As the Panthers piled up win after win early in the season, few believed in them nationally. Which provided authentic, organic, natural motivation for the team to keep winning.
Now, as they have the best record in the league by two full games and continue to push toward only the second 16-0 regular season in league history, the Panthers are having to conjure disrespect wherever they can find it.
Enter cornerback Josh Norman, who has taken issue with NBC’s Rodney Harrison for suggesting that the Seahawks are currently more dangerous than the Panthers (they are) and for suggesting that Falcons receiver Julio Jones will get the better of the looming one-on-one matchup against Norman on Sunday in Charlotte (he could).
Via Twitter, Norman attributed Harrison’s opinion on the Seahawks to the notion that Harrison is “horrible at his job,” a cartoonishly sensitive reaction to the very real possibility that: (1) the Panthers and Seahawks will meet in the postseason; and (2) the Seahawks could win the game.
If the opinions of folks like Harrison (I’ve already said on WFNZ in Charlotte that I think the Panthers will win the next four regular-season games but lose to Seattle in January) help the Panthers avoid complacency down the stretch and keep them from wilting under intense pressure to win at home in the postseason, so be it. But Rodney is hardly “horrible at his job.” Rodney is one of the only former players in the media who won’t pull punches or mince words or worry about the reaction of folks like Norman or Jeff Fisher or anyone else to Rodney’s views.
And when the postseason comes, Norman can only hope that he’ll be as good at his job as Rodney Harrison was during his time with the Patriots, where he racking up seven interceptions in only nine postseason games, picking off the likes of Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Donovan McNabb.