Sep 8, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy reacts to the crowd during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Bank of America Stadium. Seattle wins 12-7. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Kraken Enigma


Here’s some food for thought Panther Nation. Greg Hardy is going to become one of the leagues biggest superstars. Hardy has already become a figurehead within the city of Charlotte, where “Release The Kraken” has become a common phrase as well as a call to arms on the jumbo-trons at Bank of America stadium, but Greg Hardy has the ability to become a defensive figurehead for the entire league, just based on his adopted Kraken persona. Not to mention he has the numbers to back it up.

When most people think about league wide dominant defenders of the past decades, who are also polarizing figures in the media and draw respect from normal everyday Americans, few come to mind. Ray Lewis, Michael Strahan, and Brian Urlacher are first few that pop to my head, along with a few others, but thats about it. Greg Hardy be could be the next Michael Strahan. However, Hardy is a completely different beast from Strahan (I draw comparison from Strahan because he also was a dominant defensive end.)

Nov 24, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) catches a pass in front of Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) during the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When you talk about Greg Hardy, you have to talk about his level of play first. He just broke a single game record for sacks, with four against the Falcons, and helped break a single game record with the rest of the Panthers 2nd ranked defense. He also tied the single season record for sacks with fifteen. So Hardy is obviously a great defender, no questions asked, but it’s his persona that completely coincides with his dominant level of play that is the basis of the Kraken enigma. So with those stats in mind, now we delve into the true foundation of the Kraken enigma, his off-field presence.

I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Greg Hardy is one of the most self-aware and intelligent players in football today. Intelligent because he has one of the best football minds on the Carolina Panthers, the reason he has been so successful, and self aware because Hardy knows exactly what he’s doing. No one can tell me that Hardy doesn’t know he is creating one the best alter egos that the NFL has ever seen. The entire idea of the Kraken itself is ingenious, and the fact that he hails from Hogwarts just makes everything a bit sweeter. His self awareness is incredible, Greg Hardy is creating a brand that will last much longer than most anticipate.

The great thing about Greg Hardy is that he is doing this all for the betterment of Panther nation. His rallying cry to Panther fans,asking them to invade the Georgia Dome was one of the most publicized of all the NFL’s past call to arms and it had to have been orchestrated by the Kraken himself. Not only that, but Hardy has also been the face of some of the Panthers outreach programs, recently collecting coats at Northlake Mall for children in need, an event which was publicized all over Twitter via his personal account as well as the Panthers official account.

The Kraken is also incredibly funny. If you don’t agree, I implore you to watch this video of him describing his breakfast to an interviewer at the BleacherReport.com. “Cereal. Killed it. No spoon.” That quote has to go down in Panthers history. Along with that, we also have the Sunday Night Football controversy where we learned Hardy’s actual alma mater was indeed Hogwarts and not Ole Miss.

Jun 12, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy walks to the practice field before the start of practice held at the Panthers practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The most intriguing thing about the Kraken is that he doesn’t abuse his alter-ego. When I say this, I mean Greg Hardy has kept himself in check. He isn’t a wild nut-case who runs around being an idiot, swinging guns and hurling gang signs everywhere. Hardy is calculated, smart, and understands that with his increased status in the NFL he has to be careful about what he says and does. He isn’t vulgar. He isn’t rude or crass. He has a remarkable amount of self control for a young player, and this leads me to believe that he is incredibly intelligent and knows one slip up could tarnish the soon to be incredible reputation that he is creating. As I said before, his incredible amount of self awareness and self control is astounding.

Along with that, Hardy has a very respectable way about him. The week the Panthers played the Bucs at home, Hardy was late to a Saturday team meeting. Instead of protesting, Hardy accepted a fine, missed a start as well as a decreased amount of reps during the game, and then personally apologized to Head Coach Ron Rivera twice, the day of the incident and after the game on Sunday. Besides that, there have been no other mistakes Hardy has made in his time with the Panthers, and that mistake was incredibly minor and quickly remedied in my opinion.

Greg Hardy knows exactly what he’s doing. When it comes to creating a brand, the Kraken has definitely broken the mold. In my opinion, the Carolina Panthers have never had a player, on defense, as polarizing as the Kraken. During the times I’ve spent at Bank of America Stadium, I have seen huge amounts of 76 jerseys with “Kraken” on the back. The NFL doesn’t just make those, and if they are legit Nike jerseys the people buying them must have had them custom made from the NFL store, meaning they paid around $50 more. The Kraken has amassed a huge following, and it can only grow from here.

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Tags: Carolina Panthers Greg Hardy

  • ahrcshaw

    Hardy is good, he is also a team member and he seems to be stepping out of bounds at present. Player stats come about by the players actions as well as the play of the players beside him, take away the other players and the Kraken’s number diminish. There is no question he needs a pay raise, but I think he is going over board as well, he needs to concentrate on the next 3 games and his fellow players. Go Panthers and keep pounding.

    • Tony Cardwell

      I agree with the fact that Hardy’s numbers would fall if the Panthers lacked Star, Johnson, and Short, but I disagree that Hardy is going over board. He’s stated that he would go for a hometown discount and I expect him to hold to that in some capacity. And if anyone could get Hardy to sign a discounted deal, it’s Gettleman.

      • ahrcshaw

        I would like to think you are right, and the Karken should get a good deal, but when he makes a statement like 110 million and a 10 million dollar discount especially at this time in the season, it looks like Peppers all over again. My major point is, his antics at this point could make a lot of difference in the attitude of those playing with him. It is one thing to earn the praise, it is totally another to claim it as your own. What has made this team a winner is the fact that each player has by the most part praised the team. Discussing his or anyone else’s pay check is never a good thing.

  • refuse2lose

    Panther fans should enjoy what little time Hardy has left in Charlotte, no way he is wearing the black n blue next season.

    • Tony Cardwell

      I think the Panthers will end signing Hardy at the end of the season. He’s already said he will go for a hometown discount, and his recent talk of wanting more money is just talk. Ultimately I think Hardy will stay in Charlotte.

      • refuse2lose

        That’s what I’m hoping for, looks like he is ok with being franchised. Gettleman will have to work his magic seeing as Cam is looking for an extension…

        • Tony Cardwell

          Gettleman definitely has some fiscal problems ahead, I see a few players possibly getting cut, like LaFell or Drayton Florence to shore up money. If there are two players the Panthers try to keep at this point, it’s Hardy and Cam, no questions asked. I think Gettleman will do his best to keep them in Charlotte. And Cam will more than likely take a discount as well. I remember reading somewhere that he couldn’t see himself playing at any other team during his career.

          • ahrcshaw

            No question Mr G has his work cut out for him as well as Rivera and company. I think and hope Mr G has looked down the road a couple of years from now as he will have to look at the whole team and work toward that end. Buuuuut that is what he gets paid for. Go Panthers and keep pounding.

          • Tony Cardwell

            I think Gettleman is ten times better than Hurney when it comes to getting good deals, and the Charlotte Observer interview where the Kraken stated he’d take a $10 mil. discount out of $110 mil. is ludicrous. It’ll take a big contract to keep him in Charlotte, but not that big. And like I said, he’ll take a larger discount. I expect him to hold his word. As for focusing on the team I agree with you there. Save the contract talk for after the postseason.

            Lastly, the Kraken is a team player. Look at his interviews after games. All he does is praise the defense; secondary, linebackers, and his unit up front. He is also one of Star’s biggest fans. He’s a good guy, the Kraken is the furthest thing from mean.

          • ahrcshaw

            I guess it just hit me wrong, he is a big talker, plus I know how something like this can mess up a teams thinking. Go Panthers and keep pounding.

          • Tony Cardwell

            It definitely can mess up a team, and that’s why I’m so happy that team is supposedly focusing on themselves and not the opponent this week. That’s very reassuring to me. But you’re right about it messing up a team and I hope the Kraken continues to stay within bounds like he has. Thanks for the comments and reading the article! I appreciate it ahrcshaw!!

          • ahrcshaw

            I enjoyed it as well, I will look forward to commenting again for the next 4 or more weeks. Go Panthers and keep pounding.

    • ahrcshaw

      I hate to say it, but I think you are right. Unfortunately money rules the roost and like Peppers he will follow it. It would be nice to keep him as he is a good player, but at the same time there is another good player right behind him. We will all know when the fat lady sings, and Mr G has his hands full this year to try to keep the nucleolus of this team together. I for one just think this sort of thing should be curtailed until after the season, as it certainly is not what the team needs to hear right now. Go Panthers and keep pounding.

  • Catman

    Great article, Tony. He is indeed creating a “brand” for himself very much like “King James” has. It’s all marketing, and I agree he has gone about doing it brilliantly. He’s no dummy for sure.

    • Tony Cardwell

      Thanks Ken! (I think that’s you right?)

      • Catman

        ya :)