Friday, January 9, 2015

Don't look ahead of these Panthers, Look back.

This Saturday, the Seahawks and Panthers will face off for the 9th time in the teams' history.  With the Seahawks confidently own the rivalry with a 6-2 record that shows no signs of diminishing any time soon.

In fact, the most recent Panther's win in this series came in 2007 when a then-rookie Matt Moore barely edged out a Seahawks team that would go on to implode the following season-- a move that would eventually give birth to the Pete Carroll era.

And, get this.

The only other Panthers victory besides that one took place 15 years ago. Seahawks quarterback, and now beloved local fixture, Brock Huard went  19 of 34 for 172 yards passing with no touchdowns and no interceptions. 

In the Carolina Panthers 20 plus years in existence, they have never won a game in Seattle.
You can argue that history means nothing.  After all, these are completely different rosters and coaching staffs. That was then, this is now. Any given Sunday... yadda yadda yadda

I can't argue those facts, but I do believe in something called intangibles.

You can't tell me that a young baseball player doesn't get the butterflies when he makes his first plate appearance at Yankee Stadium.  No matter what the current Yankees record might be, the ghosts of legends past must haunt the air of that place-- even if it's not the same stadium Ruth built.

I'd have a hard time believing that a young player wouldn't be the least bit shaken up by playing his first road game against the Chicago Bulls.  He knows about the dominance Michael Jordan displayed on that very court.  He knows about those championships.

We're seeing that mystique being built right here in our hometown.  Not a pregame segment has aired in the past 5 years that doesn't make at least some reference to the overwhelming crowd noise of the 12th Man.  How many position groups in this league have a nationally recognized nickname? Every player in the league is familiar with Beastmode at this point and if you haven't heard about the record-setting defense we've had the past two seasons-- then you haven't done your homework.

The Panthers are a good team with a healthy portion of talent to boot.  This won't be the last time we face them in the post season, for sure. They are, however, a young team.  The game moves fast and there's a lot going through their minds on every play.

One thing is certain-- our guys are focused. The games in this series have mostly been closely contested. It could be one play that decides the game. One play where the crowd noise is just too much to bear.  One play where they happened to glance up at the World Champions banner.

Or maybe they just see Kam Chancellor and decide its not worth making the catch.

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