Your beloved Carolina Panthers have a storied history of ups and downs. This gives us pause to look back at the last decade, and remember those days the best way possible -- through bad movies. As a fan of the team your off-season homework is to look at these season's box scores, watch these movies, and remember.
Today we're looking at the first five years of the decade, which included John Fox's best seasons.
John Fox's second season was supposed to continue his development of the team as a hard-nosed, run first, defensive football team. Nobody expected them to shock the world and make a Super Bowl run -- and yet they did.
Chris "Izzy" Cole didn't have any expectations either. He was a simple New Jersey kid who loved to sing. His life was turned upside down at a Steel Dragon show, when the band noticed that he was hitting the high notes better than their singer. Though fortuitous circumstances he was thrust into the limelight, asked to be the front man - and put the band on his shoulders!
Until he flamed out due to drugs, crashed, burned, and was replaced.
Remember Rodney Peete? He couldn't hit those high notes also, but a simple Louisiana boy waltzed into our lives and turned everything around.
"After the nuclear holocost, the survivors will crawl out of the rubble, in the dark, light a fire and then one man, The Singer of Songs will sing and that's the essence of Rock n Roll."
Entering the 2004 year, everything was supposed to come up roses. The Panthers kept the band together, they had the Sports Illustrated cover, and were the sexy pre-season pick for Super Bowl glory. This was Carolina's time! National recognition, high expectations, and a talent-laden team.
Another raucous adventure in the wild west! What a great fish-out-of-water tale. The set up for a sequel to City Slickers should have been great. The whole cast was back, Billy Crystal was a star, and fans were ready for laughs. It was an unmitigated disaster -- leaving viewers with a bad taste in their mouth, and everyone wondering whether the original was really that good.
Remember when Daniel Stern was a thing?
Led by John Fox (Curly), the Panthers searched for gold -- ultimately leading to a mouth full of snake venom, sucked from a derriere.
"If you guys wanna go home, go ahead. But that gold, that's the only dream I've got left."
At this point everyone believed the Panthers got way too much credit for their unlikely Super Bowl run. Expectations were once again low, and with numerous member of the team bolting for Chicago -- an offense without Muhsin Muhammad should have been a disaster.
Vin Diesel was a hot commodity, and instead of making a follow-up to his 2001 hit, elected to go and film xXx (what a stinker). Instead he was replaced with Tyrese (Keary Colbert), who has a knack for showing up in bad sequels. Almost assured of being awful, with Paul Walker as the star -- 2 Fast 2 Furious was awful; but it was the best kind of awful. Stupidly over the top, an almost intelligible plot -- there are literally characters named 'Orange Julius' and 'Slap Jack'.
Carolina shouldn't have gone to the NFC Championship, they shouldn't have been able to make a deep playoff run -- and yet they did. A hodge-podge offense, with a still stout defense was enough.
"CRAZY-ASS WHITE BOY!"
Alright Carolina... you get one more shot. You've let us down in the past when we've had expectations, but maybe this time you've worked it all out, and are ready to put it all together. Once again there were playoff hopes, Super Bowl whispers, and the Panthers made some great moves in free agency. The time was now (again)!
So too John Carpenter was getting one more chance. An amazing history with some of the most iconic horror movies of all time, fans may have rolled their eyes when he cast Ice Cube, and sure the idea of Marilyn Manson inspired zombies on Mars might have been a red flag, but darn it -- we wanted it to be good. Ghosts of Mars is a hot mess -- but such an great mess it is.
The Panthers 2006 season was a hot mess also. Injuries all over the place, lacking any true vision -- the 8-8 season taught people never to believe in Carolina again; until 2012.
"Let's put it this way... maybe I'll sleep with you if you're the last man on earth. But we're not on earth."
Oh 2007. What an absolutely terrible experience for all concerned. The season started so strong, and then Jake Delhomme destroyed his elbow, and was replaced with David Carr -- who was then replaced with Vinny Testaverde. Ugh, remembering this one hurts. How the heck did this team win seven games?
A young, whiny, stupid action move fan is asked to help save the world. It sounds a lot like David Carr, except the kid didn't wear gloves. By the time 1993 rolled around, everyone knew an Arnie movie was probably going to be bad -- but you didn't really care, you still went to see it. There was no structure behind the film, much like the Panthers' organization. At this point it was just trying to throw things at the wall, and see if it stuck -- just like this movie.
"Leo "the Fart" is gonna pass gas one more time."