NFL.com's Greg Rosenthal is not shy about his current 'fascination' with Panther football:
Panthers Are the Best at This: Pure Football Entertainment
I'm ready for anything with the Carolina Panthers. They could make the Super Bowl or finish 7-9. Riverboat Ron Rivera could be calling for fourth-down conversions with the best defense in football or he could shrink in the big moments, like he has so many times before. The Panthers, like Cam Newton, can be a moody team. They can be a bully and can play like they are afraid of success. When they are right, they can steamroll opponents with Newton's big arm and a power running game. But we haven't seen them come through in a big spot yet. We'll get our chances in the second half; they face the 49ers, Patriots and the Saints twice. All of those games are must watch. Which reminds me ...
The Panthers entertainment factor hit rock bottom in 2010 but started its recovery immediately upon the drafting of Cam Newton. We already had the dynamic Steve Smith and Double Trouble. Last season the Panthers addressed the other side of the ball by drafting Luke Kuechly and then again this year with DT Star Lotulelei. They have been huge compliments to the Johnson & Hardy DE duo. The Panthers now have play makers on both sides of the ball.
Yet what I think has been the magic ingredient to fascinating football in Carolina this season has been the sudden emergence of Riverboat Rivera. The formerly conservative, play it by the book coach now if more likely to go for it on 4th down and short than not too. He has been rewarded for the sudden penchant for gutsy calls with not only a winning streak but a team brimming with confidence. As a by-product it has spiced up a bland Mike Shula offense.
Of course it doesn't hurt that at any point Smitty might get into a scuffle or Greg Hardy might crunch a QB. Cam could take off with the ball or D-Will take it to the house. Eventually Ted Ginn is going to return a kick. There is just so many factors creating excitement for the 2013 Panthers that they are fun to watch even to the casual NFL fan. It's like they are a team of icons and entertainers.
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