Let me preface this post by stating my intent for pure, unadulterated hype. With that said, I would like to cordially introduce you to THE VAULT.
'Identity' has been a bit of a buzzword bandied about the Carolina Panther's for much of the Cam Newton Era. The outside has looked in to ask, 'who are they?' and the inside, out--'who are we?' The latter exemplified by the ever entertaining (and terrifying) Greg Hardy embracing his personal 'Kraken' whilst aiming to identify his counterparts as a larger whole. Monsters--or MonStrz--Inc. was great and embodied the ferocity of our front four. However, it failed to truly account for the fierceness of our entire defense. Hardy himself acknowledged this with a call to nomenclature a few weeks ago. With the Panthers' defense playing so well, what would we call them? How good they get?
Well, according to a 140-character, full-proof scientific study published in the Journal of Twitter today, the Carolina Panthers go into tonight's game with the NUMBER ONE defense in the NFL. Sure, this might largely be in part because of accounting for stats in games already concluded this week whilst leaving out that of our yet to be played contest, but we will leave accounting for tomorrow. WE ARE NUMBER ONE. Given that undeniable absolute and the stage we play upon tonight, it is time to officially name our brand of domination: THE VAULT.
Where will we be watching the Panthers take center stage tonight? Bank of America Stadium. Our house. A workplace the players affectionately refer to as, The Bank. And what is the most secure part of a bank? That's right--THE VAULT. We throw around the term 'lockdown corner' a lot in today's passing NFL, but how about a 'lockdown defense.' And for latter, I'd like to submit none other than our hometown heroes.
Lockdown Defense (n.): A force which hinders all others. See: Carolina Panthers; THE VAULT
Gruden recently spoke about our secondary by referring to them as the 'Legion of Whom'. (See what he did there?) Melvin White took his response to twitter this morning to let fans know that, "We know who we are." Well, Melvin, we do to. You are part of the unmitigated force that is shutting down every facet of opposing offenses. You are a black hole for errant passes and poor ball holding. You are the impenetrable expanse of human metal between the one yard line and the end zone. You are THE VAULT.
And what Vault would be complete without their Head of Security--Luke Kuechly. Much is being made about the matchup nightmare that is Rob Gronkowski. I've seen that the Panthers will likely handle the younger weapons at Tom Brady's disposal, but what of Gronk? One, very long, word: Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke. We usually liken Kuech to Clark Kent--citing the defensive counterpart to our offenses SuperCam--but someone made a more apt comparison to Bruce Banner. See, I do think Gronkowski will be a headache for us, but not a migraine. I think he's going to get the best our reigning DROY on a play or two, but then... then something truly terrifying will happen. Something I witnessed in person, at another bank-themed sporting arena in Baltimore, when Carolina's MLB was unrightfully called for unnecessary roughness...
...truly UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS ensued. Our former defensive general, Jon Beason, highlighted the transformation best:
"He doesn't get mad often. But when he does, good things seem to happen."
I hope Ol' Hoodie himself dials up a couple early routes for Gronk (doesn't that just sound like a lame villain The Hulk pulverized in his TV days?) to get Luke nice and angry. Because, only Carolina will like him when he's angry. I hope the final seconds of the game tick away as a tightly spiraled Tom Brady pass finds it ways into 59's hands and a hulking Luke Kuechly looks to the crowd and roars, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?"
And this, also:
That's what happens when you try to steal a win from THE VAULT, Tommy.
So Panther Nation, there you have it. I'd like to formally submit THE VAULT for your approval. It is an apt and earned likeness. One that mirrors the confidence and physicality our defense shows week in and week out.
Let's #BlackOut and get #THEVAULT trending to show our Defense that we don't care what team, what quarterback, what coach--WE KNOW they've got the game LOCKED DOWN.