Speaking of the Carolina Panthers, James Dator of Cat Scratch Reader offers up an interesting column today on the situation facing the team. A highlight:

We’re stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship right now, all of us. Lost in an endless cycle of being told things will get better and never see it materialize. This team does just enough every five years to make you believe again, only to have the air sucked out of the room in the next second.

This isn’t about boycotting the Panthers or any foolish veiled threat like that, it’s about the realization that this team is in deep, deep trouble. I’m not talking about salary cap trouble, or bad players trouble — it’s bigger than that. A systemic lack of realization of what the NFL is, right now, in 2014. It’s a steadfast adherence to some belief of what football “should be,” a nonsensical admiration for the Steelers that shapes every decision this team makes. Following instead of leading, while young dynamic coaches with new thinking are taking control of the NFL.

All the while we hang onto some notion of direction because “defense wins championships.” Well, the defense sucks, there’s no offensive line and the only two things going for this team right now are a quarterback with no help and a middle linebacker who can’t affect the plays around him.

The worst part: You could see this coming from a mile away. Most of us could, or blinded ourselves to the possibility out of faith and hope. Removing the blinders we saw a team that was poised to regress, now I can’t stop laughing at the April iteration of myself that had the hubris to believe 9-7 was as bad as it could be.