As newspapers sometimes like to say, we were wrong.
And by “we,” I mean me.
With the Panthers out of the playoffs and guaranteed a losing season, it’s time for me to fall on my sword and accept the criticism that goes with making a bold prediction and then seeing it all go sour.
Yes, I picked the Panthers to not only get to the Super Bowl this season but to win it, as my dear readers are fond of reminding me. Yes, that was somewhat like picking the Titanic to have a successful maiden voyage. I hope you will forgive me.
And for those fans I have heard from who believe I somehow “jinxed” the team by placing a prediction iceberg in front of the Panthers, to be fair I never picked the Panthers to win the Super Bowl over the previous 21 years. They never won it in those years, either.
I do ultimately believe this team will be back in the playoffs – and soon. But if you don’t believe me, I can’t say I blame you.
▪ I agree with The Observer's Joseph Person and his column earlier this week that Steve Smith should be allowed to sign a one-day contract and retire as a Panther. Complications would inevitably arise about this, but it's the right thing to do for one of the franchise's most iconic players.
Smith would need to take the high road and not use the event to rip general manager Dave Gettleman for getting rid of him, and Gettleman would need to take the high road by letting the event occur in the first place – not the easiest thing to do after all the bridges Smith torched on his way out the door.
▪ I will be among the many in Charlotte who met and will miss Panthers assistant Bruce DeHaven, who died of cancer this past week at age 68. DeHaven was a knowledgeable coach, as most all NFL assistants are, but you could feel how much he cared for his players in every conversation.
▪ Prediction time. Although my overall prediction for the season was way, way off, I also pick the Panthers’ games individually every week. I have nailed seven of the past eight of those picks for a season mark of 10-5.
Carolina has beaten Tampa Bay six of the past seven times the two have played, and I think it happens again Sunday with Cam Newton at quarterback this time instead of Derek Anderson. My final pick of a forgettable season: Carolina 23, Tampa Bay 17.
Fowler: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @scott_fowler