Some people are fans of the Carolina Panthers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Carolina Panthers. This 2015 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: The Carolina Panthers
Your 2014 record: 7-8-1. FIRST PLACE! I believe first place in the NFC South gets you the participation trophies that James Harrison threw away.
Your coach: Ron Rivera, whose house caught on fire this offseason. If I could bet on any coach accidentally lighting his house on fire, it would be this man.
Your owner: This charming fellow…
Here I’ve been making fun of Jerry Richardson for years without realizing that the fucker used to own DENNY’S. It’s true! He also founded Hardee’s, which means that Jerry Richardson got rich off of making people racist AND fat. Anyway, here’s a Fortune magazine profile of Richardson from 1996 that addresses his late efforts to make Denny’s more diverse and less reminiscent of a Jim Crow-era Birmingham luncheonette:
A born-and-bred Southerner like Richardson, Boggs vividly recalls a walk he took with Flagstar’s then CEO. “Jerry turned to me and said, ‘I’m sure you’re right about our being behind on diversity, but I just never thought about it.’ “ To his credit, Richardson replaced a few of the old-timers in his executive suite. He recruited Flagstar’s first female senior executive, Edna Morris, to run the notably neglected human resources department. “But the company was 20 years behind the curve,” Boggs declares, “and Richardson didn’t move nearly fast enough or deep enough.”
When racial problems erupted at a Denny’s on the West Coast, Richardson and his team wrote them off as isolated misunderstandings, inevitable for a chain that serves one million meals a day.
Listen gang, when you’re cranking out tens of thousands of grand slam breakfasts, you’re gonna get some racism in there. It’s unavoidable, like the occasional stray hair in an omelet. HEY! I ORDERED THESE EGGS SUNNY SIDE UP, NOT SCRAMBLED AND THEN ARRANGED TO SPELL OUT THE N-WORD!
Anyway, Jerry Richardson is humorless old man who sucks and I bet he gives the side-eye to anyone walking into the country club whom he doesn’t recognize. PORTERHOUSE, WHO IS THAT BOY I JUST SAW?!
Your quarterback: Cam Newton, always brawling with a smile! Outside of RG3, no QB wastes more energy honing his brand image than Cam Newton. I GOT MY HANDS FULL WITH DONKEY KONG SUH YOU GUYS LOL. The Panthers even hired sad-sack GOP wordjerker Frank Luntz to help the team with Cam’s “messaging adversity.” Nothing helps you elude an oncoming bull-rusher like a skillfully crafted leaked memo.
The Panthers handed Cam $60 million in guaranteed money this offseason. And why not? Since the Panthers have no running game and no healthy wideouts, Cam is essentially being paid to play ALL the team’s skill positions simultaneously. He’ll also be expected to block for himself as well. Jerry Richardson expects you to WORK for your money, young man. And yet, Newton still takes more shots from his own fans than from opposing defenders:
It’s worth noting that Newton passing stats have remained underwhelming for the past few years. He only threw 18 touchdowns last season. He barely throws for over 200 yards a game. His passer rating refuses to climb out of the 80s. Cam has to run for at least 500 yards every season to distract you from the fact that, as a passer, he’s basically a less-efficient Alex Smith. Luckily, the Carolina faithful will always be there to give him the support he so desperately needs!
You guys are harsh, man.
What’s new that sucks: Whoa hey, Jerry Richardson showed human emotion last season! THAT’S A FIRST, KIDDOS.
I know he’s crying about the Greg Hardy incident (Hardy was accused of viciously beating a woman and then was sent into the Goodell Cave for the season before the team let him walk to Dallas), but I think Richardson is really crying because his lapels are so wide. Those are clown lapels, man. You need to have a stern chat with your tailor.
On defense, the team brought in Peanut Tillman at corner and Kurt Coleman at backup safety. Here’s Coleman getting trucked by Trent Richardson.
You didn’t know Trent Richardson ever had a successful run in the NFL until now, did you? I couldn’t believe it myself until I saw the video.
What has always sucked: Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season and rookie wideout Devin Funchess has already missed a preseason game with hamstring issues, so you’re looking at the same one-dimensional, Mike Shula offense that has bogged down Newton and the Panthers for three years now. In Mike Shula’s offense, a forward pass to the tight end counts as a real event. OH WOW OL’ SHU PULLED OUT ALL THE STOPS FOR THIS ONE! Jonathan Stewart is still the running back because this team maxed out its cap room on running backs years ago and hasn’t been able to recover. Every yard gained is a tiny miracle. Mike Shula makes Lloyd Carr’s old Michigan offense look like the Blur attack.
And when your time is up in the Carolina offense, you are pushed out the door with all the subtlety of an Amazon floor boss. Steve Smith got tossed out on his ass. DeAngelo Williams got tossed out on his ass. The Panthers essentially exist to have departing players exact sweet revenge upon them.
This is the kind of bland, stultifying team that the Carolinas deserve. These are bland, stultifying people who are still so lax about pro football fandom that they can’t even high five properly or sneak proper contraband foods past security. Come on, man. You’ve had this team for 20 years now. Get your shit together. Spiritually, these people probably wish they could still cheer for Washington instead. The only time they get fired up is when they’re blaming Cam for everything. The Panthers are stoic and boring and pointless and I wish they would die.
What might not suck: Despite having the GODLY MORAL FORTITUDE to get rid of Hardy, the Panthers still have a good defense that will keep them in games right up until the moment Rivera decides to punt from the opponent’s five-yard-line.
Hear it from Panthers fans!
Jerry Richardson looks like someone tried to sculpt Newt Gingrich out of McDonald’s hamburgers.
I live just outside of Charleston, SC. I was so excited last season to make the playoffs, if that’s what we’re gonna call last season. We decided to get a group of friends together at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch them face the Seahawks in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
I had a table of 4 Panthers fans. If you add up the rest of the Panthers fans at BWW, we were still outnumbered by at least 20 pretend Seahawks fans.
When Cam Newton threw a pick six, I was the only Panthers fan left in BWW and was being made fun of and ridiculed by a bunch of people who had never even been to Seattle.
My pride and humility was ruined at Buffalo Wild Wings... and it was my birthday.
I went to the Panthers-Saints game last year and saw this inside the stadium.
The state of North Carolina is to football what country of China is to tacos. They’ve heard of it, and some savvy members of the community may have tried it and developed a taste for the cuisine, but by-and-large it’s a novelty at best.
Between sweaty sessions of throwing up Jim Beam/Budweiser cocktails in the RV lots of N.A.S.C.A.R. festivals and slobbering support for Duke and UNC...two schools that 99% of the state’s students are massively unqualified to attend...the state has very little time for a sport that their surrounding neighbors have dominated so much that they successfully moved the Mason Dixon line south to put North Carolina squarely in a hinterland of regional existentialism. Too weird to live, too rare to die.
The owner actually died eight years ago and his preserved remains are wheeled out from the storage area below Bank of America stadium on game day. Our quarterback is one of the top earners in the NFL after winning one out of three playoff games. Our head coach seems to forget what sport is being played in the most critical moments and couldn’t inspire a pride of lions to kill an injured impala.
We let the greatest player in franchise history walk because our new GM thought he didn’t have anything left in the tank and didn’t like his attitude. We replaced him with Jerricho Cotchery, presumably because he played for NC State during the Valvano-era. That player joined the Ravens and, the next very season, proceeded to torch us for 7 catches, 139 yards and 2 TDs in a 38-10 beatdown.
Because they A) don’t know the jersey number of the best player on our team and/or B) are unaware that other white guys play on our defense, the fans at BoA stadium scream “LUUUUUUUKE” in unison every time AJ Klein makes a tackle.
Fuck Sir Purr.
I just moved from Charlotte and am kind of a Panthers fan. That’s about as good as you’ll get from us: “I’m kind of a Panthers fan.” Of the NFL’s 32 flavors, we are plain vanilla in a paper cup.
Last summer I’m in one of Charlotte’s nicer restaurants wearing nice slacks and a dress shirt. My wife and I are walking in and hold open the door for a guy on his way out, and he’s wearing Crocs and a Hawaiian shirt. I kid you not, it was Ron Rivera.
If the Panthers suddenly moved to Canada, their fans would need exactly 2 seconds to forget that they ever existed. The Panthers are already a backup option during weekends in Charlotte – they can’t compete with ACC basketball, SEC football, the Braves, NASCAR, Lake Norman and Asheville. The Panthers are the NFL’s equivalent of a kid playing guitar on a street corner. They’re not terrible, but they’re certainly not good and they’re something to watch for a few minutes until it’s time to move on to wherever you were going, which is likely an ACC basketball game. There are high school teams with more dedicated fans AND better offensive lines.
And then there’s Bank of America Stadium and its corrupt, bloated namesake. If you ever write a series called “Why Your Job Sucks”, start with Bank of America. Two types of people work there: Investment bankers, each of them a bigger tool than the last; and corporate banking drones who are just doing time until they can walk to lunch and pay $29 for a burger, chips and a water with lemon. If there’s one thing Charlotte does not lack, it’s lunch spots that will remind you of the “37 pieces of flair” place in Office Space. Bank of America sucks and so do the shitty restaurants that its employees pay money to get fat in.
Being a Panthers fan during free agency is like being Jewish on Christmas.
This year, they said they could afford to spend more. Who did they get? Michael Fucking Oher and a dude named Peanut who’s on his third triceps muscle.
Mike Shula’s favorite way to end a drive is with a punt. Sometimes these get blocked and returned for a touchdown. Twice. In the same game. Our new left tackle was cut from the fucking 2-and-14 Tennessee Titans and is an improvement over the one that we had.
Fuck this fan base.
Mike Shula. Motherfucking, goddamn, son-of-a-bitching, shit-eating, piss britches candy ass, Mike Shula.
Jerry Richardson only cares about selling more number 1 jerseys to overweight rednecks who believe Cam is better than Peyton Manning and Drew Brees combined.
And fuck Marty Hurney in the eye with a ghost pepper for those deals we are STILL suffering from.
Richardson has the cheapness of Jeffrey Loria, the lack of modern football acumen of late era Al Davis, the loathsome personality of Dan Snyder, and the grumpy doucheface of Mitch McConnell.
You know those Personal Seat Licenses that fans are forced to buy to keep their season tickets whenever a new stadium is built? Richardson pioneered that concept to get BOA built. And you may think, well, at least that is better than fleecing the taxpayers...
...except for the fact that Jerry extorted $87.5 million from Charlotte last year to renovate a fucking 18 year old stadium.
In 2013 the city gave the Panthers $87.5 million for improvements to their stadium. This guaranteed they would stay in Charlotte for only 6 years. That’s $14.6 million a SEASON (the 3rd most expensive such deal in the HISTORY OF FOOTBALL). Jerry Richardson got this deal while claiming the team was broke. And what did they get for $87.5 million? Escalators, damn escalators.
I think I told this story last year but I’ll tell it again, I grew up going to Panthers games with my father. We sat in the club level on some corporate tickets, which was cool to 9 year old me. There were two guys that stuck out at BOA. One was a guy that sat behind me who we only referred to as Drunk Fat Dude. DFD would pound beers in the parking log, pound beers in the stadium and then stand up about halftime and yell PANNNNNN.... THERRRRRRRSSSSS at the top of his lungs for the rest of the game. By the time the second half kicked off his face would be purple and his eyes bugged all to shit. Never saw him miss a game until he suddenly stopped coming. I’m sure he had a coronary in the parking lot.
-This offseason, our marquee free-agent signing was Michael Oher. And the worst part is, he’s actually an improvement over the last guy.
-Our 6,739-year-old owner is basically a living corpse with half the charm.
-Before Cam Newton, the best quarterback we ever had was Jake Delhomme.
-Odds are, we’re going to play terribly again this year and still make the playoffs somehow. Since apparently that’s our thing these days.
Our only hope is that Cam is sacked enough times that he dies and becomes a zombie that is incapable of worrying if his sorry ass offensive line can give him enough time to get the damn snap exchange.
Cam is head and shoulders above any other QB in our history and folks here hate on him cuz he wears a towel over his head.
Submissions for the 2015 NFL previews are now closed. Next up: the Baltimore Ravens.