The rumors are true my friends, pharm six weeks ago my future husband and I relocated to Charlotte, NC, and I am now required to love all things Charlotte, including the Panthers. How can this be?! I bleed the Blue and Orange, I love Black and Blue football, I can’t lose my identify and cheer for an NFC South team?! Is that even respectable division?! The answer is… Oh hell to the yes; it houses the best team in the NFL the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers destroyed the Atlanta Falcons last week 38-0, and they are a lucky 13-0 on the season, and secured a first round bye. You are probably wondering why the hell you should care about the Panthers. Well if Sunday’s crushing Bears (5-8) loss dashed your hopes of the playoffs its ok to get on another bandwagon, especially one that has many familiar former Bear faces.
First let’s start with the Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. Riverboat Ron as he is called down here in the South should sound familiar. Rivera was one of the key factors in the Bears 1985 Super Bowl Championship team, and Rivera was the Bears defensive coordinator for the 2004- 2006 Bears teams. I am not sure if you remember those defenses but they were top five in the league each season. Not sure, how he slipped through our hands.
With injuries depleting their pass rush, the Panthers acquired some much-needed aid early this season. The Bears traded away pass rusher Jared Allen to them, for a sixth round 2016 draft pick. Not a lot eh? You are right. Allen never found his groove in Chicago. However, I don’t think the Bears really set him up for success.
Charles “Peanut” Tillman, this one stings, the Bears drafted Tillman in the second round of the 2003 draft; he played twelve seasons with the Bears. He was selected to two Pro Bowls and was the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2013. Peanut was/is beloved by everyone in Chicago. His cover skills and ability to force fumbles is something the Bears are lacking this year. The Bears decided not to sign Peanut this past off-season and the Panthers took a chance on him. Even though Peanut hasn’t had a fantastic year, you can see how his leadership and experience has ignited this young Panthers team. Let’s face it we ALL miss the PEANUT PUNCH!
Greg Olsen is still a Bears trade that pisses me off. I can say that because it is true. We gave up on him, and it hurts my heart. The Bears drafted Olsen in the first round of the 2007 draft. The years Olsen spent with the Bears are when the offensive coordinator job had a revolving door at Halas Hall. How can one succeed, with a pile of crap that they are handed? I really loved the Cutler/Olsen combination in 2009 and beyond. Let’s face it quality tight-ends are hard to find, and we had a beast. However, then in 2011 we traded him away to Carolina for a third round pick in the 2012 draft. Every year since his trade Olsen has gotten better and this season is Cam Newton’s number one target. He has set Panthers records for career receiving years and receptions for a tight end. One additional note, is that Olsen and his wide Kara stated The Greg Olsen Foundation in 2009, which helps fund cancer research. Greg’s mother is a cancer survivor and is the inspiration for his foundation.
One of his fundraising events includes Kicks for a Cure Kickball Tournament, the world’s largest charity kickball tournament. The large scale event is held annually each summer in Chicago’s Grant Park and hosts over 1,000 people. Kickball teams compete and have fun in an effort to raise money for cancer research. If you haven’t attended this event I HIGHLY recommend it, it is a blast and raises money for an amazing cause.
One Panther that wasn’t a Bear (we can only dream), but we can’t talk Panthers without mentioning him is Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. I have had the pleasure of watching Newton grow in this league and this year I love him even more. He is, in my mind a “done deal” for NFL MVP, he continues to get better every game. You might not like his Dab Swagger, but the guy can play and continues to throw up monster numbers week after week.
Even though the Bears season is shat to hell.. this is a bandwagon you shouldn’t feel guilty jumping on especially if you refer to them as Bears 2.0. Up next for the Panthers are the New York Giants on Sunday at noon, can they make it 14-0?! #BearDown #KeepPounding