24 September, 2013


After Sunday’s joyous blowout win, which was bordering on a religious experience, I was going to name this week’s rant –

“Coming to Jesus” –

Which of course, connotes a religious experience, but after stewing on what I’d seen, and what’s coming down the pike, I finally came up with another titling, which also connotes religion, as Hope is a word of the faithful, waiting for the moments of joyous deliverance – and those of you who fervently follow the Carolina Panthers must CERTAINLY have it by now – if you don’t, you have a cantankerous gloomy outlook that is antithesis to healthy fandom.

At this moment, I am brimming with it –

Mind you, I’m still wary of the coaching staff, but I couldn't help thinking that Mikey Son Of Jaw and Chef Ron had a meeting with The Almighty Himself, who revealed to them their quarterback, Cam Newton, and all of the wonderful things he’s capable of doing when correctly utilized, when SuperCam ripped off run after run on our nemesis, driving us down the field on our very first offensive possession to an ACTUAL TOUCHDOWN!!! You all were there, or you saw it on TV, so I don’t have to go play by play with you – You know what you saw, and to me it was almost like seeing Mother Mary’s holy visage appearing in the frothy foam of your freshly poured beverage.

At this point, it’s all about BIG PICTURE –

It’s about –


Look at the league, y’all – Look at the wreckage of winless teams - some, expected, like the Sucky-Neers and Jaggy-whyers. BUT – a look at who else is still looking for just ONE win – teams EXPECTED to contend – The DeadSkins, The Squeelers, The Vikings, and most importantly, the team from Gotham we sent TO THEIR WORST DEFEAT IN FORTY YEARS!!!

Think about that – the last time the Gi-AINTS lost that bad, some of you weren't even EMBRYOS – Cable TV was an experiment, there were 5 or 6 channels on your 19-inch TV, which, if you were lucky, was in colour. Computers were hulking tape-fed behemoths that were denizens of huge universities and corporations, or either benevolent or evil mechanizations in sci-fi movies and novels. You get the ideal.

Now, 1-2’s not anything to boast about, but the very nature by how we got this first win, and who we got it against has to be held in comparison to the rest of the NFC – Who else is 1-2? Just about everyone.  Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle are undefeated for now, but are clear frontrunners. Ok, three more spots – the Cowboys are 2-1, as are the Detroit Lions. I know, I know, it’s FAR too early to contemplate playoffs, but as this is the goal of every team in the league, you have to know that OUR PANTHERS are in the thick of the race! Look at the heavy hitters that were supposed to be contenders – the Duckies, snakebit at 1-2, the Packers, also at 1-2, and the Phoney-Niners all of a sudden disintegrating! Do they have our SMOTHERING front 7? Do they have Cam Newton? Do they have the third ranked rushing attack in the NFL? And, do they have hope?

Like us, Green Bay has the first bye of the season to heal and to game plan the remainder of the season. They lost to Cincinnati in the same fashion WE had been losing close games in! And we, we went into the bye with the LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – EVER-in our history. It seems to be too early for a bye, but a famous coach once quipped, “It’s always the right time for a bye!” And so it is. And so we have two weeks to dream. To imagine the possibilities .

And to hope.

Look at the upcoming schedule – At Arid-Zona, At the Vikings, at home versus the sucky-once-again Lambs, and then to the Sucky-neers before coming home to crush the Duckies in front of our Canadian brothers… Of course, all games are loseable, but the way things are unfolding this year, ALL GAMES ARE EASILY WINNABLE!

A 6-2 record, going into the last half of the season??? In the Ron Rivera Era???

I have something I DIDN'T have last week –

I have –


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17 September, 2013


It’s the onomatopoeia that describes Time.


A concept of a universal property only recently fathomed by human beings. At its most expansive, it’s fully understood only by those who possess the highest degrees in physics, who see the universe in all of its infinite wonder at the sub-atomic level.

To you and I and almost everyone else, it’s used to measure all the things in our lives.

Anniversaries. How long to smoke that brisket. How late you’re going to tell Dano you will be to the tailgate party. How long you’ve owned that Camaro. How long it takes you to…

You get the ideal.  It’s far more finite in the real world. And although some physicists may argue the notion, it DOES truly appear relative, to accelerate OR decelerate depending on the variables that are constant at any particular moment.


Like the moment our TIME-challenged coach decided to neglect the surest way to victory last Sunday, giving our latest opponent ample amounts of time to once again display to the sporting world who cares about such things, and particularly, the Members of Panther Nation, that









The .




The statistics speak for themselves. And as it relates to time,

I truly believe that TIME is up for the coaching tenure of Ron Rivera.  Some of you may argue that he was handicapped by the triplicate of injuries to our defensive backfield. Nonsense. You STILL had the Bills PRECISELY where you needed them!   I remember Dano turning to me when we kicked the final field goal, and saying  -

“We’re going to lose this game – you watch”


And he was right.

My mind goes back to one of my favorite stories in one of my favorite sermons my old pastor preached years ago – Itzak Perlman, one of the monolith violinists in human history, gave a concert in Tel Aviv, and upon starting his concerto, one of his strings popped, to the horror in the audience, but he continued to effortlessly glide his bow across the remaining strings, when – yet ANOTHER string popped! And yet, Mr. Perlman  continued his piece, not missing a note, and concluded to thunderous applause by an emotionally spent audience – When asked  HOW he was able to complete such a complex piece of music with only two strings on his Stradivarius, he replied –

“I used what God left for me”

We have what we have.  A powerful defensive front 7.  A talented group of offensive players and a frustratingly inconsistent GIFTED quarterback that this coaching staff has NOT FIGURED OUT HOW TO USE.  I believe that even an AVERAGE coach would have taken these pieces, with the TIME allotted, to salt away this game.

There other stories about those who took less than they desperately needed to fulfill any particular mission, project, or even to survive, and SUCCEEDED. These are men and women of exquisite bravery and fortitude. They CHALLENGED TIME, and fate -


Ron, Ron, Ron. You’ve had a little more than two years to figure this out.  It’s not rocket science. The TIME to win is NOW. We cannot allow any opponent, much less an inferior one, off the hook!  The TIME to success in this league these days has shortened DRAMATICALLY. Rookie head coaches, rookie quarterbacks are making the playoffs as regularly these days as Vladimir Putin appears shirtless on Facebook…

It doesn’t appear that you’ve got it, Ron, and





The Giants game may be the Alamo for you.


You SLOW TIME with a victory, this Sunday - Make it happen...


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11 September, 2013


Coach Ron Rivera coming to his office at Bank of America Stadium early yesterday morning -

His phone rings - he sees that it's GM Dave Gettleman -

"Good morning Mr. Gettleman - what can I do for you?"

"Good Morning, Ron - Mr Richardson wants to see you AND Coach Shula in his office in one hour -
Can the two of you be there then before the film sessions? I don't think this will take long -"

"Of course I can, Mr, Gettleman! Tell Mr. Richardson we'll be there in exactly ONE HOUR!"

He hangs up the phone, and ponders for a moment, then notifies Son Of Jaw to get his ass in gear and join him.

They get to Uncle Jerry's office five minutes early. He and Shula are understandably a little nervous.

The receptionist ushers them into Jerry's office.

"Gentemen -" the booming new heart-enhanced voice proclaims - "have a seat! This won't take but a second, and y'all can get back to your film work!"

"Did you see that Philadelphia-Warshington game last night? I DID."

"Yessir, Mr. Richardson, we saw it -" Coach Rivera replies.

"I wanna see men in OUR CAROLINA PANTHERS uniforms do what those Philthydelphia Eagles were doing! And I wanna see it before the bye - Do you get that, gentlemen?"

"Now - make it happen. I don't care what you gotta do, who's asses you gotta bust, but I wanna see us move up and down the field like that, and score a messa points like that!"

"My assistant will see you out"

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08 September, 2013


In this game?

Very, very slim.

And we leapt right past it.

Snatching sure, and all-too-familiar defeat, once again, from the welcoming jaws of victory.


In the past, one, lousy, stinking turnover was never enough to jeopardize a contest for us –

Not this time.

Not a team this talented.

But holding them to TWELVE STINKING POINTS??? AND LOSE???



My rant is brief, and to the point.

As a fan who intently, and passionately follows this team, THIS early in the season, I have put the mind, and “legacy” of Shula on notice.

You have got two, TWO games to turn this around.

Or you take the hopes of a city that’s STARVED for something, ANYTHING to cheer for, into the crapper, as well as the head coaching career of a guy who really is a decent man.  And I, as well as many others in this city, will speak your name not with the reverence of those who remember your dad, but with the venomous repudiation we speak of a long line of failed coordinators.

And any hopes you have of advancing your own NFL career beyond He Who Launders Jock Straps.

I pin this loss not on any miscue of the players. This is not on the offensive line. Cam wasn’t sacked ONCE. This is not on the defense. They played a TERRIFIC game. This loss is squarely on the lack of offensive creativity of the coaching staff.

I’m done.

I’d better see better than this in Buffalo.


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01 September, 2013


First off, I would like to apologize to the sites’ many followers and readers for my year-long absence.

As many of you know, I’ve been on a heart-rending journey that started last year with my dad, who Marc proclaimed as the “Commissioner of the Lot” back in 2003, and his brief and unsuccessful battle with colorectal cancer. Add to that several life-changing events, and well, a gush of blog posts on a professional football team become irrelevant and unnecessary. BUT –

As with all things traumatic, they all pass, and that includes seasons of suckage, and the GOOD TIMES return to us all.

So it goes with us, and the silver, black and electric blue wagon we’ve hitched our sports passions too.

I’m back. And the only phrase that I can think of is the one I’ve opened up the season’s first rant with – Let me return back to that gorgeous November morning back in 2003. My dad had recently returned from a lengthy misadventure in the Dominican Republic, and I implored him to attend his first tailgating experience in the old Morehead street lot. Of course, as is his way, he came quite nattily dressed in a fine blazer, dress shirt and sweater vest and wool slacks. Fox 18 did a quick story there and proclaimed Pops as “The Best Dressed Panthers Fan”. In the brief interview he gave the reporter at the site, he said in his heavy Eastern European accent, quote – “This is my first time at the NFL game with my son, and –



It was a phrase that Marc immortalized, set on the website, (if the link still works it can be seen in our archives here - mms://xpstream.winisp.net/dark_dante/Nov9-2003/), and used the sound bite to open his mega-touching blog concerning his own dad, Ron Stanton’s heart surgery. I had so hoped my Dad could have battled through his affliction to make it to the tailgate party to once again exhort us to the start of last year’s season, but alas, it was not to be. And so, my Dad joins Marc and the other beloved members of our circle that have crossed the mortal boundaries of our existence to those eternal vistas that know no bounds, storms, or pain. And we are here to anticipate what is coming for our Panthers in the upcoming season. So, with an offseason of purge and acquire, General Gettleman, in his first go-around at the administrative helm of our Cats, has given clearance to Chef Rivera to FINALLY add the ingredients to our football feast that take us from fast-food burgers to an evening at Ruth Chris – I’m returning to the theme of a rant I made at the start of Ron Rivera’s tenure…


So our offense now has the Frisbee catchin’ dogs that SuperCam needs to fling the biscuit at, although Chef Ron is going to need to go to the “Quick Sale “ isle for an offensive lineman or two. On defense, I’m definitely of the opinion that the defense is rapidly approaching Cordon Bleu status – yeah, yeah, I know that preseason is pretty much fool’s gold, but when thing are working right in the preseason, they tend to work right in the regular season. So while the offense needs some more time in the oven and an ingredient or two, the defense is ready to serve! And serve they will –

 Here are my thoughts as to how the season unfolds –


If we wanted to know where the team stood among the so-called NFL “elite” we could probably not ask for a much better opponent than the trendy pick from the media lemmings, the Seattle Seahawks. This is a team we SHOULD have beaten last year, save for a really stupid play from Cam – It’s largely the same team, except we’ve got some major additions, and exponential improvements in several facets of our game. This is a statement game, the SeaDogs RARELY play well on a East Coast jaunt, and the Panthers win this DECISIVELY.


A team that should be improving is going backwards. With an outright inexperienced rookie starting at QB, this looks to be a defensive struggle that the Panthers ultimately pull out. The road win gives us a promising 2-0 start –


We revisit the colossal failure of last year’s nationally televised embarrassment. Except this year, the stage is a little bit different, and the cast of characters revised a bit – don’t think that retribution’s NOT a motivating factor for everyone on the team that endured it last year – This one’s a WIN, boys and girls – that nasty front seven is going to make Brotha Manning PAY every time he takes a snap, and suddenly, the country is taking notice of the 3-0 CAROLINA PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANTHERS!!!

WEEK 4- vs. BYE

Not a particularly good time for a bye, but it gives the offense another week of hard practice to get any residual kinks worked out, because the schedule doesn’t get any easier from here on out –

Week 5 - @ ARID-ZONA This, on paper, looks like a win, but I’m not so sure. The giddy 3-0 start may have the ‘Cats feeling a bit over confident. The Cardynoles DO have a decent defense that just got better with the addition of LSU’s bad-boy dynamo Tyrann Matheiu – they will be a challenge, but I think the Panthers will come out of the better end of this, but it will be the toughest game we will have yet played in the young season.


The Metrodome has traditionally been a tough place for us to play, and this won’t be an exception, even as it will be our last visit to this venerable structure. But the fact is that the Viking’s offense has become pretty much one-dimensional. Stop Peterson, and the job’s done. Leave that to our front seven, and the Panthers are now a scrumptious 5-0!!!


 The Bank of America stadium crowd will be like one we haven’t seen in some time. The Bandwagoners who had been largely invisible for the past four seasons, and BTW, have been selling their tickets to the opposing fan base, will all of a sudden be in their seats with their brand new Luke Kuechley jerseys to welcome the conquering heroes home. With nary a Lambs jersey to be seen, the Panthers steam roll the hapless ungulates from Missou, and now, the overexposed talking heads on ESPN, FOX and CBS will be paying attention to us, but few will be willing to go out on that limb and actually consider us contenders – not yet… on NBC’s nightly broadcast, the pundits will still be licking Tommy Brady’s jock…however –


 -The NFL Network will be giving us our due, and on the opening game of the week, the country will see what we’ve known all along – The Panthers are damned good this year – The Sucky-neers will be going in reverse this season, and it will be apparent in this game – Holy shit – The Panthers are now 7-0. Some of us are not sure that we are just dreaming and it’s time to wake up – And Jonathan Stewart will be back in the offensive mix… just in time...


On this day, I’m pretty sure the Peachtree populace will be caring FAR more about their HOTlanta Braves and their World Series appearance than their floundering Duckies. There’s a reason our games with these dirty birds were so dominant – The talent gap has closed. And in our case, especially DEFENSIVELY, it’s now overwhelmingly on our side. With our pass rush, and a now- hobbled Steven Jackson (trust me, he doesn’t last the season) the Duckies just can’t put the points on the board against this Panther Defense – The Canadian PantherFanz and the Bloody Caesar Brigade leave happy, and Uncle Jerry and BossMan Dave start thinking about new contracts for not only Cam, but Chef Ron…. And Chris Collinsworth still thinks we aren’t any good…


I still think that The Fourty-Niners are one of the most dominant teams in the conference, and they will bring it against us – HARD – It’s almost impossible to believe, but we last played these guys – and BEAT THEM – in our 2-14 season with the now-departed Jimmy Claussen at QB- payback’s a bitch, y’all. Our first loss, but hey, given what we’ve been through, 8-1 going into the last part of the season’s a beautiful thing. But I’m tellin’ you, if I was on my FOURTH Bloody Mary instead of my THIRD, I might be giving this game to the ‘Cats….


The Panthers make their triumphant return to Monday Night Football against a very worthy and polarizing opponent. The Pastry-Rots will have had a tough season, and this game will just add to their misery. With a whole slew of new receivers that Tommy Terrific will have to get used to, even getting Gronk back won’t help the relentless pass rush we will unleash on the Cheat-a-Checks. We return to the winning side, for the season, and for the first time since that fateful 2008 campaign… From here on out, our games will be flexed, some even featured on the NBC Sunday Night exclusive. And Chris Collinsworth will STILL be praising our opponent, while dissing us and every football quality we apparently lack…


Here’s another game I just don’t feel good about. The Dull-fins will be a much improved team this year, and clearly the only serious opposition to the Pastry-Rots in their pitiful division. We’ve NEVER, EVER beaten this team in our history. And we will have to wait another 4 years. Somehow, the Dolphins find a way to edge us. Even a FIFTH Bloody Mary’s not getting me to think we’re going undefeated…


At this juncture of the season, Chef Ron is NOT pulling a Jim Mora – He’s openly saying the “P” word at 9-2, and this divisional game is going to be for the “P” word – POSITIONING – with a lead on the Saints and Duckies, this will be a game we will have to have. Unlike last years’ habitual snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, this will be a game the defense wins for us, moreso than any game they have played this season.


If there was ever a team that felt they were owed, it’s these guys. I’ll guarantee this is a game that NBC and those Brees-Jock-Sniffing Collinsworths will want on their broadcast. On paper, I’d say the Panthers are the better team, especially defensively, but Sean Payton has already been game planning on his two contests with the Panthers since his return to the head coaching duties. The ‘Cats put up a valiant fight, but Peyton pulls out every trick in his book, contacts every voodoo practitioner in the entire State of Louisiana, and they find a way to win this game. And for another week, Chris Collinsworth, in his mind, is vindicated on his disdain for the Panthers…


The cornucopia of late season home games continues for us, but why, oh WHY did the schedule makers make this a 4.15 kickoff? The train wreck that is the J*E*S*T*S will most assuredly be in full derailment, along with Sexy Rexy’s inevitable dismissal. It’s a happy, HAPPY time in the REAL Queen City (that’s RIGHT, Cincinnati, WE DEY!!!) as the Panthers CLINCH their first playoff spot since that year we are all trying very hard to forget -


All of the Saints’ playoff hopes hinge on this game. Fox makes this the 4.00 National game, and the Panthers will not look as good as they will in this game. Still smarting from the voodoo-enhanced defeat at the Superdome two weeks earlier, Chef Ron snatches the offensive playbook from Coach Mini-Shula and gets Dad to phone in a few creative plays that overcome, embarrass, enmasculate, and evaporate the aspirations of the Comeback Saints. At 12-3, the Carolina Panthers are NFC SOUTH DIVISION CHAMPIONS, and a top seed in the

 p –



PLAYOFFS, BABY!!! Which renders –


-this game meaningless. The Duckies, eliminated weeks ago from playoff contention, intend to play this game for pride, and Chef Ron gets a tip from Chris Collinsworth’s leash holder, Tony Dungee, and signs Jimmy Claussen to a one-week contract so BOTH Cam Newton and Derek Anderson get to sit down for this game that has as much meaning as the fourth preseason game. The Duckies roll in a game that does nothing to salve Douglas Fairbanks’ clone, Arthur Blank in his rage at his under-performing Duckies.

To the postseason we go, and one things for sure – We will not be dealing with The Arid-Zona Cardy-noles, John Fox (not in the divisionals, anyway) OR Joke Del-homey and his seven turnovers.


 AND –


 And I sure hope you all are, too - It’s been a pleasure sharing my Bloody Mary-enhanced clairvoyance with you all. It’s good to be back.

 I’ll share my view of the league with you all shortly –

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