Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Memo to Carolina Panthers Coach John Fox

Attention John Fox.

As your career with the Carolina Panthers comes to an end, you have much to be proud of.

Sure your team currently stands at 2-13 and will finish with the second-worst record in franchise history, but conditions were beyond the control of even the most gifted head coach. The expectations for the 2010 season were low after losing the longtime anchors of your offense (Jake Delhomme) and defense (Julius Peppers) to free agency.

Short of pulling a rabbit out of his headset, your days in Carolina were numbered before the Panthers kicked off their first game, as the quality of your team decreased in a division with the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and a strong Atlanta Falcons club that was a much better team than their 2009 record indicated.

But you did enjoy success as coach of the Panthers, the high-water mark coaching the Panthers’ in Super Bowl XXXVIII. It should be noted that the expansion Panthers played their first season in 1995 and that you inherited a 1-15 club from George Seifert two years before.

Even the great Tom Landry received walking papers and there could be as many as a dozen new coaches in 2011 NFL season.

And through no credit or fault of yours, you will leave your team with the number one selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. In the case of some coaches, that’s about all they leave behind.

So as you enter your final game of a terrible season as the most successful coach in the history of the franchise, you could enhance your chances for employment with another team by engineering the mother of all upsets by defeating the Falcons on Sunday.

And if the 2010 NFL season ends up being defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’s last with the Saints by succumbing to the entreaties of a number of NFL clubs looking for a new head coach, Sean Payton might end up with a big vacancy on his staff.

So if you’re looking to score points with the Saints front office, I would imagine facilitating home field advantage for the playoffs would go a long way with a head coach who handed over part of his paycheck to land the defensive coordinator he wanted.

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