Panthers Taking the Skepticism Personally

The Panthers went into Dallas 10-0, but somehow found themselves -1.5 underdogs.  Vegas thought Carolina’s past Thursday night struggles and Tony Romo’s return enough to take down the undefeated Panthers. It even seemed to become fashionable to pick the Cowboys to win.  Analysts, without any recourse for being right or wrong, wanted to be the one who predicted the Panthers first loss. The entire CBS NFL Today team, minus Tony Gonzalez, picked the Cowboys, and Fox’s panel of pundits predicted Dallas to topple Carolina. ESPNs outspoken Dallas supporter, Skip Bayless, even claimed Carolina to be overrated and Dallas to be underrated. Bayless went as far as to say that the Cowboys should be 4 point favorites.

Bulletin board material for sure, Carolina took notice of the doubters. Coach Rivera, who generally remains unphased by any outside notice, remarked that “it hasn’t been nothing they haven’t seen before…..but yea, it is a bit disrespectful.” It’s a story that isn’t unfamiliar, Rivera smirked as he reminisced, “it was 1985, the Bears were 10-0 and Dallas was 7-3, and we were some sort of underdog….we all know how it turned out.”

Josh Norman wasn’t as reserved when he made his feeling known about the lack of confidence in this Carolina Panthers team. I’m going to start put names and faces with people who aren’t picking us, because they are tremendously wrong,” he blasted after the Panthers victory. “Even Skip Bayless..picking us as a 4 point underdog. I hope he’s happy at home now, eating crow.” 

It’s unclear what Charles Johnson’s initial remarks were, but it didn’t seem that he was interested in the Romo injury as much as he was about highlighting Carolina’s punishing pass-rush against the so-called best line in the league. Johnson has since deleted the tweet. The actual tweet is not all that important. It’s his outspokenness about the game that is telling. 

Carolina didn’t take this game lightly. No, they took this game personally. There’s a chip on this team’s shoulder, and although Norman has been the mouthpiece so far, there’s an aura around this team that suggests they are fed up with being overlooked. For so long they have been able to shrug this off, believing that their play on the field would speak for itself. 10-0 wasn’t enough though. 11-0 likely won’t be either.  Carolina may just have run the table on these fools and hoist the Lombardi to prove their point in the end.

By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn
Follow @Cat_Chronicles on Twitter