Some people are fans of the Carolina Panthers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Carolina Panthers. This 2012 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read the other Why Your Team Sucks 2012 previews here.
1. Congratulations to Ryan Kalil for jinxing the shit out of his own team. There are few more tiresome storylines in sports than "X athlete guarantees a victory," because every athlete thinks they're going to win every game, and that's the way athletes SHOULD think. It's not controversial to declare your certainty of success. It means you're just as blindly arrogant as the douche in the other locker room. HOWEVAH, there's a marked difference between expressing that kind of thing off the cuff and taking out a full page ad telling people seven months in advance that you're gonna win a championship. Real easy for you to say, Ryan Kalil. Cam Newton is the one doing all the fucking work. He's the quarterback, the running back, the blocking back, AND Peter King says he leads the league in entertainer/iconoship 101. Now everyone's gonna look to him to back up your stupid fucking ad. NO ONE EVEN READS NEWSPAPERS ANYMORE. Let's take a closer look at this ad:
For eighteen years we've wanted, hoped, and tried...
Oh, please. Cleveland and Detroit fans spit on your supposed "long wait." At least you got to go to a damn Super Bowl.
A moment is upon us, were dreams become beliefs and yearning becomes conviction
You stole that from a Rhonda Byrne book.
You'll see July 1st, 1993, when 40,000 of you bought club seats, licenses, and luxury boxes, financing the construction of our stadium in a single day.
Oh, and could you possibly do that again? Because Jerry Richardson is already tired of this stadium and wants his own Jerryworld because he's an asshole.
Now, look closer.
ZOMG I SEE MENA SUVARI NUDE IN A ROSE PETAL BATH.
At the daunting, unpaved path ahead, lined with detours, naysayers, and walls which seem insurmountable. But not for you. You'll ignore what you hear and break through ANYTHING that stands in your way.
No I won't. The fuck are you putting this on MY shoulders for? Christ, does Ryan Kalil plan on doing ANY of this himself? He's farming out labor to Cam Newton AND to newspaper readers. SOUNDS LIKE A FREELOADER TO ME. Anyway, thanks to Kalil, the Panthers are doomed now. Especially since...
2. Fuck your dark horse status. I've been around long enough to know that consensus preseason dark horse teams ALWAYS end up eating shit. Take it from the idiot who thought he'd be all clever and pick the Bucs to win the NFC last season (and the Jets to beat them in the Super Bowl). All it takes is one bad bout of tendinitis in Cam Newton's knee for this to suddenly become a 2-14 team. There's nothing behind him except for Horse Balls Anderson and Jimmy Clausen's speedo. Given how high you're gonna take Newton in your fantasy draft next week, it's practically a given that some enterprising young defensive end will decide to go rolling sideways into one of his hinge joints. And then where will you be, Ryan Kalil? FUCKED, that's where you'll be.
3. Ron Rivera: possibly stupid. Remember, it was Rivera who called timeout with two seconds left at the end of the first half against the Saints last October, giving the Saints (who had no timeouts left) a chance to kick a field goal that would end up providing the decisive margin. I assume that's what Kalil was referring to when he said "detours." OOPS MEXICAN MIKE TICE JUST TOOK THE WIND IN OVERTIME.
4. Welcome to the three-headed RBBC of death. There's Jonathan Stewart. There's DeAngelo Williams. And now there's Mike Tolbert. And ALL of them will have their touchdowns vultured by Newton down at the goal line. I'm gonna end up drafting Stewart in Round 6 and then spend the next three months praying that DeAngelo, Newton, and Tolbert all suffer horrific injuries. That's what makes fantasy football fun!
4a. Never forget: Steve Smith punches babies.
5. Hear it from Panthers fans!
Everyone has high hopes for the Panthers this year, which is exactly why I expect them to again disappoint the shit out of everyone. Can Cam repeat last year? No chance. Not at all. We also spent the entire off-season padding positions that we don't need. The Charlotte Observer just announced that Kuechly will be slated as the fourth LB this year behind Thomas Davis, whose knee is made of balsa wood. By doing this, they are letting Beason play his natural position of MLB for now. When (not if) Thomas Davis's thrice shredded ACL disintegrates, they will be shifting the LB corps around to positions they have never played. Mike Tolbert is playing for us? At fullback? And we still have J stew and Williams? We don't need another T/DT/CB/S? Great. Also, Jerry Richardson is racist.
The rebranding of our logo was the biggest waste of time and money I have seen since this team's inception. We ended up with essentially the EXACT same logo, with the same glaring teal color that screams "This was drawn up in the 90's." It voided every single piece of Panthers clothing I had by replacing the existing logo with a drunk/squinting/winking-with-other-eye-brow-raised cat wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask. Thanks assholes.
Cortland Finnegan and Mario Williams were there to be had for a team that was a good defense away from playing in the postseason but fuck it we need a 3RD FUCKING RUNNING BACK. For reasons unknown to anyone besides Jerry Richardson Mike Tolbert is now a Panther. If I didn't know any better Jerry Richardson is forcing Cam Newton into leaving for New England just because he wants to write him a hate letter in comic sans.
Never before in history has a team gone into a draft or the offseason with their needs clearly defined and just completely and unabashedly ignored them. Now we must sit and pray for an entire season while no-name running backs curb stomp our defensive line. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, a gathering of goofball wide receivers will participate in the annual ritual of trying to save Steve Smith from getting gangbanged prison style by defensive back triple teams. As a frame of reference, Legedu Naanee was the lucky winner last year, and this year will most certainly involve overdrafted Armanti Edwards running routes drawn by a 3 year old with an Etch a Sketch.
All of this follows an offseason filled with reports of Panthers' staff being excited for undrafted free agents, as if finding the next Victor Cruz involves throwing a dart at a US map and scouting the nearest community college. Thankfully we picked up fat boy running back Mike Tolbert, because we certainly didn't have enough skill at the position. Finally, throw in the guaranteed slew of season ending injuries that will happen either during or before the first game, like Jon Beason, David Gettis, or perhaps Ron Edwards who tore his triceps while tying his shoes at the first practice last year, and this is why the Panthers suck.
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