2014 Carolina Panthers: A Success By Any Measure

By Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Football is not unique. Like any other job, those employed by a NFL franchise are judged by the end result. The path a team takes is often forgotten in favor of whether or not the season ends positively, with a playoff berth at the very least. Much like any regular 9-to-5 desk job, it's a results-based business. As long as everything is done legally and ethically, nothing matters but the final tally. Judging solely by the final result, the Carolina Panthers just completed the franchise's most successful season in nearly a decade. The team won a playoff game for the first time since 2005 and became the first in the history of the NFC South to win back-to-back division titles. Short of making or winning the Super Bowl, that is about as successful of a season as a team can have. However, many will not look at this season in such a positive light. ...

Stuart Scott: A Tar Heel, An Inspiration and A Fighter

By Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Call me insensitive, but the passing of public figure rarely moves me to tears. I don't know if it's the obvious disconnect between someone you only see on television or in movies, or how society tends to portray those in the public spotlight as soulless entities rather than human beings with feelings. Whatever the reason might be, the death of a famous person rarely causes me to stop and reflect. Sunday was one of those "rarely" moments for me, because someone like Stuart Scott is rare. I briefly shared my thoughts on the passing of Scott via Facebook on Sunday. I'll repeat those words here but also want to expand on them a bit. I only met Stuart Scott once. I was a freshman in high school and lucky enough to attend the 2003 NBA All Star Game in Atlanta with my father. Before I continue, let me tell you about 14-year old Bryan. I, like I still do to ...

Tar Heels Amid Era of Forgotten Success

By Friday, December 19, 2014

When folks look at the history of North Carolina football, what era is considered the most successful period in program history? Some old-timers like to point out the run in the late 1940s when head coach Carl Snavely and two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up Charlie "Choo-Choo" Justice led the Tar Heels to three straight top-10 finishes in the AP Poll. Others likely nod towards a more recent era when Mack Brown roamed the sidelines of Kenan Stadium, leading the Tar Heels to six bowl games in his final six seasons in Chapel Hill. Those days were defined by dominating defenses led by the likes of Dre Bly and Greg Ellis as the Tar Heels went 21-3 in Brown's final two seasons before he departed for Texas. These two spurts of greatness are what stick out as the best of times for North Carolina football. However, they are but short flashes in an 111-year history of Tar Heel ...

Cam the Man

By Thursday, December 11, 2014

When you see the photographs, it's hard to believe that the driver of that truck is back at work less than 48 hours after the wreck. Even learning that the driver was Cam Newton still makes it shocking that he was not seriously injured. Let me go all next-level on you. This post is not about Cam Newton being Superman, a quarterback, a Carolina Panther, an Auburn Tiger or even a football player. This post is about Cam Newton and the rest of us being more than what we do for a living. Folks are defined by their jobs. Let's say you're at a Christmas party this Holiday season. When you introduce yourself to a fellow partygoer, the first question asked is almost always, "so, what do you do?" "I'm an attorney. I'm an accountant. I'm a poor journalist. I'm a Pro Bowl quarterback." Each answer immediately leads to some sort of judgement by the other person. It's ...

Conference Pride Confuses Me

By Friday, December 5, 2014

With the ACC / Big Ten Challenge recently wrapping up and as the college football world awaits conference championships this weekend, I figured this is as good of a time as ever to address an issue that has befuddled me for years. Maybe I'm missing something here but what's the deal with all this conference pride? Conferences have almost become like second teams for college sports fans. They cheer for their team first and then their conference, whether it be the SEC, ACC, Big Ten or what have you. The SEC certainly is at the forefront of this seemingly backwards phenomenon of conference pride. The "SEC, SEC, SEC" chants only got louder with each of the conference's seven straight BCS National Championships. And it's not just Alabama, Florida or LSU fans yapping about the strength of the SEC. It's supporters of South Carolina, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and fans of other teams that haven't won ...

2014-15 UNC Basketball Preview: The Return of Expectations

By Friday, November 14, 2014

The classic line around Chapel Hill this time of year is, "at least we have basketball." It's based on the assumption that as the leaves change colors an underwhelming football team is giving way to a basketball team expected to be among the best in the country. However, that mantra has not held true the past couple of years. It can be argued the football team overachieved or, at the very least, met expectations in Larry Fedora's first two seasons while the basketball team was either rebuilding, as they were two years ago, or dealing with uncertain circumstances relating to a certain sharpshooter from Greensboro. Either way, the expectations weren't there for North Carolina basketball entering the past two seasons. This season is different. For the first time since North Carolina was preseason No. 1 in 2011, the Tar Heels enter a season fully expected to contend for a Final Four. North Carolina is ranked No. 6 in ...

Charlotte Hornets Re-Opening Night – The Comeback

By Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"I blacked out. I don't know what happened." That's what my friend turned to me and said seconds after Kemba Walker nailed a three-point shot to erase a 24-point deficit and send the Charlotte Hornets to overtime against the Milwaukee Bucks two weeks ago. The Hornets would go on to win the game on another dramatic Walker jump shot with 5 or so seconds remaining in the extra period. You could also argue my friends comment is what most of Charlotte thought about the 10 years the city was home to the Charlotte Bobcats. They were here but few people considered them part of the fabric of the city. Sure, the Bobcats had their fans and those who stayed loyal deserve credit for enduring eight losing seasons, just two playoff berths and zero playoff wins. However most of the city was ambivalent about the Bobcats. They won't be remembered. [videos file="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiBckwv0RWQ" width="500" height="400"] But that is all gone now. ...

The Wainstein Report

By Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wednesday was not a fun day for anybody who loves the University of North Carolina. We all knew the day was coming when the Wainstein Report would disclose findings that, while not necessarily surprising in their nature, would shed the university's name in an embarrassing light and rock the Tar Heel boat. I'm guessing many feel the same way as me. Like you were just blindsided even though you saw the punch coming the entire way. I might be in the minority here, but this feeling is not completely because of what is in the actual report. Wainstein's findings are thorough, detailed and very easy to discern. His group left hardly any stone unturned and this report should be the end of any further inquiries into the matter outside of potential NCAA involvement. The depressing feeling instead derives itself from the reaction to the report. A report in which the school paid for, recused itself from involvement and ...

How To Feel About A Tie

By Saturday, October 18, 2014

There are lots of ways to think about a tie, but here are a few things that a tie is not. It is not a win. It is not a loss. And who the hell compared it to kissing your sister? That sounds like the worst loss ever. A tie is at least a third cousin, twice removed. The Panthers tied the Bengals last Sunday. It was the first tie in 20 years of Carolina Panthers football. Nobody knows how to react to a tie. We’ve never experienced one as Panthers fans. After having a few days to digest everything, I think I’ve figured out how to feel about the tie. It all depends on your perspective. From a micro point-of-view, the tie was slightly disappointing. While the Bengals missed the most blatant opportunity to win the game, the Panthers squandered more opportunities. It started with the missed 38-yard field goal by the typically reliable Graham ...

The Case For Not Firing Larry Fedora

By Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Let me start off by saying I am not presenting the case FOR Larry Fedora.  I am presenting the case for NOT FIRING Larry Fedora. There is a difference. If you are remotely plugged in to the happenings surrounding North Carolina football, you know there are a fair number of folks calling for Larry Fedora's job. Three straight decisive losses will lead to a bevy of detractors, even if two of the losses were to far superior teams. Yes, East Carolina is far better at football than North Carolina at the moment. While I have no problem acknowledging the Tar Heels have issues they need to sort out, it's way too early and short-sighted to start calling for Fedora's job. I am happy to reevaluate that stance at the end of the season, but for the time being I want lay out six reasons why, at this moment, nobody should seriously entertain the idea ...