The 2016 Carolina Panthers are a reminder that everything in the NFL is temporary – Yahoo Sports

Linebacker Luke Kuechly was on the Carolina Panthers sideline, in street clothes as he recovers from a concussion, ranting and raving at the officials and everyone else nearby after a long Seattle Seahawks touchdown.

Earlier, Derek Anderson started at quarterback because Cam Newton apparently didn’t wear a necktie. He didn’t start because he was disciplined for a dress-code violation. Anderson played one play. He threw an interception.

It was all a mess for the Panthers on Sunday night. The whole season has been. Against the Seahawks, everyone had a chance to watch their meltdown.

The funny thing about the 2016 Carolina Panthers crashing to earth is there was no real reason to believe they would crash this hard. Sure, there is a hangover for Super Bowl losers. And they were never going to repeat a 15-1 record. But nobody thought they’d be in the spot they were Sunday, falling to 4-8 after getting blasted 40-7 by the Seahawks as a “Sunday Night Football” audience watched.

The roster was just as talented as last season’s team. Cornerback Josh Norman was let go – that move still makes no sense, as it looked like a petty reaction by general manager Dave Gettleman, who doesn’t make many mistakes – but the Panthers got back receiver Kelvin Benjamin from an ACL injury. The coaching staff was practically the same. The roster had a ton of blue-chip talent. And they’ve been terrible.

Is your favorite NFL team good this season? Enjoy it. It’s not guaranteed to continue, unless you’re a New England Patriots fan, or a fan of a couple other franchises that seem to have figured out a way to avoid the yo-yo nature of the NFL. Even when the Panthers were upset by the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, nobody figured that the Panthers would fall apart in 2016. But they have.

Now coach Ron Rivera, who was celebrated all last season, has to answer questions about why his star quarterback was benched for a dress code violation. Newton hasn’t come anywhere close to replicating his MVP form from last season. Nothing that worked last season is working this season. There have been some injuries and some close-game luck that went the Panthers’ way last season but hasn’t this year. But it’s plainly not the same team as last season, even though it’s virtually the same roster and coaching staff.

About nine months ago, the Panthers were favored to win a Super Bowl. They blew that opportunity. Now they’re one of the NFL’s worst teams, and got embarrassed on national TV to drive that point home. Just remember: Nothing that happens in the NFL this season should be expected to carry over to 2017. Just ask Carolina.

Thomas Rawls hurdles a Panthers defender to score on Sunday night. (AP)Thomas Rawls hurdles a Panthers defender to score on Sunday night. (AP)

– – – – – – –

Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!


Write a Reply or Comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.