When the Carolina Panthers hired Ron Rivera to be the team's head football coach in 2011, the idea was that Carolina would build a solid defense.
Not only did Rivera coach and coordinate the San Diego Chargers' top-ranked defense before landing the top job in Charlotte, he also played backup linebacker on arguably the best defense in NFL history, Buddy Ryan's legendary 1985 Chicago Bears "46 Defense," a.k.a., the new Monsters of the Midway.
I'd say Rivera and Panthers defensive coordinator, Sean McDermott, along with former general manager Marty Hurney and current GM Dave Gettleman, have succeeded by drafting key players and developing an aggressive scheme that has made Carolina the NFL's No. 1-ranked scoring defense (14.7 points per game) through Week 16.
Not only are the 2013 Carolina Panthers bringing back memories of the 1985 Bears and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens with their crushing defense, but individual players are also evoking memories of great players of the past.