Why is it still funny to hear Jim Mora question the word playoffs on youtube after all this time? Youtube didn't exist back then, but it does now, and it preserves some mighty fine moments.
It was 2001 as coach of the Indianapolis Colts when he went into a rant in regard to a reporter's question about his team's playoff potential. This came five years after he had a meltdown right here in Charlotte as coach of the Saints, when his team fell to (2-6) at the midway point of the 1996 season. That was the day he made the words "diddly poo" part of the NFL lexicon.
But indeed, the playoffs are here minus the Panthers for the fourth straight year. Our last appearance was that miserable (33-13) home loss to Arizona in January 2009. The game was over at halftime with the Panthers down (27-7) and Jake Delhomme turning the ball over six times. In some ways, it seems as though the franchise has yet to recover from getting blown out as the 2nd seed in the NFC, and a 10-point favorite.
I had the chance to visit with Jake for a few minutes at dinner last weekend in New Orleans. He came by to visit with Jordan Gross and some other teammates. It was good to see him and he remains one of the really quality people in Panthers history. He did a lot more good than bad in his time with Carolina, including quarterbacking the only Super Bowl appearance in our 18 years. At some point, local history will reflect a kinder overview. It took Bill Buckner a long time before Red Sox nation welcomed him back.
So on to what's coming up this weekend with the current playoffs. I like the Colts to beat the Ravens in Baltimore and Texans over the Bengals in the AFC Wildcard round. In the NFC, I will go with the Packers to win the rematch over Minnesota after losing last weekend, and Seattle to win at Washington.
Denver looks pretty tough to beat with the combination of Peyton Manning and an excellent defense. I will take them to beat San Francisco in the Super Bowl, as I think the Falcons were playing better football earlier in the season. So maybe John Fox gets a ring afterall, just not with the Panthers.
As former coach Dennis Green might say...They are who we thought they were...now if you want to crown them, then crown their (bleep).