This was supposed to be a big year for the NFL team in my adopted hometown, Charlotte. The Panthers improved from dregs of the league in 2010 to 6-10 last season, and looked especially good down the stretch. With young QB stud Cam Newton, a supposed genius of an offensive coordinator named Rob Chudzinski, a star receiver in Steve Smith and plenty of good (or at least decent) role players, 10 wins and a playoff berth seemed likely.
A Charlotte newspaper columnist who picked the Panthers to go 8-8 was ripped for being too negative. One of the team's best players, center Ryan Kalil, took out a full-page newspaper advertisement to all but guarantee the team would win the Super Bowl.
As Rick Perry would say ...
Or as Emily Litella (Google her, kids) would say:
The Panthers are a mess. They are 1-5. They have found painful, last-minute ways to lose their last three games. Their young QB stud and genius offensive coordinator have been considerably less studly and geniusly this season. In each of the aforementioned three losses, they failed to pick up 1 yard at a key juncture, pretty amazing in that they have the best running QB in the league, two tailbacks with eight-figure contracts and a guy who was the most sought-after fullback on the free-agent market.
And as if all that isn't bad enough, Kalil is injured and done for the season.
On a positive note, today was another in a long string of absolutely beautiful autumn days in North Carolina, and this week is supposed to be filled with sunny, 70-something weather.
Take that, Chicago!