A Letter of Admonishment to Carolina Panthers Fans

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst IJanuary 2, 2011

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson
Panthers owner Jerry RichardsonStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

So, it's over. The Panthers' 2010 season finally ended.

Maybe the season started with promise, it has been so long since this team offered up anything promising that it's hard to remember the meaning of the word when it comes to the Panthers.

Being an analytical thinker, I tried to identify individual, specific causes of this colossal failure of a season. There isn't one that I can think of. There is nothing the Panthers can do to quickly make everything all right. The problems are all related to each other, and trying to figure out where to begin makes my head numb. Quickly I resign myself to simply accepting it. As John Fox would say, "It is what it is."

Team owner Jerry Richardson has been targeted by many as the main cause of Carolina's 2-14 record for willingness to spend money on signing free agents. He doesn't deserve the blame. Some fans also gripe about GM Marty Hurney's drafting strategies. I don't think it's right to blame him either. I don't think it's right to blame anyone.

The NFL is a complicated beast right now, with the current CBA's expiration date looming only a few months away. It's rumored that this is entirely the reason why Richardson wouldn't spend any money last offseason, and why the team got rid of almost all of its high-earning veterans. It's not wrong to say that the CBA situation likely had something to do with Richardson's lack of spending.

But it can't be the entire reason. The Panthers are the only team in the NFL that held its spending to such extreme lows. I know that Richardson co-chairs the NFL Labor Committee. But there are other members of that committee - including Richardson's co-chairman - that weren't so tight-fisted with their spending last offseason. Therefore, the CBA situation simply can't be the only reason for the dismal season the Panthers just finished.

None of us knows enough to rightfully blame anyone. The Panthers are likely the most secretive organization in the NFL. Richardson never says a thing to the media. Marty Hurney is rarely heard from. Even the most publicly visible figure in the franchise for the last nine ears, coach John Fox, uses a lot of words to say nothing each time he talks to the media. None of us knows what really goes on behind the closed doors of Bank of America Stadium.

The employees of any NFL franchise, especially the higher-ranking coaches and front office personnel, know what they're doing. There's a reason why there are only 32 NFL head coaches and 32 NFL general managers in the world. It's time to stop blindly pointing fingers and let the professionals do their jobs.