The Carolina Panthers are in unfamiliar territory, in the franchise’s second Super Bowl since the team was founded back in 1995. Everyone immediately looks at young players such as Luke Kuechly, Kawann Short, Josh Norman, and yes, even Cam Newton, and everyone believes this team is poised to be the next dynasty of the NFL, but are they?
First off, what is a dynasty? A sports dynasty occurs when a team dominates the league for an extended period of time. I’m talking about the Bradshaw Steelers, or the Aikman Cowboys, or the Brady Patriots. They’re always in the playoffs, they make it to countless Super Bowls, and their guts are despised by many because they’re so good, it takes your A-Game and a lot of luck to knock those sort of teams off. Not only for one season, but this is established 6-7 years minimum and it’s a difficult task to bring that team down, even in the regular season.
The Carolina Panthers have the young talent to be a dominant force in this league for a long time, but more-so at the quarterback position. Cam Newton is in his first Super Bowl at age 26. Terry Bradshaw was 26 years old when he won his first, Troy Aikman was 26 years old, and Tom Brady was 24 years old when he put on his first ring. So obviously, Cam Newton is at the age he can win 3 or 4 Super Bowls before retiring.
If you look at the three dynasties mentioned thus far, they’ve had established defenses as well to assist the quarterback and their offenses. The Steelers had Jack Lambert, Mel Blount, and “Mean” Joe Greene. The Cowboys had Charles Haley, Darren Woodson, and Leon Lett. The Patriots had Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, and Vince Wilfork. And as far as this Panthers team stands right now, they’ve got Josh Norman (28 years old), Kawann Short (27 years old), and Luke Kuechly (24 years old). As long as the Carolina Panthers can keep this top-ten defense assembled and players don’t chase the lucrative contracts around the NFL, this defense can be one feared for years to come.
The Panthers undoubtedly have all the tools to come back to the big stage before Cam Newton’s time is up, while failing to mention they made it this time without 1st-round star receiver Kelvin Benjamin who tore his ACL back in August. We have to now look around the rest of the NFL, wondering if we already have that dynasty around, and I believe we do.
I now introduce you to the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson, who won his first Super Bowl at age 25, was a 3rd-round selection back in 2012 and truly hasn’t gotten the respect his on-field play has earned. He’s still overlooked because of the great defenses he’s had in his two Super Bowl appearances, but didn’t all these others have ones as well? I look at Seattle’s defense, where they’ve kept stars Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, as they’ve chosen to stay together up in the pacific north to chase more titles. But the Seahawks have proven to be a stable franchise since Russell Wilson took over, having made the playoffs in all four career seasons.
So if the Seattle Seahawks, who are 7-3 in the playoffs since 2012, are the 2010’s NFL Dynasty, what about our original question? Are the Carolina Panthers the next dynasty, or are they the one-hit wonder, see you again in 12 years? I plead the fifth (or the third), as I deflect to Option C… The Carolina Panthers are a really good football team, not a dynasty, not a pretender, but a new breed.
The Carolina Panthers play the Denver Broncos this Sunday, Cam Newton versus Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning will make his fourth Super Bowl appearance, his second with the Broncos. However, Peyton found success in Indianapolis, but the fans became amused by the “Brady versus Manning” novel. And that’s why, I say, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are the next Peyton Manning and Indianapolis Colts.
Newton and the Panthers will continue to form the next rivaled story between them and the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks. The Panthers will pose a big threat to the Seahawks and everyone will be sure to tune in anytime these two teams battle, but they’ll never be able to become the dynasty the Seattle Seahawks will become.
Enjoy the Brady-Manning spin-off.