimal performance. And sad to say, this is what the prime focus of this organization has become in the twilight stages of the season. I have a feeling that more than a few familiar faces and names will be finding themselves searching for another place to play when the season’s over. All in all, the season hasn’t been the disgusting, unwatchable mess that was last season. As I had predicted, the games have been vastly more entertaining, although many of them have been gut-wrenching disappointments, much like yesterday. And it’s increasingly hard to write about if I don’t have an interesting metaphor to jump-start me – like the Japanese monster angle, or the struggling pride of lions.

I will end my rant by congratulating the fans – for the most part I saw MOSTLY Panther fans in the seats yesterday, and the smattering of Duckies fans were vocal, proud, and polite. Not a one did I find offensive, or in-your-face when their victory was no longer in question. The Panther fans were loud, noisy, and most of ‘em stayed right up til the last Panther possession, which, BTW, was another miscarriage of offensive playcalling. The lone exception was the fat asshole sitting in Section 137, Row 18, seat 23, yeah, I’m calling you out, for telling me, The CLAW MAN, to get out of his face and not return what is now the prime congratulatory gesture in our section! I sure am hoping you’re not buying Dan’s PSL’S…. because if you do, you are going to have a BIG problem with me, bigger than the blob of goo you have encircling your waist and likely ruining every aspect of your life, so don’t you take it out on a happy and passionate fan. That actually had a SLING on, indicating physical injury! Asshole. Remember, John’s got my back – and if you’re there next season, you are gonna deal with me. If this is what you bring to the stadium, we don’t want you. Keep your corpulent ass on your massively dented couch and watch whatever you watch away from fans who love to cheer, and claw, and high five. Actually, if you do show up again, I’ll simply ignore you. You are not obliged to return any congratulatory gestures to me or anyone else. But you, like all of the other stuffed shirts that feel that the price of the ticket they paid for gives them the right to sit on their hands and expect entertainment, miss out on the real fun of attending a home NFL game.

Actually, a post-post script. I notice that my surgically repaired left arm has no discomfort whatsoever after an hour of pounding out this rant. A positive sign indeed. I hope it continues throughout the months to come, not only for me, not only for the Panthers organization, but for you, Readers of the Rantz.

I’ll be back hopefully before Thursday afternoon with the picks for what is shaping up to be yet another vastly entertaining and exciting stretch run in this unprecedented football season…

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