Lowly ranking outlines long road back for Carolina Panthers in 2024

The Carolina Panthers are a million miles away from Super Bowl contention.
Dave Canales
Dave Canales / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers aren't being perceived in a positive light around the league currently. They are the NFL's laughingstock after a two-win campaign that descended into chaos. The fact this troubled franchise had to hand over the No. 1 overall selection to the Chicago Bears for quarterback Caleb Williams made things even worse.

The unwanted status as a bottom feeder is well-deserved. It also provided team owner David Tepper with the wake-up call he needed to alter his approach. This started by letting the football people run the operation professionally without much meddling attached.

Things look more promising now. Dan Morgan and Dave Canales have a long-term vision in mind. If Tepper stays patient, the new power couple hopes this can finally come with an elusive first Super Bowl for the franchise sooner rather than later.

Carolina Panthers placed last in non-Super Bowl winners ranking

That seems like a long way off right now. It was a sentiment shared by Sayre Bedinger from NFL Spin Zone, who ranked the Panthers dead-last in his ranking of teams who've never hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy. Bryce Young's development and the lingering questions surrounding other depth chart positions were the primary factors behind Carolina's lowly spot in the standings.

"The Carolina Panthers came very close to winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history back in the 2015 season but Cam Newton and their incredible offense that year ran into the buzzsaw that was the Denver Broncos' defense. The Panthers had the worst record in the NFL last year and have a lot of major question marks remaining in 2024, especially when it comes to the development of QB Bryce Young."

Sayre Bedinger, NFL Spin Zone

This shouldn't come as a great shock. The only way Carolina can alter perceptions and get people to look at them differently is by being more competitive. Morgan wants teams to fear the Panthers logo once again. It'll take time, but nobody is expecting miracles during the first season under Canales' guidance.

Canales is confident the Panthers can become a surprise most teams don't see coming in 2024. Everyone is bought in, which is a major positive. However, that counts for nothing if they cannot put out a better football product and gain more victories along the way.

Projections are sketchy around the Panthers heading into 2024. Some analysts believe they could be in line for a significant surge forward if everything clicks right away with Canales leading the charge. Others feel like the changes made are not enough to prevent another woeful campaign from coming to fruition.

The truth is probably somewhere in between. Carolina remains an unknown quantity of sorts following another offseason of widespread changes. The difference this time is collaboration and everyone working in unison to achieve their short and long-term objectives.

Canales knows how stiff this challenge is. He also believes there isn't too much to fix if the roster becomes more fundamentally sound and efficient in all phases. Something that played a significant role in their demise under the previous two head coaches.

After years of abject misery, there's light at the end of the tunnel. Just don't expect the Panthers to be lifting the Super Bowl anytime soon.