Could history be about to repeat itself for the Carolina Panthers if they get a severe beatdown by the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11?
Picture the scene.
Week 5 of the 2022 season. A sea of red in the stands at Bank of America Stadium as the San Francisco 49ers enhance their playoff credentials by hammering the Carolina Panthers. Not that most in the venue cared during what became a glorified home game for Kyle Shanahan's squad.
Morale was at an all-time low. Accusations of players not putting in the necessary effort were rife. A head coach clinging on to some semblance of power by any means necessary.
Carolina Panthers are on the brink of disaster once again
All this represented the straw that broke the camel's back for team owner David Tepper. He fired Matt Rhule, ending his tenure a little over two seasons into his lucrative seven-year contract that also provided the current Nebraska figurehead with the final say on personnel decisions.
Could history be about to repeat itself?
The situations are eerily similar.
Sounds emanating from the Panthers right now are not great. Head coach Frank Reich's decision to take back play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Thomas Brown after just three games is a microcosm of the instability across the organization currently.
Tepper is piling on the pressure. He's achieved almost nothing since buying the Panthers aside from community involvement, with a poor football product and the Rock Hill debacle just two examples of complete incompetence from within.
Now - a little over a year since Rhule was removed from the franchise - things are once again hanging by a thread.
The red-hot Dallas Cowboys are coming to town. Traveling fans will invade Bank of America Stadium in their customary fashion. The Panthers are 10.5-point underdogs with sportsbooks - which seems like a light spread based on the current trajectory of these two teams.
The same murmurings of discontent are emerging beforehand. Insiders reporting unhappiness about roster building, offensive performance, and player effort.
Again, sound familiar?
If Tepper has to sit through yet another blowout embarrassment as Carolina spirals to 1-9, that might be enough to break the camel's back yet again. Even if that means admitting he got another head coaching hire completely wrong.
Something has to be done. The Panthers are being viewed as a complete joke by fans, media, and everything in between, which sadly isn't a foreign concept during Tepper's reign of terror.
I mean, the man's been compared to Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder. That's how bad things are right now.
Having no expectations might help the Panthers perform with more effective execution. They might also get back Jaycee Horn depending on how the cornerback responds to practice this week, which is another major boost to a defense that's held its own more often than not.
Even so, the chances of putting off the season's biggest upset appear remote. If this also results in the capitulation that many are anticipating, it could be the last we see of Reich and perhaps even general manager Scott Fitterer for good measure.
Tepper already had his trigger finger ready to go recently by firing the head coach of Charlotte FC despite making the playoffs. The Panthers are a million miles away from that, so anything is possible where this impulsive owner is concerned.
For fans, all we can do is wait…