Prowling through the Valley

This is something I wrote after the 0-2 start for a contest on  The question was: what do the Panthers need to do to get to the Super Bowl.  At that point in the season, a lot would have been an adequate answer.  Man, how things can change.  VINDICATION!

Prowling through the Valley

After opening the season 0-2, it looks as it will be easier for a “camel to go through the eye of a needle” than it will be for the Panthers to make the Super Bowl.  As an outraged fan base stands outside Panthers’ facilities in the battlefields of social media, armed with pitchforks demanding Ron Rivera’s head, what if anything can the Panthers do to be on MetLife field in February rather than on their couches?

There is one person that “must walk” the Panthers “through the valley of the shadow of death,” out of the NFC South, through the playoffs (on the road for sure), and out of the tunnel onto the the 2013-14 promised land (Super Bowl XLVIII )--Ron Rivera.

That’s right Ron “Coolio” Rivera!

The media never considered Carolina contenders prior to the 0-2 start, the most dedicated fans have trouble comprehending the thought of making the playoffs, let alone a Super Bowl, and most would think that the players themselves are “saying prayers in the street lights.”

For 24 hours, ESPN has continually looped the graphic that 0-2 teams have a 12% chance of making the playoffs.  What then are the odds of an 0-2 team winning the Super Bowl?  Oh yea, if they made it after this, you know we would settle only for victory!

Rivera must keep his cool, channel 1985 Chicago Bears’ toughness, and focus his team on the fact that three 0-2 teams have done it: the 1993 Dallas Cowboys, the 2001 New England Patriots and, that’s right, the 2007 New York Giants!

This weekend, at home, Rivera needs to lead the battle worn Panthers to a statement victory against the last team who rebounded to Super Bowl victory after such an abysmal start--the also 0-2 Giants. Giants fans are praying for the same.

The defense will have to get mean, the offense will have to play clean, and Ron “Coolio Rivera” must go for broke!  This all or nothing showing on Sunday could just win the Panther faithful back long enough for the Cats to lick their wounds in the bye, pounce on the Redbirds, maul the Viking warrior Peterson, and feast on Ram before defending their home hunting grounds of the South.  If the Panthers could surprise injured Patriots in Monday moonlight, they could run through the South, up I-95, and into MetLife Stadium.

How amazing would it be to witness the beginning of an unprecedented run this Sunday that ended in Panther fans demanding Rivera lead the Cats in the Panther Super Bowl Shuffle. At the end of the video he would sound bite, “I didn’t make the last shuffle, so I made my own!”