Monthly Archives: February 2016

THE ULTIMATE AMATEUR SUPER BOWL HYPE POST #2: EVERYTHING BESIDES NEWTON

Today’s the big day.  And truth be told, I almost forgot to publish a followup post.  I’m glad I didn’t because I left a lot of things open in the air after the last post… and may have shown my Panthers bias off a little too much.  But that’s only natural, being from Charlotte and driving by Bank of America Stadium at least once a week, every week of my life since I was 11.

Last time, I loaded my entry with numerous Cam Newton GIFs to substantiate just how much he has been a factor in turning this Panthers squad around.  And obviously, professional NFL head coaches and writers agreed with me, because Cam Newton was voted the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year, as well as the NFL MVP.  That’s a huge milestone for Newton, and for the Carolina Panthers.  And before you ask, no, he didn’t hand his trophy to a kid in the crowd.

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera also won his second Coach of the Year Award, which is also an impressive feat, given that he now has only one fewer than Bill Belichick, the 4-time Super Bowl winning coach of the Patriots who will undoubtedly have his name written in the history books… and Rivera’s only been doing this for 5 years.  For those of you who don’t know, Ron Rivera changed his conservative play calling after a last-second, 24-23 loss to an average Buffalo Bills team, and has since gone 36-11.  He’s now known as “Riverboat Ron” for his high-stakes decisions, and has garnered this incredible GIF from the Panthers fanbase:

But now, onto the game itself.  There’s been a lot of talk as to whether the Panthers defense can stop the Broncos offense, led by one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, Peyton Manning.  Some speculate that Manning has decided to call it quits after this game, given his many injuries in the past 4 years.  And although Manning has had an abysmal year where he led the league in interceptions, he has not thrown any in the playoffs so far.  Injured or not, we should remember that Manning has able to make plays like this:

He timed and placed that pass perfectly, and that was from earlier this year.  If vintage Peyton Manning comes to play in the Super Bowl, it’ll be an incredible game, and the Panthers will have their work cut out for them.

Perhaps the biggest headline preceding the Super Bowl, however, is not the tale of the two quarterbacks — it’s the tale of the two defenses.  Statistically, the Broncos had the number one defense in the NFL this year in yards allowed.  It’s led by veteran pass rusher DeMarcus Ware (who is a definite lock for the Hall of Fame) and the 2nd pick of the 2011 NFL Draft (after Cam) Von Miller, who is just as big of a defensive threat.

On the other end, the Panthers defense is just as dominant in its own way — getting turnovers, and scoring off them.  Led by the undisputed best middle linebacker in the league, Luke Kuechly, the Panthers defense is superb at reading the offensive scheme and capitalizing upon it.  Backed by cornerback Josh Norman, who is having a career season in a contract year, and Kurt Coleman — the journeyman safety who found a home with the Panthers, en route to 7 interceptions on the year.  The Panthers have the best defense in the NFL in terms of points scored off turnovers.  Their success has been marked by this play, in particular:

As well as many more like it.  It’ll be exciting to see which defense can get the best of the opposing quarterback.

It’ll be an interesting game, and I have no idea what’s going to happen.  All I can do is hope that the Panthers come out on top.  Also, as an advertising major, you better believe that I’m just as excited for the commercials as I am for the game… okay, maybe almost as much.  But that’ll be fun to talk about in class soon.  Stay tuned, eat a lot, and rep your team tonight!

 

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THE ULTIMATE AMATEUR SUPER BOWL HYPE POST #1: CAM NEWTON

It’s finally happening.  It almost feels surreal.  The Super Bowl is here, and the Panthers are in it.

It’s crazy to me that the Carolina Panthers were a rebuilding team 5 years ago.  They were coming off an abysmal, disappointing 2010 season marked by the frustrating play of quarterback Jimmy Clausen, a former Notre Dame star which the Panthers drafted that year to turn the team around.  Their experiment had failed, and they were back to square one — fresh with a new head coach, Ron Rivera, and a new general manager, Dave Gettleman.  But there was some salvation — the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.  And the new staff had to get their pick right.

I’m gonna be honest, I was among the skeptics of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, a rare specimen of football player with the ability to make big plays throwing the football and running it.  He had just led the Tigers to college football championship victory, and won the Heisman Trophy, an award given to the most outstanding football player that year.  In typical sports nerd-fashion, I researched the track record of former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks, and noticed that they didn’t translate well into the pros.  Additionally, Cam Newton played in a spread offense, a system specifically designed for high scoring and utilizing Cam’s unique physical traits, but nothing like what the professional system was like.

Cam also garnered comparisons (by both physicality and race, the latter of which is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous) to former LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell.  Russell was also an athletic freak who was said to have been able to throw a football 65 yards down field… on his knees.  Russell put together a 5-year career in Oakland, highlighted by lowlights, including abysmal quarterback play, win-loss record, and character issues.  He is widely considered the biggest disappointment in NFL history.

In hindsight, I’m EXTREMELY glad I’m not an NFL scout.  The Carolina Panthers, despite the overwhelming majority of people who wanted them to draft a surefire defensive stud in the draft, selected Cam Newton first overall.  They didn’t even hesitate.

It took him a few years, but Cam Newton has silenced his critics and has become one of the top players — and poster children — of the NFL.  He’s been labelled as “the LeBron James of the NFL” for his combination of size and speed.  It’s allowed him to make plays like this:

And this:

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And especially this:

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Which allows him to do this:

 

And definitely this:

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The Carolina Panthers are having a magical season.  They’ve achieved their best record in franchise history at 15-1, and only the Denver Broncos stand in their way of winning their first ever Super Bowl.  Panthers fans (especially hundred of children) are happy.  This is an exciting, dynamic football team that resonates with their crowd and embodies what the spirit of the sport should be.  In 5 years, the Carolina Panthers have been revitalized, and it’s mostly in part to Cam Newton and how he carries himself on the field.

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He’s all smiles, and plays the game with a passion and intensity that few players do on a regular basis.  He’s become one of the most marketable players, if not the most marketable player in the NFL.

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Win or lose the Super Bowl, the Panthers have a bright future ahead of them with this guy leading the charge.  But I hope we win.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.

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DAB ON ‘EM!!!

 

Writers’ Block Makes Me Talk About a Cool Shirt Instead of Sports Today

One of the toughest things that I’ve learned about keeping a blog is the 5-inch thick brick wall of writers’ block that occasionally appears out of nowhere.

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Suddenly, what you think you want to write about you can’t seem to progress, and you’re stuck in a situation where you’re trapped in a box, tossing ideas back and forth with yourself.  And I think I’ve made it tougher for me personally, since my centralized theme is sports-related and I’ve got to roll with it at this point.  So here’s a personal monologue and live play-by-play of my actions as I hold you all over for my “feature” blog post about the Super Bowl tomorrow. It’s a topic which, I can guarantee you, I can go on for pages about.

Right now, I’m shopping for stuff on Amazon.  Mostly cheap shirts.  I’m a huge fan of graphic tees that feature pop culture references, or are just plain humorous.  For example, I’m about to pull the trigger on this:

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The “Share With Friends” isn’t actually part of the shirt, don’t worry.  It would be an absolute design disaster if it was.  The bottom trim of the shirt would be way too long, uneven, and there would be no point in putting such large, different, white text down there.  It almost seems like it’s out of place and shouldn’t belong on the shirt… good thing it is.

But why buy this shirt?  I like the way it looks, first and foremost.  Truth be told, I’m not even that big a Beatles fan (though this is one of my favorite songs by them).  And Star Wars?  Haven’t seen a single movie in full (though I’ll become a Jedi one day, I promise).  But I’ve been around these two “brands” long enough to get the humor in this shirt.  And more diehard fans of both will too, and probably even appreciate the humor more.  It’s a hilarious, clean looking shirt that’s awesome.  My only quandary at this point:  Out of Stock, so no Prime shipping right now.  5-7 days.  That’s a good sign, right?  I must be doing something right if I’m trying to buy a shirt that’s sold out.

Prepare for my amateur analysis on the Super Bowl matchup between the Panthers and Broncos tomorrow.