NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: #Panthers at the #49ers

Carolina Panthers

Grrrrrowwwlll!

The Carolina Panthers (5-3) are visiting the SF 49ers (6-2) today for an afternoon game that both the national and local sports media have declared will be a true test for the Cats to see if they really are the “changed” team they’ve looked like the last several weeks. The 49ers are riding high on a 5 game winning streak, while the Panthers don’t look so bad themselves with their 4 game win streak. They key to the game for the Panthers will be what it’s always been: If they can win the points battle in the first half, to FINISH in the 2nd half on top.

I should note that the 49ers are Phineas‘ team so there will be no doubts about for who he is rooting. :)  Game on, Phineas!

Kick-off is at 4:05 PM ET and it will be broadcast locally here on Fox.

In related news, former Panthers coach and now coach for the Denver Broncos John Fox is now resting at his off-season home in Charlotte after having to have emergency surgery last week to replace his aortic valve.  Sporting News reports:

Denver Broncos coach John Fox was been released from the hospital Friday, four days after heart surgery in Charlotte, N.C.

Fox was resting at his offseason home in Charlotte, interim coach Jack Del Rio said after the Broncos’ Friday practice.

Fox had his aortic value replaced on Monday.

In a statement released by the team, Fox thanked his doctors, family, friends and fans. He said his recovery is progressing well: “I’m feeling better and stronger each day.”

He’ll stay in Charlotte to begin his cardiovascular rehabilitation.

The Broncos (7-1) play the San Diego Chargers (4-4) on Sunday. Fox will be cheering them on from home.

“My recovery is progressing well — I am feeling better and getting stronger each day,” Fox said in the statement. “I will begin the next phase of my recovery in Charlotte and continue outpatient appointments with doctors, who will clear me to return to Denver when the time is right.”

Best wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery, Coach Fox!

NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: #Falcons at the #Panthers

Carolina Panthers

Grrrrrowwwlll!

It’s a chilly fall day here in Charlotte as NFC South division rivals the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers get set to go head to head in a 1 pm game that will see the Panthers (4-3) try to extend their 3 game winning streak to 4 while the Falcons (2-5) – who were considered Super Bowl contenders at the start of the season – try to get their team back on track.

While some are downplaying the Panthers wins as being games they should have won anyway, Fox Sports columnist Peter Schrager says they matter:

The Panthers have now beaten four different teams. And they’ve beaten those four teams rather handily. Carolina has outscored its opponents 134-38 in those four wins. As for its three losses, only one of them, a 22-6 disaster in Arizona, was a blowout. The Panthers led the Seahawks the entire game in Week 1 and lost 12-7.

They lost on the final drive, on a questionable call, in Week 2 in Buffalo. If a few balls and a few calls go a few different way, the Panthers would be 6-1 and the toast of the league.

They haven’t played anyone? It’s not easy winning one game in the NFL, let alone four. This Panthers team has a promising young defense, led by what I view as the best front seven in all of football, and an emerging young offense.

Newton, historically terrific in the second half of the season, appears to be just getting started. If he has a second half even close to the ones he did in Years 1 and 2, we could be looking at an MVP candidate come January.

But they haven’t played anyone.

Yuck.

This isn’t college football. The Panthers did not pick their opponents back in April and they certainly did not make the Vikings, Giants, Buccaneers and Rams into the outfits we’ve seen thus far.

I’m looking at the NFC and I see one wild-card spot locked up by whichever NFC West power — San Francisco or Seattle — doesn’t win the division. That other wild-card spot? Why not Carolina?

Our notorious inability to finish a game has become legendary. If the Panthers can continue to overcome that, we’ll be in good shape as the playoffs approach. If not? Well, I don’t wanna think about that just now …

In related Panthers news, former Panthers coach John Fox – now coach for the Denver Broncos – was in North Carolina this past week during the Broncos bye week and was admitted to a local hospital after feeling dizzy while playing golf.  He’s now scheduled for heart surgery:

DENVER Denver Broncos coach John Fox needs heart surgery and will miss several weeks, team spokesman Patrick Smyth confirmed Saturday night.

The 58-year-old Fox will undergo aortic valve replacement surgery early next week at a hospital in Charlotte, N.C.

The Broncos did not immediately name an interim head coach.

Fox had been told earlier about his heart condition and was hoping to put off the operation until February. As part of his trip to North Carolina over the Broncos’ bye week, he met with his cardiologist and was told to seek medical attention immediately if he felt any discomfort.

On Saturday, Fox became dizzy playing golf near his offseason home and was taken to a hospital, where tests revealed he couldn’t wait any longer to have the surgery.

“I sincerely appreciate all of the support from friends, Denver Broncos fans and so many around the league today,” Fox said in a statement released by the team Saturday night. “Although I am disappointed I must take some time away from the team to attend to this pre-existing health condition, I understand that it’s the right thing to do. I have great confidence in our coaches and players, who are fully committed to our goals.

“I look forward to returning to coaching as soon as possible.”

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday NFL Football Open Thread: #49ers at the Jags – PLUS: WS Game 3 commentary

SF 49ers

Are you ready for some football?

The 4-3 Panthers have already played – and won – their game for this week this past Thursday against their NFC South Division rivals the  Bucs, so in honor of Phineas, whose favorite team is the San Francisco 49ers (and my 2nd favorite team), I’m devoting today’s NFL football open thread to the 9ers vs Jags game.

SF is having a good season so far, starting out at 5-2 in the NFC West Division, while Jacksonville is in the cellar in the AFC South at 0-7, joining the Bucs as the only two winless teams left.  Will it be an easy ride today for Colin Kaepernick and company? Perhaps, but never estimate the grit and determination of teams fighting for their first win.

Game time is 1 pm ET and will be broadcast locally on Fox.

Switching to baseball – in particular last night’s controversial ending to Game 3 of the World Series, I’m very interested in your thoughts on the “obstruction” call. Red Sox fans are understandably furious while Cards fans are pointing to the rule book in making their case that it was “the right call.”


It’s so critically important for refs and umps to get calls right when it comes to series championships. Did they here?

Sunday NFL Football Open Thread: #Rams at the #Panthers – plus #Redskins commentary

Carolina Panthers

Grrrrrowwwlll!

The 2-3 Carolina Panthers had an impressive win last week over the Minnesota Vikings and are hoping to bring their season to .500 with a home game win today against the 3-3 St. Louis Rams. It’s a perfect fall day for some football here in Charlotte, with sunny skies and where temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 60s.

Game time is at 1 pm ET and it will be broadcast locally on Fox.

In related football news, Washington Post reports that two DC radio stations are refusing to play ads calling for the Redskins to change their name:

As the debate over the name of Washington’s football team grows louder, one of the more vocal groups on the issue has found itself unexpectedly silenced.

The Oneida Indian Nation learned Friday that the radio ad it had scheduled to run in Washington this weekend as part of its national “Change the Mascot” campaign, will not air. A representative of CBS Radio Washington cited increased discussion around the name as the reason for pulling the ad from two of its stations, WJFK and WPGC.

“Based on the amount of on-air debate, adding paid commercials from one side is not something that we think is beneficial for this discussion and for our audience,” Steve Swenson, senior vice president of CBS Radio Washington wrote in an e-mail that was provided by the Oneida Nation to The Post.

WJFK, or 106.7 The Fan, bills itself on its Web site as “the radio station for D.C. sports fans. Our opinions are unbiased and unfiltered, and we never hold back.”

The New York-based Oneida group, which has emerged as one of the strongest forces in the name-change push, advertised on both stations at the start of the season. The one that was supposed to run this weekend was titled “Legacy” and questioned the one Redskins owner Daniel Snyder would leave. Snyder defended the name in a letter to fans last week.

“By changing his team’s name Mr. Snyder can create a better historical legacy for himself — one of tolerance and mutual respect, not of racial epithets,” Oneida representative Ray Halbritter says in the ad. “Native Americans do not want their people to be hurt by such painful epithets. We just want to be treated as what we all are: Americans.”

Friday, Swenson confirmed that the stations would not be running the ad this weekend.

Thoughts?

Bob Costas #Fail: Sports commentator denounces #Redskins nickname

Washington Redskins

Should they keep it or change it?

Right in the middle of the Sunday night football game between the Redskins and the Cowboys.  Via Fox News:

Bob Costas of NBC Sports waded into the controversy over the Washington Redskins nickname Sunday night, devoting a commentary to the topic at halftime of the nationally televised game between the Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys.

“Think for a moment about the term ‘Redskins’ and how it truly differs from [other team nicknames based on Native American images],” Costas said. “Ask yourself what the equivalent would be, if directed [at] African-Americans. Hispanics. Asians. Or members of any other ethnic group. When considered that way, ‘Redskins’ can’t possibly honor a heritage, or a noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term.

“It is an insult, a slur, no matter now benign the present-day intent,” Costas continued.

The Redskins were playing for the first time since President Barack Obama told the Associated Press in an interview last weekend that he would “think about” changing the name if he owned the team. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who has previously vowed never to change the name, responded by sending a letter to season ticket holders claiming that the name was “never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.”

You can watch the video of Costas’ remarks here:

Did it ever occur to the hot shots at NBC Sports to allow a “counterpoints” segment to any of Costas’ left wing rants? Of course not. That would mean people having to judge for themselves between two contrasting opinions rather than telling them what to think, and – oh no – we canNOT have that anyone thinking for themselves. :(

If you’d like to let NBC Sports know what you think, make sure to post a comment on their Facebook page, Tweet them, or email them.

Related/Flashback: Say Anything Blog – 5/31/13 – CBS Columnist: Indians Who Like The Washington “Redskins” Nickname Are Uncle Toms

Sunday NFL Football Open Thread: #Panthers at Arizona

The Arizona Cardinals are at 2-2 and the Panthers are a 1-2, having a bye week last week after their resounding defeat of the hapless Giants the week before. The Panthers, on a road trip, are looking to build on that win after their disappointing back to back losses to start off the season, while Arizona would love to get beyond the .500 mark.

They play each other this afternoon in a 4 pm ET game, which will be broadcast locally on Fox.

Carolina Panthers

Grrrrrowwwlll!

Sunday NFL Football Open Thread: NY Giants at the Carolina #Panthers

The 0-2 Panthers are preparing to take on the 0-2 NY Giants here at home and Panthers coach Ron Rivera increasingly finds himself on the hot seat with what many call his “conservative play calling” – especially in critical 4th and 1 situations. Charlotte Observer sports columnist Scott Fowler writes:

Fourth down.

Those two words inspire both dread and hope in football. Fourth down spells doom or saves careers. It can change a game.

Or it can be the down where you send on the kicking team.

Carolina Panthers fans who have bristled at Ron Rivera’s conservatism in fourth-and-1 situations may not take much solace in this statistic: Of the 31 other NFL teams, only one has gone for it on fourth down less than the Panthers since 2011 when Rivera took over.

Want to guess who?

Denver – directed by former Panthers head coach John Fox.

Then again, going for it a lot on fourth down does not translate directly to victories, according to an Observer analysis.

Of the four NFL teams that have gone for it on fourth down the most frequently starting in 2011, all have mostly languished toward the bottom of the NFL standings. Only Seattle, San Francisco and New England have gone for it on fourth down relatively often while winning regularly.

Rivera has never publicly established “a punt is not a bad play” as one of his truisms, which Fox did early in his nine-year career in Charlotte.

But Rivera has followed that theory very closely in critical fourth-and-1, fourth-quarter situations with the Panthers.

In three different games – two in 2012 and the most recent one at Buffalo – that strategy has ultimately led to Carolina blowing a fourth-quarter lead in the final two minutes.

There are other issues with the team, of course, but it all starts with the coach and filters down. Will the Panthers be able to regroup today after their disappointing losses this season (last week’s 24-23 loss to Buffalo was especially tough to watch)? We’ll see. We have perfect game day weather here, with clear skies and temperatures in the 70s.  Definitely feels like the first day of fall.

Game time is 1 pm ET and it will be televised on Fox. You can also listen to the game at WBT.com or via their app.

Carolina Panthers

Grrrrrowwwlll!

Sunday NFL Football Open Thread: #Panthers at the Buffalo Bills

The Carolina Panthers are visiting the Buffalo Bills today in one some are characterizing as a “must-win” game for the Panthers – even though we’re only into the second game of the season. The Bills also lost last week, so both teams will be hungry for their first win of the season in an attempt to get some momentum going forward. Needless to say, I hope the Cats win as I see so much potential for them – if they can  just finally gel as a cohesive unit and get the job done.

Game time is 1pm ET and will be broadcast on Fox.

Carolina Panthers

Grrrrrowwwlll!

#Panthers QB Cam Newton rejects racial politics on black QBs in the NFL

The Charlotte Observer sports section reports on Panthers’ star QB Cam Newton’s views on the media-driven hype over the number of black quarterbacks in the NFL:

For the first time in the Cam Newton era, the Carolina Panthers will face consecutive teams with quarterbacks of African-American descent after hosting Russell Wilson’s Seahawks and traveling to E.J. Manuel’s Bills on Sunday.

There were an NFL-high nine black or biracial quarterbacks who started in Week 1. One media outlet has dubbed it, “ The Golden Age of the Black Quarterbacks.”

Newton isn’t throwing a party.

“You don’t have a bar mitzvah just because you’re a starting African-American quarterback in this league,” Newton said Wednesday. “Even though I’m a fan of everybody, I can’t say I just root for Michael Vick, (Robert Griffin III), Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick. I still feel like I learn just as much from Michael Vick as I do from Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers or even RG3.”

[…]

Newton doesn’t perceive himself as one who paved the way for black quarterbacks in the league who have come after him, nor does he believe race hinders anyone at the quarterback position in 2013. He’s just making the most of his opportunity.

“If you have skills to play the game of football, then you’re going to play no matter what your race,” Newton said. “I didn’t feel any type of pressure coming into this league saying that I have to represent for all African-Americans, like saying all my fans are just African-American. When I play this game I play it to the best of my ability so I can inspire everyone, not just a particular set of people.”

He’ll probably take some serious crap over his opinion from some of his fellow teammates and others from around the link, but hats off nevertheless for him having the courage to reject the racial politics of the NFL. Regardless of what you think of him as a professional player, or the controversies that surrounded him during his college days, this is a winning attitude – and one that this Panthers fan hopes will translate into wins on the field as well.

As the article noted, Cats take on the Buffalo Bills in an away game Sunday.  It will be broadcast locally on Fox and starts at 1 pm ET.

Cam Newton

The Caminator.
(Photo via Getty Images)