In NFL news, the Carolina Panthers have won their third straight NFC South division title, and it happened before their game against the New Orleans Saints ended, according to ESPN.
Carolina Panthers win NFC South
Even though the Carolina Panthers ended last season with four straight victories in the regular season and a playoffs appearance, very few people thought they were going to be the best team in the NFL this season. Things just did not look good on paper for Ron Rivera and Cam Newton. There were too many holes that were not filled. Fortunately for the Panthers, their football games are not played on paper. Carolina has now ripped through the season with an 11-0 record and came into the day looking for the NFC South division title.
Fortunately for them, they didn’t even need to beat the New Orleans Saints to make that happen. Earlier in the day, the Atlanta Falcons lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which sealed the division championship for the Carolina Panthers. Matt Ryan and his team have now lost five straight games, which is unusual because they won five straight games to start the season. The Falcons have been struggling with red zone issues and will need to resolve that if they hope to get a wildcard spot.
Ron Rivera on the hot seat
Things can turn around rather quickly in the NFL. It wasn’t too long ago that Ron Rivera was on the hot seat. Many felt that the Carolina Panthers needed to make a change at the head coaching position. Fortunately for Rivera, he had the support of team owner Jerry Richardson, team president Danny Morrison, and general manager Dave Gettleman, who has quietly reloaded the Panthers with clever transactions. Ron has bought himself a couple of more seasons in Carolina by having such a dominant season.
While they may never publicly admit to doing so, NFL coaches keep up with one another. They hear all the rumors and gossip. Ron Rivera has paid close attention to the situation with Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants. It seems like Coughlin is on the hot seat every other year. Being a strong minded individual, though, Tom has managed to tune that out. He simply goes and does his job, winning two Super Bowls that no one gave him a chance at winning. Rivera is hoping to do the same thing with the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina Panthers not getting respect
While the Carolina Panthers have managed to get the attention of some, they have yet to get the proper respect from the masses. Even though the team is the only undefeated one in the NFL, very few people are putting huge money into Cam Newton being able to lead the Panthers to a Super Bowl victory. At just 26 years of age, the 6’5″, 245 quarterback has blossomed into a legitimate candidate for the MVP award, but fans still view him as a notch below Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Anyone that has witnessed the third ranked Carolina Panthers defense will know that this is a franchise that is capable of winning the Super Bowl. Luke Kuechly is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL, and he should become a household name if the team accomplishes that. Josh Norman is becoming more of a household name thanks in large part to Richard Sherman comparisons. The 27-year-old corner back also made a name for himself by going toe to toe with Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and shutting him down.
Can the Carolina Panthers add a Super Bowl title to their NFC South title this season?
[Featured Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images]