It is officially Spooky Season! What is scarier: Freddie Kruger showing up in your dream, Jason coming at you with a giant knife, or watching Dirk Koetter call plays?
This week, the Falcons face off against a team in a city I once called “a giant Bank of America branch.” If you think the local news picking up trash talk about their weak fanbase resulted in a number of angry fans... you would be wrong. The entire city collectively nodded and agreed that no one cares about the Panthers.
We looked far and wide for someone who supported the Panthers to answer our questions in the 5 questions series. We were surprised to find a Panthers site on SB Nation, Cat Scratch Reader, with literally dozens of fans or at least people looking for accessories and toys for their pet cat. You can even follow them on Twitter.
We asked Cat Scratch Reader’s Walker Clement our most pressing questions that were mostly about the Falcons because we can’t drum up any interest in the Panthers.
1. Like Jason in the Friday the 13th franchise, the Panthers caught up with Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff and sent them to the afterlife (or paid unemployment). Are you worried the Panthers provided a knockout blow to a duo that has proven to be incompetent, with the replacement being even scarier? Like the difference between the original monsters in Tremors and the ones in Tremors 7, which get only stronger and more dangerous? (Here, the underground, burrowing monsters are basically Eric Bieniemy and Justin Fields, of course).
This is more of a Predator situation, obviously. When you have the same producers (Arthur Blank, stay with me here) making decisions about a mediocre franchise then the only way you are ultimately going to get on TV is by matching them up against a better franchise, like the Alien (your friendly, neighborhood NFC South). The unearned confidence of old billionaires applying their limited life lessons to an industry that didn’t earn them their billions in the first place is a time honored tradition that really makes you question the value of that particular American Dream. Your franchise either lucks into a Bill Belichek or you become the Dallas Cowboys. The other option is to have a complete revolution. New ownership has brought new ideas to the Carolinas. Good luck with that.
Your other other option is that you could ditch your Predator for a better, younger, [insert derogatory comparative]er monster in the draft, but that would cost you either $40M on your bench for the old Predator or nearly $50M to punt him to the street. The outside looking in perspective is that the Falcons are heading for Godzilla vs Mothra territory in this division, and the Panthers are thrilled that Atlanta isn’t going to be the giant lizard in this overly tortured metaphor.
2. We are entering the spookiest part of the year with Halloween only days away. There are ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and Dirk Koetter’s offensive game plan. Koetter, like Freddie Kruger, has violently slashed and diced different offensive schemes into one scary, nonsensical identity. What is the scariest part about Atlanta’s confounding offense?
The potential for Julio Jones to resurrect his former self and drag Matt Ryan along for one last 300 yards receiving game like it’s the highest budget, lowest return buddy cop/zombie genremash movie of all time. Imagine Keanu Reeves and Andy Samberg in a movie whose plot centers around drugs smuggled inside banana phones.Calvin Ridley is simultaneously the love interest and their talking car, but is 100% played/voiced by himself. I don’t really know where I am going with this other than to say that there are still supreme athletes in dangerous positions on the Atlanta Falcons matched up against team weaknesses for the Carolina Panthers and the math in division games can always go a little funky. Also, the film is co-directed by Michael Bay and whoever made The Notebook.
3. What scares you the most about the Falcons? Obviously not the pass rush or the run game or the coverage or the special teams or the offensive line or the coaching. Or more pressing, why do Falcons fans do this?
The fans in the stadium. Their noise, plus the health risk of any public place at the moment, plus the piped in crowd noise could be a recipe for disaster for both the mental and physical well-being of, well. . . I was going to say the Panthers, but that really applies to every single human individual in the stadium and, to a lesser extent, watching from home. Back-ending from there to why Falcons fans do this? Well, assuming you mean that in a ‘do this to themselves’ sense, my best guess is for a variation of the same reason that drives Panthers fans: wine, cheese, and you know.
4. What’s it like to be excited about your football team and where it is headed?
Kind of terrifying. I remember thinking in the first year of Ron Rivera and Cam Newton (way back in 2011) that this team might have a chance to break the old cycle of focusing on how not bad of a play a punt could be. We got one good year of that in 2015 surrounded by a mixed bag created by a coach and a quarterback who were not well suited for each other. The coach in that equation turned out to be uncomfortably fond of punting. We don’t yet have the game changing player at quarterback yet (Bridgewater is good, but he’s no better than your average Teddy Bridgewater), but the Panthers do have a coach who is more interested in the things the fans are interested in (points, wins, etc) than he is in field position.The team, for the first time in it’s nearly 40 years in existence is finally building the bottle before trying to catch lightning instead of the other way around.
Now, if you were paying attention and wondered how I got to 40 years of existence for a franchise that was announced in ‘93 and began play in ‘95 then the answer is quite simple. You add the 24 years between 1995 and 2019 to the 16ish years it has been since the start of 2020 and there you have it. The math for building a successful franchise and for telling time this year turn out to be very similar and equally as easy.
So, yes, it is terrifying in a good way. That’s why you will start to read a lot from us really questioning the value and contributions of offensive coordinator Joe Brady. He’s secretly done quite the job for the Panthers and we fans are now in a position where we must guard him jealously.
5. Is Sir Purr a former pet buried into a haunted pet cemetery or a panther possessed by some sort of an evil demi-god that loves violence and Bojangles?