Carolina Is Still On My Mind

By Chris Johnson
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If you are anything like me it was hard to watch the Wildcard Weekend games and not think about what it would be like if the Panthers were in there.  I thought about great Panther runs in the playoffs like in 2003 and 2005.  I also thought about the heartache that the playoffs can bring teams, like the Panthers pathetic 2008 performance.  I couldn’t help but look forward to next year and think about what the future could hold for the Panthers.

There were a lot of great games this weekend like the battle of the rookie quarterbacks with TJ Yates and Andy Dalton.  It was nice to see a UNC quarterback win a post season game.  The shootout we all expected in the Detroit and New Orleans game finally happened in the second half after a slow start.  Drew Brees continues to be on fire, twenty one points in the fourth quarter, seriously.  Even the Giants making handy work of the fraudulent Falcons, I think Matt Ryan is still trying to convert a fourth and one.  Here is a little advice for the Falcons if you are going to spend your entire draft to get a wide receiver you should probably score more than two points in a playoff game.  Someone should let Bruce Wilson know that Tom Coughlin will be coaching another week and that most teams don’t fire their head coach when they win the division and advance in the playoffs.  But the game on everybody’s mind has to be the Steelers and Broncos game.  Look if you have read any of my articles you will know that there is no love lost between me and the Steelers and while I don’t exactly chug the Tebow kool-aid this does add to the legacy and mystique of his holiness Touchdown Timmy.

Let me point a few things out about this game for starters, you can make whatever excuse you need to for the Steelers, injured, high altitude, whatever, but the Broncos won the game and you have to give credit where credit is due.  While I am giving out some credit that win moved John Fox to 6-3 in the playoffs.  I would just like to point out that playoff win puts him ahead of some names like Jon Gruden, Jeff Fisher, Marty Schottenheimer, Brian Bilik, and Barry Switzer.  It also ties him with names like Dick Vermiel and Mike Ditka for number of playoff games won.  Staggering I realize but I thought it was interesting when I saw it too.  Some more fun facts from that game Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards, while in the ranks of Aaron Rodgers, Brew Brees, and Tom Brady, that number isn’t exactly huge, it is significant.  With all the hype around Tebow and his relationship the big Guy upstairs I found it a little ironic that the “Mile High Messiah,” threw for exactly 316 yards, as in the bible verse 3:16, the weird rainbow wig guy with the signs 3:16, and of course Stone Cold Steve Austin 3:16.  So whether you believe it was in spite of, despite, or just due to, Tim Tebow has a playoff win.  I would just like to point out to anyone who may or may not work for WFNZ, that happen to be huge Cowboy fans, and like to be referred to as an abbreviation, that makes Tebow tied with Tony Romo for playoff wins, just saying.

So Chris what does all of this have to do with the Panthers?  Oh good I thought you would never ask.  What this has to do with the Panthers for those of you that haven’t looked to see who we play next year is the fact that the Broncos will be making a trip to Charlotte next year.  The hype for this game will be legendary, coach returning to play his former team.  That story line alone is enough to make the talking heads at the worldwide leader perk up but you throw in all the other intangibles and you have the recipe for a big one.  If you have been anywhere near the Charlotte area this year you couldn’t have not heard the comparisons of Cam and Tebow.  It has been argued you by many, and no matter which side you are on (I remain on the Cam-Wagon), it is a compelling conversation.  What better than all of that to bring prime time back to the Carolinas?  The Panthers haven’t had a Monday Night Football game since 2009 and they haven’t had a home Monday Night game since ’08.  That Broncos game is the definitive return of MNF to Charlotte.  The NFL tries (I submit tries) to pick games that will bring ratings, and that will feature a good match up.  I can see the commercial for it in my head right now as I’m writing this.  Announcer guy voice, “Monday nights are made for homecomings, John Fox and the upstart Broncos stampede into Carolina for Fox’s first game against his former team.” Cut to shot of John Fox chewing the crap out of a piece of gum on the sidelines.  “Tim Tebow takes on the 2011 Rookie of the Year Cam Newton (he has already won it in my mind),” cut to shot of Tebow kneeling, cut to shot of Cam Newton superman posing.  “It’s Broncos, Panthers on Monday Night,” cut to shot of Demaryius Thomas making a big catch, cut to shot of Steve Smith riding out, explosion, MNF logo.  “Dunh dun dun.”

So I beg, I plead, I Tebow kneel, please NFL give us this game.  In fact I feel so compelled that I would like to write the commissioner an email letting him know that the people of Carolina want need this game. If you are so inclined to write him too his e-mail address is  I can’t wait to see all of you next year on Monday Night.

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