Why We Hate Your Team is a collection of articles poking fun at every NFL team leading up to the 2014 NFL Season. To see the rest of the league, click here.
The Carolina Panthers, or as they should be called – the Carolina Cams – as in Cam Newtons, are the NFL’s habitual “we are a terrible team but have an electric quarterback.” Last year Carolina had the seventh-worst overall offense, the 18th-best scoring offense, and a pretty decent defense but still managed to win 12 games despite starting 1-3 and strung together eight-straight wins before San Francisco smacked them in the first round of the playoffs. Carolina wins maybe half of those games if Cam Newton isn’t at quarterback. As a matter of fact, Carolina, your team wasn’t that good at all and I’ll prove it to you in the best way I know how … with a little hate.
#1 – Cam Newton
You either love him or hate him. Because I have an obsession with collecting NFL jerseys (I’m up to 21 teams now) and am looking for a reason to get a Carolina jersey. The only player I mildly like is Newton, and every time he gives me a reason to bite the bullet and pick up the jersey he immediately gives me five more reasons not to get the jersey. He will follow up a 300-yard passing, 100-yard rushing and 4-TD day with a pouty face in the presser because Carolina lost by 30. Do you know how bad it makes you look, Cam, when you put up those types of numbers, make between $7M and $22M per year, and look like a toddler after every loss? What’s the matter? Did Auburn pay you better?
I have a football crystal ball and I’ll tell you Cam Newton’s future. He’s going to be electric year in and year out. And the Panthers will never win the Super Bowl and as soon as the Falcons and Bucanneers join the Saints in actually competing in the NFC South, the Panthers won’t even win that division anymore.
#2 – Speaking of not being that good …
Everyone jumped on the Carolina bandwagon last year because they won 12 games. But upon further review, they are the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFC. Of those 12 wins, only three of them came against playoff teams (New England – if you can even call that blasphemous call at the end of the game a Carolina win, San Francisco, and New Orleans). The other nine wins came against teams who finished for a combined 43-101 (.298 win pct.). Impressive. As for the four teams you lost to – Seattle, Buffalo, Arizona, and New Orleans – Seattle was the eventual Super Bowl champions, New Orleans was an 11-win playoff team, Arizona just missed the playoffs at 10-6, and Buffalo was a “how the hell did you lose that game?”
And yet all the commentators kept talking about late in the year was how good Carolina was. Please. They belong in the same boat called the SS Mediocre with the Chiefs. That way when the ship sinks they both can sink into obscurity and get off my TV.
#3 – Riverboat Ron
I can’t believe “Riverboat Ron” became a thing last year. Panthers head coach “Riverboat” Ron Rivera became so huge that fans in Carolina started celebrating the fact that their coach was a compulsive game gambler who almost tanked Carolina’s entire 2013 season with a 1-3 start, because tanking their 2012 season wasn’t good enough. 4th and 1 with a good offensive line, two really reliable running backs, and, oh, a 250-pound quarterback who can run really well, and you throw the ball? HELL YES, RIVERBOAT RON!!! NEVERMIND IT DIDN’T WORK! YOU’RE TRYING!
Ron Rivera is the jackass who sits down at the Blackjack table, doubles down on 18 and hits a three. Then the dealer gets a 10 on a 10, screws the whole table except for … guess who … the jackass who hit on 18. I mean, seriously, how can you gamble that hardcore all year long and it pays off 12 times? Every time the Panthers won I felt more and more anger and it all boiled over with that “win” over New England in Week 11 last year …
#4 – Patriots-Panthers, Week 11 of 2013
There are two games in NFL history that stick out in my mind as total screwjobs: the Seahawks’ win over Green Bay (couldn’t have happened to a better team) two years ago where Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s ball was intercepted and caught for a touchdown … at the same time, and the Patriots-Panthers game last year. I don’t really like either team, but what I hate more than the teams I hate is when my favorite game gets cheated. In case you forgot the scenario – Brady’s Pats were trailing 24-20 with time expiring and they were in the red zone ready to take the lead. Brady gunned a ball into the end zone looking for his tight end Rob Gronkowski, except Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly had his arms wrapped around Gronks so he couldn’t get the pass. Incomplete pass. No flag. Game over.
It’s pretty clear Gronks is being held. Yet the refs backtracked and dug deep into the rulebook citing some bogus “returning to the ball” rule. Carolina’s win streak endured and Tom Brady still got his team to the AFC Championship game with Casper the Friendly Ghost, and Ham from The Sandlot as his star receivers. Karma, Carolina. Karma.
#5 – You’re going to ruin Luke Kuechly just like you ruined Julius Peppers
By “ruin” I really mean “waste.” Peppers is going to go down as one of the best defensive ends of this era and he wasted eight years on a team that never lived up to their potential. Remember Carolina went to (and lost) the Super Bowl in 2003 (Peppers’ second year), lost in the NFC Championship the next year, then went 35-29 over the next four years with one playoff appearance before Peppers left for the Bears and went to the NFC Championship again his first year there. I fear the supremely talented Luke Kuechly will suffer the same future. An uber-talented defender who has Hall of Fame potential wasting away on a team destined to be 7-9, 8-8, or 10-6 every year and will struggle to make the playoffs the rest of his career.