There was an uproar when the schedule for 2011 was released. The Panthers were without a Primetime game, and played a majority of their games in the early slot.
Fast forward a year, and the Panthers have two Primetime games.
In week three, the Panthers take on the New York Giants in the second Thursday night game of the season. Then the Panthers play their first Monday Night Football game in God knows how long.
This season, we can see the Panthers getting more national attention, and for good reason.
Cam Newton lit up the record books and scoreboards all season long in 2011, and the world took notice. For the first time in franchise history, the Panthers are actually exciting to watch. Cam Newton has developed a Tom Brady like following, one that is sure to grow.
Cam Newton’s rookie season took the nation by storm, breaking record after record. The NFL saw the potential and took baby steps to giving the Panthers national attention.
Many people thought that the Panthers deserved more Late Night spots, but is that what we really want? The Panthers are 6-9 in the Prime time spot (only including Sunday Night games beginning in 2006).
That’s not a terrible record, but the Panthers are a young team now, and Primetime may not benefit them. I say, let the young men grow as a team before thrusting them into the spotlight.
Sure, it is awesome to see our team on the big screen, but development is key.
Too often these young players develop a diva mentality when thrust into the national eye. By keeping the Panthers away from that, Cam Newton, Luke Kuechley and Company have the ability to develop under the radar.
This may sound crazy, but really think about it. You give a young team a secluded viewing area in which to develop and grow.
Cam Newton is only going to get better, and Kuechly could be one of the best LB’s in the league in a few years. By keeping them away, they don’t get bigger than their heads and they work as a team to win titles.
Again, it may sound nuts, but they aren’t ready. Teams like Philly, NYG & J, NE, and Denver can have the spotlight. Carolina will sit back and dominate during the day.
To end, Sam Mills summed up what I’m saying with two simple words. “Keep Pounding.” The Panthers can win the NFC South, and will gladly do it away from the public eye.