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Sports

Fog of losing lifts for a while
Panthers bandwagon suddenly filling up
 
Published Friday, December 6, 2013 12:07 am
by Herbert L. White

Walk around Bank of America Stadium these days – especially Sundays – and all is mellow and light.

The Panthers are kicking folks around like the beachside bully and fans are actually sticking around to the end of games, which is so un-Charlotte.

That’s what winning does for you, and it’s been a long time coming.

It’s amazing how quickly fortunes change. A scant 10 weeks ago, people were calling for Ron Rivera’s job and Cam Newton another first-round bust. Heck, online chatters even urged franchise owner Jerry Richardson to sell out since he’s obviously too old to put together a winning program.

But things change. Rivera is now “Riverboat Ron,” a defensive guru who’s embraced his gambler’s instinct with some success. Newton has been productive in the clutch and Richardson apparently would be totally nuts to rock the boat now. They even cut Armanti Edwards, perhaps the most glaring of draft mistakes 

This is the nature of an instant gratification society. We no longer have patience – shucks, even microwave popcorn takes too long. In the good old days of sports, say, 1996, franchises were willing to give rookie head coaches time to build a program and rookie quarterbacks an opportunity to learn in the film room and practice field, not tossed into uncertain waters. Not anymore. The money – and apparently our wallets – demand satisfaction. Today, we’re very satisfied, thank you.

How long will it last? That’s always hard to figure. History tells us don’t expect long-term success, because, frankly, this franchise is hit and miss. The Panthers last made the playoffs in 2008 and four times in 18 seasons, so sustained winning isn’t in their DNA. Maybe that’s why folks are acting like they’ve gone bananas.

But there’s hope that this is the start of something better, which around here translates into big.

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