The last two weeks — since the Panthers whipped the Cardinals in Charlotte — have been a blur. I watched just about every second of the 2015 season for the Panthers. You don’t have to be a scout to see why this team is good; it’s painfully obvious; the formula really isn’t that complicated. With the Panthers, though, it’s not just about the eye test — check the numbers (this team led the league in point differential), too, including some of the deeper analytics. There’s no questioning how good this team is, and yet…somehow I still can’t believe we’re here.
Ever since Carolina drafted Cam Newton No. 1 overall back in 2011, I’ve defended him to my friends. There have been peaks and valleys with this scenario, but I carried that goddamn water. I realize that at times I was probably also trying to convince myself: Cameron Jerrell Newton is The Franchise. It just always seemed like if he could correct a few small things…my god, could you imagine? He’d be the perfect player: a bored teenager’s created player from Madden who has come to life. Oh, and he happens to play for your favorite team. How did this happen? What did we do to deserve this?
Well, here we are now. Later tonight, he’ll almost certainly be named the league MVP, and with a win tomorrow, he could cap one of the five or ten best team seasons in the history of the NFL. The Panthers are 17-1, and favored to win the Super Bowl. Turn up the LCD Soundsystem — this is happening.
I was lucky enough to be at this year’s NFC Championship game; it was amazing to watch Cam in person. You simply can’t take your eyes off of him — even in warm-ups. If you brought a person from Latvia who’d never seen football before — KRAPSNAPS PAZINGAS, perhaps — they could take one look at the pitch and know immediately who the best player on the field is; it’s the dude with the Superman t-shirt on under his No. 1-stiched jersey. There’s an aura surrounding him; he projects energy.
My favorite act in the history of music is Outkast — the pride of Atlanta, which also happens to be the city Cam hails from. At the 1995 Source Awards, these two dudes were named Best New Rap Group; when they went to the stage to accept their award, famously, they were booed. Everyone cared about the two coasts — East, West. Who in the hell were these country boys from the South?
Twenty years later, however, we know exactly who Outkast is: they’re the best group in the history of rap music. I won’t hear any other answers. Nowadays, we look back on the Kast as being visionaries ahead of their time — a paradigm shift. They were from the future. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, though, we can all agree: the future is now, too, with Cam. You want to deny that, or try to tell me otherwise…nah, hush that fuss.
Stat Boi’s track of the week: “Rosa Parks” by Outkast.
The genesis of this gif is from those 95 Source Awards. Take it away, 3 Stacks, we know what the deal is. Enjoy the game tomorrow, everyone. Go Panthers.