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Thursday, May 24, 2018

The NFL’s Ban on Kneeling Is White Owners Exerting Complete Control Over Their Black Players

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2018 at 6:40 AM

This isn’t about patriotism. It’s not about respect for the flag or our military, our domestic protectors, or those lost in the line of duty. This is about control. This is about the small, uber-rich, and almost entirely white owners of professional football franchises reminding their players, nearly 70 percent of whom are black, to stay in line. This is about appeasing the MAGA types—led by the president himself—who have threatened to boycott the league, about stemming the tiny percentage of revenue that was lost since Colin Kaepernick began his protest, sparking league-wide kneelings in kind. This is about...

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Monday, May 21, 2018

An Old Hedge-Fund Billionaire Just Bought the Carolina Panthers, And We’re OK With That

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 4:03 PM

The Carolina Panthers off-season of transition reached its apotheosis last week, with the apparent confirmation of former Pittsburgh Steelers minority-stakeholder David Tepper as the team's new owner. On the surface, Tepper appears not to be terribly dissimilar from a plurality of his peers in a league-ownership capacity. Fans can be forgiven for seeing a sixty-year-old white male billionaire hedge fund manager and not leaping to the conclusion that this constitutes an out-of-the-box development. And yet, there is much in Tepper's biography to suggest that he is, at a minimum, worlds apart from disgraced former owner Jerry Richardson, and that he may...

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Daniel Snyder and the Redskins’ Culture of Exploitation and Incompetence

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 8:44 PM

Once upon a time, in the days before Daniel Snyder, the Washington Redskins were big box office in the Carolinas. Sometimes I meet people from here who are still Skins fans. They remember the good old days, with Sonny Jurgenson, Billy Kilmer, Joe Gibbs, Darrell Green, and The Posse. That was a long time ago, but I remember, too. I grew up in Northern Virginia during the glory days, when Redskins games were as close to a congregation as my family ever engaged in. Thus it has been sad, in the manner of watching a malignant disease destroy a...

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Super Bowl or Bust? Let’s Talk About the Panthers’ Off-Season Moves.

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2018 at 4:41 PM

With the draft and free agency in the rearview mirror, the book is nearly closed on the Panthers’ off-season under officially reinstated general manager Marty Hurney. As we've discussed at infinite length, Hurney's most crucial objective this off-season was finding weapons for Cam Newton, particularly the sort that could maximize the potentialities of new offensive coordinator Norv Turner's downfield passing scheme. Other objectives included plugging holes on the defensive line and secondary. Here are the things you need to know about whether last year's playoff team has made themselves Super Bowl contenders or slipped backward toward mediocrity. What Was...

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Friday, April 27, 2018

The Carolina Panthers Take a Chance on Maryland Speedster D.J. Moore in the First Round, and That Isn’t a Terrible Choice

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 4:55 PM

Last night, old/new Panthers general manager Marty Hurney inaugurated his second official tenure as the team’s Roster-Maker-In-Chief by selecting Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore in the first round of the 2018 draft. A fast riser in recent mock drafts, Moore is a speedy, gifted receiver who thrived in his last season in College Park despite being forced to catch passes from four separate quarterbacks due to a rash of injuries at the position. For Hurney, the pick is a recognition of the team's pressing need to find more help at the skill positions for Cam Newton. It is also...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dispatches from Duke Football's Annual Spring Game

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 3:42 PM

The weather was perfect for football as the Duke Blue Devils took the field Saturday for their annual Spring Game and open practice. Clouds gently rolled overhead, providing respite from a warm pre-summer sun that has taken far too long to arrive in earnest, giving the thousand or so diehards in attendance license to move from the shadow of Wallace Wade Stadium’s massive new luxury tower and press booth to rows much closer to the action. The field was organized chaos, as the afternoon started with a host of group and individual drills. Hundreds of players, coaches, and assistants...

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Our Football Withdrawal Formula, Part One: Five Gridiron Books Everyone Should Read

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 1:03 PM

Nine weeks after the Super Bowl and three weeks before the draft, we officially enter Football Withdrawal season! Sure, the break has been nice, the basketball was fun, and other diversions abound to keep us busy. But seriously: When the holy eff does football start again? Four months, you say? What? In an effort to stay sane, we will spend part of the next couple of weeks offering you a handful of gridiron related gambits to tide you over until the fall. Here Mike V. provides a list of five football books every sports fan needs to read. With a...

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Friday, March 16, 2018

For the Turnstiles: The Panthers Free Agency Adventure Begins With Significant Signings and Departures

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 1:08 PM

The first big test of Marty Hurney's second tenure as Carolina Panthers GM began this week, with the commencement of the annual NFL free-agency bazaar. Hurney's track record during his first tenure, which ran between 2002 and 2012, was a mixed bag overall, and that includes his free-agency classes. In keeping with an organizational philosophy that tends to prize the draft and homegrown talent as the main avenues toward roster building, the Panthers did not make a lot of splashy signings during Hurney’s tenure. Even an unvarnished triumph like the 2003 signing of future Super Bowl starter Jake Delhomme was...

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Back to the Future: The Panthers End Their Search for a New GM Where It Began, with Team Fixture Marty Hurney

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 1:17 PM

Last week, the Carolina Panthers search for a new general manager ended where it began, with the rehiring of longtime organization fixture and current interim GM Marty Hurney. This marks Hurney's second official tenure as GM, although in many ways it feels like he never went away. During his first stint on the job, from 2002–12, Hurney by and large proved an astute talent evaluator, and much of the Panthers’ hard-nosed physical identity mirrors the executive's preference for teams built around stout defense and a run-heavy offense. Hurney has proven particularly effective at the top of his draft classes, snagging...

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Sorry, Haters, but the New England Patriots Are Going to Win Super Bowl LII

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 3:28 PM

I've watched every Super Bowl for the past thirty years and I can't remember a single one I had a stranger feeling about beforehand. I've made predictions, I've been right, I've been wrong, but rarely have I been so confused. There's a lot of weird stuff happening around this game. It's weird, the Nick Foles of it all. Is Nick Foles good? If Nick Foles is good, why was he buried on the Rams’ depth chart two years ago? Why couldn't he find a starting job in the NFL after his breakout 2013 season, when he threw for a frankly...

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Why the Eagles Are Going to Win the Super Bowl

Posted By on Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 2:04 PM

In basketball, baseball, and hockey championships are determined via seven-game series. Those series are built, in theory, so that the better team will win. There are statistical arguments to the contrary, but at its core, that’s the idea. The one-and-done, on the other hand, is made for chaos, which is why many people regard the NCAA basketball tournament, the World Cup, and the NFL playoffs as the heights of sports excitement. After all, David only has to topple Goliath once. That both conferences’ top seeds advanced to Super Bowl LII is not extraordinary. What might be, however, is that this...

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Monday, January 29, 2018

The Panthers Have Lost Their Second Defensive Coordinator in Two Years. Will It Matter This Fall?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 9:41 AM

An offseason of transition for the Carolina Panthers continued last week as the Arizona Cardinals hired away defensive coordinator Steve Wilks to be their head coach. The Wilks hire wasn’t a complete surprise—the longtime assistant has been considered an ascendant star in league circles for the past few years—but it also marks the second time in two years that the Panthers will need to replace their defensive coordinator and confers upon the team the unique off-season challenge of remaking coaching staffs on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Wilks’s departure, following the hiring of Sean McDermott in...

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Friday, January 19, 2018

The NFL Is Wrapping Up Its Worst Season in Decades. We Should Blame Fantasy Football.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 9:46 AM

Now that we have a full season of ratings to postulate on, you can prepare yourself for a slate of various think pieces on America’s interest (apparently waning) in professional football. While there are many reasons for the decline in overall interest or engagement—bad on-field product, games spread across three and sometimes four nights a week, the slow-and-getting-slower pace of play, the rising number of cord-cutting households—I have a theory that the NFL’s decline has its roots in the Faustian bargain it made roughly fifteen years ago with fantasy football. Tens of millions of Americans now play some sort of...

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Norv Turner Could Be Exactly the QB Whisperer Cam Newton Needs—Or Not

Posted By on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Last Sunday, the Carolina Panthers season ended with a close playoff loss and a near-unanimous consensus that the team needs to find more help for their gifted, beleaguered superstar quarterback Cam Newton. That process began in earnest yesterday, as the team fired longtime offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterback coach Ken Dorsey and brought in the long-tenured NFL veteran Norv Turner to run the offensive show. Turner’s four-decade odyssey in the NFL has spanned multiple eras and sweeping changes within the sport. He has the unusual distinction of having been hired as a head coach three different times—in Washington, Oakland,...

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Panthers Recap: For the Love of God, Give Cam Newton Some Help

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 3:48 PM

With twelve seconds remaining in yesterday’s wild-card game, with Carolina trailing by five points and facing a 3rd-and-23 from the Saints’ 35-yard line, Cam Newton lofted a dangerous-looking pass into the New Orleans end zone. Devin Funchess, ostensibly the Panthers’ number one wide receiver, engaged in some hand fighting with Saints strong safety Vonn Bell and appeared for a second to be in position to snag the winning touchdown. Instead, he didn’t a play on the ball, and it fell uneventfully to the Superdome turf. This effectively concluded Newton’s and the Panthers’ near-miss attempt at an epic comeback in a...

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Twice This Year, New Orleans Has Dominated the Carolina Panthers. Can the Third Time Possibly Be the Charm? Our Playoff Preview.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 3:27 PM

As the 11–5 Carolina Panthers embark on their playoff campaign this coming Sunday, much about the team will look familiar from previous postseason runs. The offense still functions almost entirely on the boom-or-bust proposition of Cam Newton’s bulldozer scrambling and scattershot arm, and the defense remains a disciplined and formidable unit with mainstay linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis thriving in a Swiss Army Knife capacity while ends Mario Addison and Julius Peppers chase down and torment quarterbacks. On its face, there is not a great deal of difference between this version of the Panthers and the 2015 squad that...

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's a shocker as Wolfpack just demolishes Tar Heels

Posted By on Sat, Nov 29, 2014 at 5:06 PM

KENAN STADIUM/CHAPEL HILL Even for the losers, it was probably going to be a decent season. Everybody was already going to a bowl game and both teams were heading in the right direction when 6-5 UNC hosted 6-5 N.C. State in their 140th meeting on a sunny but chilly Saturday afternoon. And bowl scouts from the preferred Belk Bowl as well as the Military and Independence were in the house. Each team was coming in off a convincing win over its other ancient natural rival, the Wolfpack a 42-13 rout over Wake Forest two weeks ago and the Tar...

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Season-ending rivalry day will set up three bowl games

Posted By on Sat, Nov 29, 2014 at 1:08 AM

It's Rivalry Week, Part II. All across the country, about half of the biggest college football teams are playing their most despised rivals. And with cooperation from the SEC, the ACC is right in on the act today. It was always the day for those big cross-conference rivalry games like South Carolina at Clemson and Georgia Tech at Georgia and Florida at Florida State. And now there's Kentucky at Louisville. And in the conference there was Virginia at Virginia Tech last night. It's the same deal in the Triangle, where N.C. State (6-5, 2-5 ACC) will visit UNC (6-5, 4.3)...

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Humongous rivalry games highlight grid weekend

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 1:26 PM

It's Triangle Rivalry Week! Or at least it's Part One. And this time it's going to start a little bit early. There are only two games, as N.C. State gets a week off, coincidentally to celebrate its bowl eligibility, but they're both monsters. Tonight at 7:30, UNC (5-5, 3-3 ACC) will visit No. 25 Duke 8-2, 4-2) in a game to be shown on ESPN. Of course they don't like each other too much, and there's plenty at stake. If UNC beats either Duke tonight or the visiting Wolfpack on Nov. 29, the Tar Heels will be bowl eligible....

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winning seasons still possible with victories today

Posted By on Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 12:04 AM

The magic number remains six. That's the number of wins an FBS football team needs to play in a bowl game, and for any college football team to assure it won't have a losing regular-season record. So far only one Triangle team has made it, as Duke (8-1, 4-1 ACC) is assured a winning season and a bowl game and is still in the race for the ACC's Coastal Division championship. That race means every game is a "must" win for the Blue Devils, and actually every game left on the schedule is a must win for every Triangle...

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bowl spots, championships and winning seasons at stake

Posted By on Sat, Nov 8, 2014 at 1:29 AM

Today is a very big day for N.C. State football. And it's very important for Duke, while it's still meaningful for N.C. Central. UNC has the day off before its uphill stretch run. The Wolfpack (5-4, 1-4 ACC) picked up its first conference win for second-year coach Dave Doeren last week in a squeaker over Syracuse. And if State can become the third Triangle team to beat No. 24 Georgia Tech (7-2, 4-2) today at 12:30 (WRAL) at Carter-Finley Stadium, the Wolfpack is going bowling! NCCU (4-5, 3-2 MEAC), which is still looking for a winning season, plays...

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Triangle grid squads all road warriors this afternoon

Posted By on Sat, Nov 1, 2014 at 12:01 AM

It's a rare fall Saturday when there's no Division I football game in the Triangle, but today is one of those days. And of the area's four teams, still no one can say how the seasons of three will be perceived at the end. And all four are underdogs. No. 24 Duke (6-1, 2-1 ACC) is going to have another happy finish barring a monumental collapse. But UNC (4-4, 2-2), N.C. State (4-4, 0-4) and N.C. Central (4-4, 3-1 MEAC) can all still go in either direction. The Blue Devils will travel to Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-2) in a key...

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tar Heels stop slide with thriller against Georgia Tech

Posted By on Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 12:29 AM

KENAN STADIUM/CHAPEL HILL UNC had its collective back to the wall when the game with Georgia Tech kicked off Saturday night. And the Tar Heels' backs were to the wall again with just three minutes to play. But Marquise Williams proved to be too much for the Yellow Jackets. Williams completed a UNC record 38 of 47 passes for 390 yards and four TDs with one interception, adding a rushing TD while carrying for 75 yards on 16 totes as the Tar Heels beat the Yellow Jackets 48-43 to break a five-game losing streak in the series. UNC improved...

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday a pivotal day for area college football teams

Posted By on Sat, Oct 18, 2014 at 2:05 AM

The Triangle's college football season is passing its halfway point, and exactly how the season is unfolding for the local Division I squads is coming into focus. Duke is having a second straight very good season and could play in some really interesting December games if it keeps winning. And N.C. Central, which has yet to lose to an historically black college this season, still has a shot at the MEAC championship. But N.C. State coach Dave Doeren is still looking for his first ACC win, and UNC's Larry Fedora needs to get things turned around quickly if the...

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Everyone's an underdog for the second straight week

Posted By on Sat, Oct 4, 2014 at 2:03 AM

College football has been played in some form for the last 146 seasons, and no team from the Triangle has ever really played for a national championship. After last week's results this won't be the year. It's not that anyone can't still have a great season, but there are only about 20 schools than could have a loss and make the new FBS Final Four and none of them are in North Carolina. Three of the four local Division I teams are in action today, and two of them are at home. Duke (4-1, 0-1 ACC), coming off a...

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