Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cat's Meow Not Panthers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cat's Meow Not Panthers

Article excerpt

For two years, all they've heard about is how the Carolina

Panthers are the exemplar expansion franchise. For two years,

two annoying years, they've listened to the NFL establishment

rave about how perfect the Panthers are.

The Panthers do it this way. The Panthers do it that way. The

Panthers hired good, experienced NFL people to build their

organization. The Panthers won more games than any first-year

team in history. The Panthers won hthe division title in only

their second year of existence. The Panthers have found a cure

for the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. The Panthers, the Panthers, the

Panthers, the Panthers, Panthers, Panthers, Panthers.

Aaaaaah!

"I have a chip on my shoulder about those guys, I admit it,"

confessed Jaguars offensive tackle Leon Searcy after the Jaguars

defeated the You-Know-Whos 23-9 yesterday in a preseason game

that meant both nothing and everything. "Don't get me wrong,

they've had a great deal of success, and they should be proud of

it. It's just that we always seem to be the expansion step

child. It gets tiring sometimes."

You probably think it's way, way too early to make a judgment

on these two teams based on the result of one measly preseason

game. For the normal fan, maybe. But any newspaper columnist

worth his suitcase's weight in Motel 6 towels can tell you that

yesterday was clearly a changing of the expansion guard. The

Jaguars are on the way up, the Panthers are on the way down. Two

franchises passing in the night.

Presumptuous?

Premature?

Perhaps.

But, then again, it's not like such a concept hasn't been

discussed before. The Jaguars, after all, built with youth and

made this year -- Year 3 -- their target date to compete for the

playoffs. The Panthers went with age and experience with the

intent on being a factor immediately. The Panthers may have been

ultra-successful early, but aren't they going to get worse

before they get better? …

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