Winning isn’t easy. Sustained winning is rare. Sustained winning in the NFL is damn near impossible. Tell me the last time the Panthers have had back-to-back winning seasons? They haven’t. Yet.
As Panther fans we are scared to death of being too highly optimistic. To be honest, the ones who've been around for quite some time have a reason to be. We've been let down time and time again. However, it's a new era in the Queen city. Sustained winning in the NFL is the result of numerous amounts of stars aliening. Those "stars" are not only wearing pads and a helmet, but caring clipboards and headsets, wearing suits and a head full of grey hair.
Obviously you need the talent on the field in order to compete and it all starts with the QB. When I look around the league I see aging QBs on opposing teams. Peyton and Brady are almost 40, this could very likely be there last year of playing. Other talented QBs like Brees, Eli, and Roethlisberger are no spring chickens. Young QBs are starting to take over and we have one who (arguably) could be the best of the bunch.
Another "star" you need is Defense, as a whole. Defense wins... you know. Last year was the first time I can remember, college or professional football, where I was more excited to watch a teams Defense than their offense. I capitalized "Defense" because ours has earned that respect. Luke Kuechly, that is all.
Special Teams, though not as significant a "star", still very important and can be the determining factoring in winning or losing. To me, losing Ted Ginn was the biggest mistake Dave Gettleman has made since becoming GM. I would say the same, even if Ginn never caught a pass from Newton. Let's be honest, our offense was downright ugly at some points in the season. The 49er game earlier in the season comes to mind. Ted Ginn is the reason we won that game. It seemed every time Ginn returned a punt he had a chance to break one for the distance. More importantly he seemed to always give us great field position. Rant over. If Graham Gano was more of a household name he would have been a pro-bowler last year. Brad Nortman is turning out to be a very solid Punter. It is very important that someone on the roster or upcoming draft steps up and successfully fills Ted Ginns shoes. Barner?
We all know how good Ron Rivera was last year. With one foot out the door he wins 11 of his last 12? That's sick. He is our coach of the present and future. I feel very confident he is exactly what the Panthers need at the helm and has the ability to take us where we want to go.
David Gettleman is the 2nd biggest star in all of this. In his first year of drafting for the Carolina Panthers he hit a grand-slam, considering he only had 5 picks to work with, looking at you Hurney. G-Man also got the Panthers out of Cap Hell, in one year. Were still in Cap Purgatory, but that's better than the alternative, looking at you Hurney. He also showed a knack for signing quality players for pennies. If he doesn't eat himself into an early grave, he will be our GM for decades.
Now for the biggest star of them all. Mr. Jerry Richardson, simply for the fact he keeps the team in Charlotte. I don't know what I would do if it ever left. Secondly, he seems to be committed to winning. Other franchises may be more about the money and selling their merchandise than results on the football field. Cough, cowboys, cough. Also he knows when to step in and when to step away. Cough, cowboys, cough. The reason behind this fanpost is so that I could tell my CSR brethren and sister..thren?? that its ok to be highly optimistic about our team and that we should be a contender for quite some time. Luke Kuechly, looking at you Hurney.