Carolina Panthers Ranked Eighth, Out of 32 NFL Teams


I found an interesting article today, which happens to coincide with the timing of yesterday’s piece which I submitted, in regard to my thoughts on the outcome of where each of the four NFC South teams might potentially finish at the conclusion of the 2010 season.

The only thing I dislike about such articles is that the season is so short in comparison to other leagues, that even though OTA’s and training camp have yet to begin, we’re already prognosticating on where each team will finish, whether it’s in-division or to the post season.

Probably my biggest pet peeve — a term which I can’t stand as it is, but have no better phrase to use — is when very soon, if it hasn’t started already, the talking heads will be predicting which teams will be vying for the title of Super Bowl champion, while players are still running around in what’s termed by coaches as “dresses” or “skirts.” For the uninformed, that’s lingo for shorts and no pads.

Such is the world we live in.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated and has already submitted a power rankings list of each team in the NFL. Where does he rank the Carolina Panthers? At Eighth overall.

"8. Carolina. Dangerous team. Very deceiving 8-8 record last year. While everyone tiptoed around it because everyone in the Carolinas loves Jake Delhomme, something awful happened to him in the last year-and-a-half, and he just couldn’t play quarterback for this team anymore. Check out what Matt Moore did in his last three starts: three wins, 66-percent accuracy, seven touchdowns, zero picks, and the Panthers outscored three foes 90-26. (Asterisk on the third, New Orleans, because the Saints played the JV that day). This will be Jon Fox‘s last year with the Panthers — the owner, Jerry Richardson, doesn’t want to be in the business of laying off employees and paying a former coach $6 million a year in this economy — and I think he’ll say full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes, forget next year, I’m doing everything I can to win right now. And he’ll win enough to make the Wild Card. -Peter King,"

As they say, “and the beat goes on.”

While I am both flabbergasted and skeptical of King’s ranking of the Panthers, as a fan, I love it. But from the logical standpoint with which I tend to view and analyze things 98% of the time, I feel that eighth overall, is a bit much. Call me what you will, but I’m not too high on King’s high-ranking for the Panthers. A top-10 team?

The Panthers sneaking into the playoffs as a Wild Card is not too far-fetched, as in my earlier article I have them finishing third, maybe second in the division depending on how the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints fare in 2010.

I’m not saying it’s impossible for the Panthers; a team that is caught somewhere between rebuilding and reloading, versus two teams that are basically still holding their own, however I find it rather uncomfortable both as a fan and a writer to be ranked atop teams like the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, and Atlanta Falcons.

To offer a differing perspective, I’ll also submit the point of view provided by Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

"That’s correct. He (Peter King) has the Panthers, who historically are the NFL most’s overrated bunch, eight spots ahead of the Falcons. -Mark bradley, AJC"

Thank you Mr. Bradley; until now, myself among probably close to the entire Carolina Panthers’ fanbase, never knew our team is historically the most overrated bunch! I barely hear talk of the Carolina Panthers, outside of when certain non-football related incidents on and off the field occur. Then, all hell breaks loose. Otherwise, as far as the media is concerned, “we” are the most obscure team. Heck, the Jacksonville Jaguars receive more publicity than the Panthers.

I don’t mind the Cats being ranked higher than the Falcons so much, as all teams within the division fight tooth-and-nail when playing against each other, but the rest sits uneasily with me.

I err on the side of caution, perhaps to a fault most times.

Panthers fans might call my loyalty into question. That’s fine, because most of those who do are the ones sporting those really tacky rose-colored frames and lenses (they do exist!). I prefer to wear the ones that allow me to see past the glitz and glamor of things which sparkle and shine, because in time, the newness tends to fade away.

Personally, I would rank the Panthers closer to middle-of-the-pack at this point of the offseaosn, as there are too many unknowns throughout the team in the player-personnel aspect. Carolina’s backups-turned-starters showed a lot of promise of what could be late last season, but that was for a period of three-to-six games. Hardly an entire 16-game slate.

To quote a certain NFL head coach, “Time’s yours.”

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