Jerry Richardson has a new reputation. He is suddenly viewed as the polar opposite of Daniel Snyder…
And this is considered a bad thing!
Has Richardson really become a cheapskate? It doesn’t matter if the discussion is about a new coach, the number one draft pick, the CBA, or player contracts. Every opinion you find is based on the idea that Richardson’s newly transplanted heart came from Uncle Scrooge. It’s widely accepted that the new head coach will be determined by price. It’s even been suggested Richardson didn’t actually want Andrew Luck because the price would be too high. In view of these ideas, it’s also assumed the Carolina Panthers will not be a formidable team any time in the near future. Is everyone right?
N.F.L. Richardson has such respect for these three letters that he has the NFL shield displayed more prominently on his field than the Panthers’ logo. Millions of fans love these letters. But, depending on three points, (1) the state of the league, (2) the state of their favorite team, or (3) the mood they happen to be in at the moment, the same fans tend to occasionally change what these three letters stand for.
For example, in 2005, many loved watching Steve Smith celebrate touchdowns by paddling a boat, changing a diaper, or sliding down the goal post. When the NFL changed rules ending this type of celebration, some proclaimed that NFL stands for the “No Fun League.”
But, several years before this, the Houston Oilers head coach had another suggestion. In a famous disagreement with an official, Jerry Glanville said “This is the NFL, which stands for ‘Not For Long’ when you make them [No Foul Language] calls.”
Think of how well “Not For Long” describes the memory of many fans and reporters. Considering the three above points, it’s no wonder Panther fans are frustrated. (1) The state of the league is eerily unknown with a possible player lock out. (2) The team situation is likewise unknown as they’re on the lookout for a new coach, and recent developments have taken Andrew Luck out of the draft picture. (3) This ‘lock out, lookout, Luck out’ combination has fans in quite the bad mood. All of this has added to the ‘What have you done for me lately’ attitude typical in the world of football. It has become easy to view Richardson’s recent cost-cutting moves as the new personality of the team.
Please read the following paragraph carefully:
Jerry Richardson has decided to rebuild his team with younger, inexperienced players. After a miserable season that ended with the Panthers having the worst record in the NFL, Richardson felt that he had no choice but to fire the coach. He did, however, end a very rare press conference appearance on a positive note: “I own the team. I have a responsibility to give the people here the best chance to win… We must go forward.”
Did you read that carefully? Do you know what you just read? If you have a “Not For Long” memory, you very likely feel that this was the news from a couple of days ago. You might want to read the paragraph one more time and consider that this was the news from January 7, 2002. The Carolina Panthers had gone the safe, popular route by hiring George Seifert, the coach with the best winning percentage in league history and who had two Super Bowl wins. This decision turned out to be a disaster as Seifert lead the team to a record setting 15 straight losses in the 2001 season. “The energy has been sucked out of our organization and our fan base,” Richardson said. But two years later, the Carolina Panthers were in the Super Bowl.
Today, the Panthers are in the very same situation that they were back in January, 2002. Once again, they’re looking at other team’s defensive coordinators as the possible new head coach. Will we see a repeat of history and end up in the Super Bowl in the next couple of years? Who knows? What we do know is that Jerry Richardson’s “new” tendency is, in fact, not new. He is using the exact same strategy that he used nine years ago, because that is the strategy that has produced the best results for his team.
Be a little bit smarter than all of those with “Not For Long” memories. This organization has an established history of being fair and willing to pay in their efforts to get winners on the field. As you make your predictions about who the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers will be, or who will be drafted with the number one overall pick, remember that the Carolina Panthers are owned by a man that is determined to win. Granted, he will not make all of the right decisions all the time. But, I imagine if you said to him “The Panthers are in a bad spot,” his response would be, “Not For Long!”