My friend and I were just having a conversation tonight about how the NFL's overall strength has somehow deteriorated, and this year especially. The concept of parity among teams seems to be lost. In a record--breaking season in which there are THREE (count 'em) teams in the league with undefeated 8--0 or 9--0 records, the majority of teams are experiencing subpar records and seasons.
Teams have lost starting quarterbacks (Dallas, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Indianapolis) and have struggled during the first half of the season. Teams that were excellent last year have turned mediocre this season (Green Bay, Seattle). Other teams just seem to have completely fallen apart (Atlanta, Washington, San Diego).
There are eight teams (New England, Cincinnati, Carolina, Denver, Minnesota, Arizona, Green Bay, & Atlanta) that are a combined 58--12 this season. The rest of the league (24 teams) are a combined 86--132.
I've NOT downplayed or spoken negatively about the Panthers season or team. However, they have no doubt benefited from this season's disparity of teams. Eight of Carolina's nine wins have come against losing teams, having a combined record of 28--43. Only Green Bay currently has a winning record (6--3). In Carolina's last seven games, they will meet teams with a combined record of 31--34.
The Panthers are undoubtedly a very good team. They may have also struck gold in playing their best football in a year in which the rest of the league is on a downturn. If there's a sour note in the chord, it's that the Panthers have played their best games against the best teams. In several games against mediocre competition, Carolina has barely squeaked out victories.
Could there possibly be--- two 18--0 teams in the Super Bowl this year? Maybe. I believe by then, our team will be sufficiently strong to weather that storm.
Hey--- our Panthers are Super--- one way or another. It looks like a banner year. A Super Bowl year. Jerry's dream may come true. What better year to do so than in the Super Bowl's 50th Anniversary year? Let's stay on the bandwagon and ride it to the end of the road.