Carolina Panthers Voted NFL’s Most Disappointing Team

An ESPN poll ‘awards’ the Carolina Panthers the most disappointing team of 2016 by a landslide.

The word “disappointment” is thrown around when an individual or organization lets down those with higher expectations than the returned outcome. The fanbase of the NFL has spoken and ranks the 2016 Carolina Panthers as the “most disappointing” team this season and they’ve done so by a landslide. As the team has fallen to 4-7 and out of playoff contention, it’s clear that the use of disappointment may not be a harsh enough criticism.

ESPN hosted a poll to determine which team was the most disappointing this season. Selections included the Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, the Panthers and a group for other NFL teams deserving of the label.

The Panthers won via a landslide, receiving 35 percent of the vote. Approximately 8,273 selected the Charlotte-based team as the most disappointing group, which is the least of the team’s worries.

After a 15-1 season in 2015 that ended with a trip to the Super Bowl, many expected the Panthers to be a powerhouse this year. They finally had a full roster at the start of the season, as injuries plagued them early and often last year.

On paper, this unit featured a stacked passing attack, accompanied by a running game that was among the best in the league. While this group has shown its potential from time to time, constant stagnation reminds fans why the Panthers are frequently called the “Cardiac Cats.”

What’s most disheartening about this franchise is that five of their seven losses have come by three points or less. Often times the Panthers were either leading or found a way to fight back before losing a close game. The ability to close out a game is a skill set that all professional athletes need at this level. The Panthers repeatedly failed to keep their opponents from finding a way to steal in victory. In 2015 this unit was able to escape many close games with wins; that’s not the case this season.

According to David Newton of ESPN, Mike Shula lauded how Cam Newton is handling these loses; citing that he’s taking the close loss to the Los Angeles Raiders “especially well.” While that is a great compliment to read, especially when compared to how Newton is frequently criticized for not taking losses well, it doesn’t speak well to fans who were expecting so much more from this unit.

Even if the Panthers win out in their remaining five games, a 9-7 record is well below what was expected when this team kicked off the season. In some regards, it creates an air of questions wondering if the 2015 season was a flash in the pan across the board or if it spoke to long-term success for the Panthers. Either way, the fans have agreed (correctly) in labeling this team the league’s most disappointing.

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