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Yesterday the group calling themselves "Perturbed Panther PSL owners federation" took out a full page ad in the Charlotte Observer to lambaste Jerry Richardson and how he's run the Carolina Panthers. The exception I took with the letter was not so much the content itself, because a lot of fans have been fed up -- but rather the timing. Why now? here was this passion two years ago when outrage made sense?
Following an article in which Tom Sorensen questioned their vigor through anonymity, the group are now calling themselves "TRUE PANTHERS FANS EVERYWHERE!" (their emphasis, not mine). Writing a follow-up letter to the Observer they chose not to use their name again, instead electing to try and explain the true meaning of their message. You can read the second letter in its entirety here, but I'll give you the highlights -- as well as my rebuttal.
We fans are happy to pay for entertainment and know there will be up and down years in any professional sports franchises history but the Panthers' results are borderline embarassing [sic] and we think we fans and the Carolinas deserve a better effort instead of that old bromide about repeating the same thing year-after-year and expecting better results.
This seems to contradict itself. Either you really understand that there will be up-and-down years, or you don't. It seems the latter is true. At this point the inconsistency of the John Fox era has been talked about ad naseum, but over Fox's tenure the Panthers were one of the league's more successful franchises. It's extremely difficult to win in the National Football League, let alone hold a .500 overall record for almost a decade. The switch was made to get the Panthers over that hump, and mutually move on.
Ron Rivera inherited a 2-14 team, and a reasonable expectation with a first year quarterback, new system, and lockout season is a three or four win team... that's realistic. Making it to six wins, with a few disappointments that could have had them at 8-8 is overachieving. In year two under Rivera the Panthers could easily finish out with the same record, or be 7-9. Again, we've talked about it here at length -- but given the injuries, the close losses, and missteps this season may have been disappointing, but it's due to a few small errors, not an organizational problem. The one exception was Marty Hurney's drafting, and accountability, which has been handled.
if the Panthers performance on the field were generating out-of-pocket losses each year, would Mr. Richardson's sense of urgency and efforts to turn things around be as understated?
Please. Firing a general manager mid-season shows urgency, spending money to bring in Ernie Accorsi to lead the search is a significant effort. Sending a contingency of front office members to Atlanta to convince Charles Johnson to remain in Carolina is urgency. Getting contracts done early for Ryan Kalil and Jon Beason shows urgency.
Just because you don't understand the operation, or what's going on doesn't mean there haven't been significant efforts on this front. Even if the final result hasn't turned out as planned, that doesn't mean it's some grand scheme to horde money. Ask Greg and Kara Olsen whether they think Jerry Richardson only cares about money.
Who are we? We are the heart and soul of the Panthers; their most loyal (and demoralized) fans.
I'll let you guys handle that one.
We get criticized for speaking our mind and remaining anonymous. Everyone knows who Mr. Richardson is but,with rare exception, he chooses to stay silent. Which do you think is worse.
Being anonymous is worse.
You guys in the media take the torch from here. Pressure Mr. Richardson to lay-out a specific and plausible turn-around plan. We have done our part and hope you will help get this ownership to deliver on theirs.
I find this notion of 'we have done our part' intriguing. It seems a lot like an eight-year-old screaming why they should eat cookies for dinner, then saying "I've done my part -- ball's in your court mom!"
Perturbed PSL owners, true fans -- whatever you want to call yourselves. You didn't do a thing. Your solution was to stop offering 'on-the-job training' for management and coaches. So basically your solution is to hire an entire established front office, and coaching staff... which doesn't exist.
I understand your passion for this team, but it's misplaced. You're two years too late, and about $4500 too excessive. The Panthers have already taken the steps to re-vamp their front office, and shown though their actions that this will be a very different GM search. Like the late guy at the party who drinks three forties to 'catch up' you've arrived too late, and been too overbearing. Just let it ride.
Respectfully, TRUE PANTHER FANS EVERYWHERE!
No, not everywhere. I don't think many around these parts want to be affiliated with your manifesto.