Who Would Have Thunk It?
November 12, 2015
We are nearly into mid-November and the Carolina Panthers are still unbeaten. The same Carolina Panthers that were derided last year after making the playoffs with a 7-8-1 record from the awful NFC South has already surpassed that win total already. Despite all the success, media outlets nationally are asking how the Panthers are doing it.
One reason there are still some non-believers out there is that the Panthers have not dominated on the scoreboard. Their victories have come by an average of just under eight points, for a plus-63 point differential.
The offensive production is far from impressive as the team’s offense does not rank in the top-twenty in yards per play within the league.
What is impressive however is the team’s defense. They are in the top five in points allowed and yards per play. Carolina has basically turned every quarterback it faces into Mark Sanchez. Leading the pass defense is cornerback Josh Norman who has four interceptions despite opponents virtually avoiding throwing the ball in his direction.
There are some other reasons the Panthers are tasting success. They have only lost four fumbles and rank in top five of fewest penalty yards. I must mention that an easy schedule has helped. Only one of the eight teams it has beaten has a winning record. Of course, Carolina is helping make sure these teams are not winning teams.
Prep Football Tragedies
I read that a 17-year-old high school football player from Sharon Springs, Kansas, died last week after collapsing on the field during a game. The article mentioned that the death was at least the eighth reported high school football death since September.
Luke Schemm of Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs collapsed soon after scoring on a two-point conversion.
The late Luke Schemm of Sharon Springs, KS
Schemm was unresponsive after collapsing.
His father posted on Facebook that his son had died after suffering trauma to his brain, “causing it to swell and shut off blood flow to the brain.”
The dangers high school football players face have received increased national attention as a result of the string of football-related deaths this year. Even with recent advancements in our understanding of brain trauma and players’ safety, the number of high school football-related deaths is not decreasing.
And I thought teams that invited our armed forces to athletic contests did so out of respect and patriotism. After reading excerpts from a Congressional report that made it to the media outlets, I am having second thoughts.
Did you know that the Pentagon paid sports teams $6.8 million for these various “patriotic events” that honor soldiers and veterans? It’s true. I am in the camp that our armed forces certainly deserve recognition and respect. I know I am in the majority with those thoughts as I see fans appropriately stand and applaud the waving military.
I guess it surprises me that what I am really seeing is the military services paying for advertising. After all, each of our armed services needs recruits. That is the only way the volunteer armed services can survive and thrive, especially these days when war seems to be a constant.
Still, at least in my eyes, by paying for patriotic heartwarming displays like recognition of wounded warriors, surprise homecomings, and on-field enlistment ceremonies, these displays lost their luster. Teams are getting cash instead of simply demonstrating authentic, voluntary shows of support for the brave men and women who wear our nation’s uniform.
Actually, the sports teams should be embarrassed by these new disclosures. I would love it if they stepped up and donated the money to a charity - perhaps one that sponsors college scholarships for the children of fallen soldiers.