Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Five

On the fifth day of Gheorghemas, Big Gheorghe gave to me:


Five Combined Wins;
Four Compliments For T.J.;
Three French Hens;
Two Dope-ass Rhymes (and a whole mess of sub-par ones as well);
And a Doofus Dancing (Amidst a Really Long and Grumpy Analysis of the New Kanye West Album).


I previously mentioned my inability to refuse a request and the Panthers' ineptitude. The fifth day of Gheorghemas ties my previous ramblings together, turning non sequiturs into actual content. This, my friends, is the type of synergy that only the internet makes possible.

The 1-12 Panthers play the 4-9 Cardinals on Sunday. Their five combined wins is the lowest number of combined wins for any of this week's games, and is especially pathetic given that this week is Week 15. Writing about pathetic pro football is my specialty, which is probably why rob made this request. Unless he was being sarcastic, in which case I apologize for being so literal. If you want real football analysis, go elsewhere.

It's hard to find synergy between the Cardinals and Panthers as they are very different football teams. The Cardinals are 90 years old, they play in Arizona, and they have played in Chicago and St. Louis. The Panthers have been around for 15 years, the entirety of which they played in North Carolina. I'm hard-pressed to find two more disparate teams in terms of age and geography.

I've never met a Cardinal fan, probably because the Cardinal franchise is one of the worst in all of sports:

* Their all-time record is 486-689-39, good for a 41.4% winning percentage.
* They won 10 or more games 6 times in the last 90 years.
* They have 8 playoff appearances in the last 90 years.
* They have a 6-7 all-time playoff record (that's one playoff win every 15 years for you sociology majors out there).
* They finished with a positive point differential 9 times in the last 40 years.
* They finished with a positive point differential 15 times in the last 60 years.
* A Cardinal has rushed for over 1000 yards 6 times in the past 25 years.
* A Cardinal has passed for over 3000 yards 14 times in the past 50 years.
* In 90 years, no one has more than 42 wins as a Cardinal coach.
* They led the league in offense once in the past 90 years (1948).
* They were a top-10 offensive team 10 times in the past 40 years.
* They never led the league in defense in the past 90 years (they were 2nd once, in 1956).
* They were a top-10 defensive team 4 times in the past 40 years.
* Their best player ever is Jim Hart.



Some might say they are the Jethro Tull of pro football.

By contrast, the Panthers are only 17 games under 0.500 in their 15 year existence. They are 6-4 in the playoffs. Five Panthers have rushed for 1000 yards and 6 have thrown for 3000 yards in 15 years. Their defense has been top-10 six times, including 2nd in 1996 (their second year in the league). John Fox has 72 wins as a coach, all with Carolina.

The Panthers have clearly enjoyed more success the the past 15 years than my lowly Bills.


It's hard to find synergy between cardinals and panthers in general. Their closest common ancestor is about 340 million years old. Their primary evolutionary commonality is that their embryos are surrounded by an amniotic sac, and they are warm-blooded.

Cardinals are small red birds that eat seeds and are typically considered to be a symbol of good luck. Cardinals intimidate no one and are a rather whimsical mascot for a violet sport like football. Panthers are large predatory cats, typically called cougars in North America, and they scare the shit out of people. Guys get panther tattoos to show how rude they are. Don't mess with them. Don't mess with political parties whose mascot is a panther either. They are almost as intimidating as the Large Hadron Collider. I'm not going out on a limb when I opine that panthers are much tougher than cardinals. And we all know how important a mascot can be.




It is therefore zoologically surprising that the Panthers are the worst team in football. They have been outscored by 174 points through 13 games, which means that on average their opponents score 13.4 more points than they do. Not surprisingly, they lead the league in both this category and in losses.


The Panthers also lead the league in scoring, if football scores worked like golf scores. They have scored 164 total points, good for 12.6 points per game. Math majors will see that the Panthers have thus given up more than twice as many points than they have scored -- 164 scored to 338 allowed. They haven't scored more than 23 points in a game.


Their QB situation is complete dreck: Matt Moore leads the team with 5 TD to go with 10 INT. Jimmy Claussen chipped in a TD and 7 INT. I thought Brian St. Pierre was a MMA fighter but he isn't, he's a bad pro QB who threw 1 TD and 2 INT for the Panthers this year. Some guy named Tony Pike also threw 12 passes for Carolina, resulting in 6 completions, 0 TD, and 0 INT. As a team they have 7 TD, 19 INT, and a passer rating of 55.0. The coefficient of variance on this Testeverdesque group's passer rating is fleetingly small (only 8.5%!), as they are all rated between 48.7 (St. Pierre) and 60.1 (Pike). So at least they're consistent.

As a result, former All-Pro WR Steve Smith has done nothing this year. Smith is so bad this year that I actually cut him from my fantasy team on Tuesday to make room for Alex Smith (I have/had Aaron Rodgers (concussion), Matt Cassel (appendix), and Vince Young (mental case), daggers all around, and I traded Kyle Orton for Dallas Clark the week befor Clark got hurt, so I need to start someone in my playoff game, which I am now guaranteed to lose). Their running game suffered injury setbacks and their offense never got on track.

The Panthers' D is ranked 26th in points scored, but they appear surprisingly statistically strong against the pass. They have 16 picks and allowed 16 TD, good for 8th most and 9th fewest, respectively, in the league. But they are as willowy against the run as they are stout against the pass, and that is their Achilles' heel.



The Cardinals and Panthers have commonalities beyond their amniotic sacs and warm blood. The Cardinals are a little bit better on offense and a little bit worse on defense, but they are similarly situated suckitudinally. They also suffer from bad QB's who drag former All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald's numbers down. Their running game was beset with injuries and the offense never got on track.

Despite their facial differences these two teams are, upon close inspection, much more similar than one would think. I think the match-up is such that the game should be close, and could be entertaining (if not the greatest moment in TV ever), provided that neither coach does anything stupid (like allow either QB to throw a forward pass). I doubt weather will be a factor in NC.

I expect both teams to run the ball all day with great success, and for the game to end with a last-second FG attempt. But no one will care because both teams are God-awful and they have no fans aside from these guys. I'm taking the Panthers; John Fox's karma should be good enough for 2 wins on the season.

Final score: Panthers 24, Cardinals 23

Special bonus video:

This combines many things that I love including fried chicken, The Dukes of Hazzard, speeding cars, women in bootie shorts, cars with after-market external accoutrements, exploding outhouses, and surprisingly Gheorghe performances (this time turned in by Jake Delhomme). Merry Gheoghemas!

32 comments:

Dave said...

as usual, zman, you've outdone yourself with bombast about teams that deserve none. i especially like the wheelhouse and amniote links, and the fact that the panthers poor record is "zoologically surprising."

Marls said...

Somewhere Neil Lomax weeps and applauds all at once.

rob said...

z, this is a tour de force. well done.

and in other news, i just found out that fog:tb eric (extra p.) angevine of 'storming the floor' just got a full-time gig writing about college basketball for cbs sports. this is awesome news for a very good dude.

zman said...

My range of skills is exceedingly narrow but deep, deeper perhaps than Atlantis itself, and I plumb those depths to bring you the best possisble sports writing about the worst possible football clubs. Thanks for your recognition and appreciation of my otherwise useless ability to bring failure into crisp focus and find humor in angst.

Congrats to Extra P, who has a useful sportswriting skill. All the more reason to navigate over to CBS sports, beyond my fantasty team helmed by Matt Flynn.

Danimal said...

Big big bawgame on the deuce- Delta state and. Minnesota Duluth!

T.J. said...

Mark, I was able to name drop your twitter handle for all 7 listeners last night.

And I furthered the theory I started teliing you that the Skins are destined to draft Jake Locker because he is in fact the young, white Donovan McNabb. It's true. Harold Reynolds documented it for me.

T.J. said...

I aspire to be the Neil Lomax of HD2 radio appearances:
http://bit.ly/ijzB85

Danimal said...

Point Break on the....Golf Channel????

Mark said...

Nice work Teej. And, in other news, I think I may actually contribute to G:TB this weekend. Don't hold me to that though...

T.J. said...

Three crappy bowl games today boys...starting at 2pm.

zman said...

Aaron Rodgers is officially out. I sat Alex Smith hoping Rodgers would play. So now it's Matt Cassell without his appendix, Matt Flynn, or Drew Stanton.

T.J. said...

Pick up and start Rex Grossman. I'm serious.

zman said...

Brilliant. A fifth compliment for the Teedge on the fifth day of Gheorghemas.

Marls said...

New Mexico Bowl. . . get excited.

If possible BYU looks even honkey-er than usual in HD.

Marls said...

So BYU is the #1 "Stone Cold Sober" college as rated by the Princeton Review? How is this a selling point to put in your ads?

On an unrelated note, has anyone dined at a Beef O'Brady's?

Igor said...

Holy crap. I came here to comment on Point Break airing on the Golf Channel. Danimal beat me to it.

zman said...

Playoff rosters are frozen. I'm penciling Stanton in unless Cassell get the nod.

rob said...

ask and tell away, boys and girls. not that there's anything wrong with that.

zman said...

RIP Captian Beefheart.

Mark said...

I have eaten at Beef 'O Brady's. Actually had a gf that worked at one. It's a Florida based "family sports bar" (read: no liquor). There are a ton of them in Central Florida. The food is as you would expect, predictable fare with underwhelming quality. When they expand, they'll surely be a big hit in the Midwest. This is not a compliment.

rob said...

mark - how do you feel about the new-look magic?

rob said...

looks like mike leach will be the terps coach next year. fun!

T.J. said...

At roller derby. 24 oz cans of Negro Modelo.

zman said...

You need to check out women's wrestling and/or pillowfighting leagues too. They make roller derby look like child's play.

Shlara said...

Mark--enjoy Agent Zero!

T.J. said...

Rashard Lewis...hmm...

Marls said...

I love the image of the Teej wandering out onto the roller derby rink, double duece of Negro Modelo in hand, claiming that the jammer was fouled, รก la Shooter.

T.J. said...

That was gud.

Mark said...

I'm just happy to get rid of Rashard Lewis' terrible contract. Even in his prime, he wasn't a max player (not even close), and he sure as shit isn't now. I'm conflicted on Gilbert but he's a better player than Lewis and their contracts are basically a wash. I'm hoping a change of scenery does him well.

I'm also very, very happy to have Wince out of my life. I think Turk should be somewhat rejuvenated by the return to Orlando and Jason Richardson is an underrated piece to the PHX-ORL deal. This is not a perfect restructuring for Orlando by any means but I like this team (on paper) far more than what we had previously.

rob said...

wrens up 6 on liberty at the half. this will be an interesting bellwether for the good guys.

zman said...

What do you do when your 6.9-months-pregnant wife asks "Do I look fat?"

Danimal said...

say..."you look great honey. but wait a month. THEN you'll look fat"