North Carolina’s area sports teams all have one thing in common: they fell far short of expectations. The Panthers, the Hurricanes, and the Tar Heels were all on the cusp of greatness before things came to a screeching halt.
After reaching the NFL divisional playoffs last season, the Panthers encountered a disappointing loss at the hands of the Cardinals, finishing up with a 12-4 record. After resigning Julius Peppers and bringing back the core of the team, it was assumed that the Panthers would compete for the NFC South title.
Instead, the Panthers staggered out to a 0-3 start, leading to public outcry that Coach Mike Fox should lose his job immediately.
If this story sounds at all familiar, it may be because the Carolina Hurricanes shared an almost identical problem. After finishing the season on a hot streak, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hurricanes darted into the NHL’s cellar, starting with an abysmal 2-12-4 record.
Injuries to stars Eric Staal, Erik Cole, and Cam Ward plagued the team, possibly resulting in the slow start, but the world of sports does not stop for injuries.
Injuries are something the Tar Heels understand perfectly well. After entering the season with a preseason number 5 ranking Carolina hoped that they could repeat their 2009 National Championship win.
Unfortunately, even with the Hall of Fame ability coaching of Roy Williams, the Tar Heels could manage nothing better than a 13-10 start, with an at large NCAA tournament bid quickly fading.
Thankfully, with an incoming recruiting class that includes a slew of highly sought-after players, including the number one overall player Harrison Barnes, the Heels fall from greatness should not last long.
A similar story is true for the Panthers, who ended their season surging, with a season ending 23-10 win over the Super Bowl Champion Saints, even if they were resting their starters.
The only team with a virtually unknown future is the Hurricanes, but with an overachieving group of young talent led by Brandon Sutter and the new captainship of Eric Staal, there is plenty of reason to hope.
Will Bennett is a remarkable staff writer who was recruited from his early days. In fact, before Bennett could even speak, the Mycenaean took serious interest in him. While many consider this practice to be unethical, the Leesville editors disagree. Alex Stewart claims that his contributions to the staff have been “Pullitzer Prize” worthy.
In addition to his writing, Bennett enjoys animals, Freshberry Frozen Yogurt, Hip-hop music, and long walks on the beach. He can often be found on his seaside estate composing original music, writing moving poetry, and balling with old basketball greats like Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.