Jake Delhomme is not Kurt Warner and definitely not Tom Brady. He will not win a Super Bowl or the Super Bowl MVP award coming from oblivion.
As always during Super Bowl week, Delhomme and his Panthers have been given too much credit for their improbable run through the playoffs. For the past couple of weeks the Panthers have been overrated as they have surfed atop the crest of a media tsunami given to the Super Bowl participants.
Delhomme is a journeyman quarterback, who was given the starting job out of pure desperation from head coach John Fox in Week one against a soon to be 5-11 Jacksonville team. Yes that’s not a misprint, Fox was desperate facing a team that would only win five games.
Delhomme is a run of the mill quarterback at best. His passer rating of 80.6 percent ranks him 10th out of the twelve starting playoff quarterbacks.
As much attention as the Panther defense has garnered since they defeated Philadelphia in the NFC championship game, the truth of the matter is that the Patriots defense is better. During the regular season the Patriots had the best scoring defense in the NFL allowing 14.9 points per game while the Panthers gave up an average of 19 points a contest, which was only good enough for ninth in the league.
Although they had a defense that ranks in the top third of the league the Panthers recorded four of their best defensive performances against teams whose offenses were terrible.
The Panthers held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who finished 19th in total offense, to nine points, Detroit – 27th offensively – to 14 points and lost to the abysmal Houston Texans 14-10. However their crowning defensive achievement was holding the Vickless Atlanta Falcons team to three points, as if it was difficult. My high school football team could have held the Falcons to three points without Mike Vick.
The true test of how overrated the Panthers defense is how well, or lack there of, they played against teams with good offenses.
When facing the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, two of the top offenses in the league, they gave up a total of 57 points. Tom Brady and his steady methodical Patriots offense will have no problem shredding through this so-called dominant defense.
Until their surprising playoff run the Panthers have played their worst against the NFL’s best, a weakness the Patriots will certainly exploit with their mistake free offense and unyielding defense.
The only reason I will even watch the Panthers take such a slaughtering Sunday evening is so I won’t miss the beginning of Janet Jackson’s halftime show.
Will Brown is a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Rockledge. He is the sports editor for The Famuan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org