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Caulton Tudor

Sorry Panthers, but give me Rivers vs. Wilson

Posted January 6, 2014

Eight quarterbacks are still standing in this NFL season and two – San Diego’s Philip Rivers and Seattle’s Russell Wilson – are N.C. State products.

Carolina Panthers fans will just have to forgive me for hoping Rivers and Wilson also will be the last two in the championship chase on Super Bowl Sunday – Feb. 2 in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.

It’s not that I have anything at all against the Panthers’ Cam Newton or any of the other surviving team leaders.

A title for Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson, 77, would be a just reward for a man who has devoted much of his life to establishing Charlotte and the Carolinas as major players in the world of professional sports.

A Super Bowl win for Denver and 37-year-old Peyton Manning obviously would be a crowning achievement in a remarkable recovery from injuries that could have ended his record-setting career.

A win by New Orleans would give Drew Brees, who will turn 35 on Jan. 15, two rings and a straight shot to the Hall of Fame.

In only his third season with the Indianapolis Colts, young Andrew Luck already has established that the franchise’s rich quarterback legacy – Manning, John Unitas, Earl Morrall, Bert Jones – will continue for years to come.

With one more championship, New England’s Tom Brady would join Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks with four rings.

Colin Kaepernick taking San Francisco to two straight Super Bowls would be an indication of pending greatness for a former Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback who overcame some of the same obstacles that confronted Wilson.

But there is one big – literally – difference between Wilson and the 6-4, 230-pound Kaepernick, who may not have had the prototypical NFL skill set but did have the size to make the 49ers and a few other teams believe he could be a quick fit.

At 5-11 and 205 pounds, Wilson, a third-round draft pick in 2011, would join Brees (6-0, 205), Fran Tarkenton (6-0, 190), Joe Theismann (6-0, 195) and Bob Griese (6-1, 190) as the smallest Super Bowl starters ever.

Had it not been for Seattle coach Pete Carroll’s willingness to think outside the quarterback box, Wilson may not have been drafted at all, much less given a quick chance to earn a starting role.

A Super Bowl win for Wilson would be something right out the basketball movie “Hoosiers” – a win for all the little guys who never got there.

Chargers have frustrating franchise history

Rivers, 32, is in danger of falling into the category of a long-time starter whose career ends with a stuffed stat sheet but very little meaningful hardware.

To a degree, Rivers is dealing with a Chargers curse of sorts.

The franchise has had some of the most prolific passers in NFL history – Dan Fouts, John Hadl, Brees, Jack Kemp, even Unitas (one season, 1973) in addition to Rivers.

But only once since the NFL merged with the AFL in 1970 have the Chargers reached the Super Bowl and that resulted in a 49-26 loss to the 49ers and Steve Young in 1995 (’94 season).

Before the merger, the Chargers reached five AFL championship games and won just one – a 51-10 rout of the Patriots.

After Sunday’s 27-10 upset win at Cincinnati, The San Diego Union Tribune newspaper reported an interesting exchange between Rivers and backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who was arriving at Clemson just about the time that Rivers was ending his four years at State.

“Eight quarters, eight quarters, just eight quarters away (from reaching the Super Bowl),” Rivers said repeatedly.

At Denver (4:30 p.m., Sunday, WRAL), the Chargers will be a 10-point underdog to Manning and the rested Broncos.

Chargers linebacker Donald Butler told reporters, “There’s no pressure on us now.”

But knowing Rivers, he certainly will not take that sort of carefree attitude into the game. He’s running out of chances and no one has worked harder for a championship. He had a distinct last-man-standing, Crockett-like personality in college and that part of his life hasn’t changed.

The odds are against Rivers and the Chargers at Denver, just as the odds are against Rivers/Wilson finale. But it would sure be something that Triangle sports fans would remember forever.

53 Comments

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  • fritzbluelove Jan 11, 2014

    Screw you Tudor. What a chicken hiding behind a page that censors what you can say. I dare you to go say these things somewhere you cant hide. Rivers sucks and Wilson wouldnt be as good as he is without some of the other seahawks players. Why would you give love to a guy who turned his back on the wolfpack and left them high and dry. Wish you could play on a offensive line against our panthers defense just once. Why dont you move to San Diego since you love Rivers so much.

  • ciscopack Jan 8, 2014

    Send me my tickets

  • vt94hokies Jan 7, 2014

    Like I stated earlier; I will continue to pull for our State Teams. The Panthers and the (Hornets) are the teams that represent our State. The Panthers are knocking on the door of doing something special again. Really special. Need one more win. I also like and respect Peyton and all that he has done for this game. Still. I want the Panthers to keep it going to the final game. One game at a time. Rivers and Wilson have done a great job, but they are not playing in our State.

  • forbespack Jan 7, 2014

    FYI: Russell Wilson's Seahawks coach Pete Carroll also has ties to NC State as he did a stint in the early 80's as part of Monte Kiffin's staff (not much to brag about there but he was a Wolfpacker for awhile)... Lots of Wolfpack pride out there in the NFL now - I enjoy seeing former NC State players do well at the Pro level in any sport.
    Side Note: Do you think Ric Flair siding with the 49ers was all in his grand scheme to actually help MOTIVATE the Panthers? By showing up in Green Bay on the 49ers side he has given the Panthers one more thing to prove and one more "Styling and Profiling" person to prove it too. I would say it fits the plot line... Go Panthers!

  • NCSU84 Jan 7, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Good post.

  • mittnfriends Jan 7, 2014

    View quoted thread


    You make a good point. I'm not a fan of hockey and I would usually start trashing the sport, but sports are entertainment and entertainment is subjective.

    Football is naturally a violent sport. Whereas hockey makes it a point to allow violence not related to the game in an attempt to keep people in the stands and tuned in to the broadcast. Despite the extra-curricular violence hockey allows, it's nowhere near as physically taxing a sport as football. Therefore, you can't make them play a bunch of games in a short amount of time and expect to have enough players healthy to play let alone playing at a high level. Also, the stakes are that much higher with a "win or go home" format compared to a "best of" format.

    When I think of sports, I want to see the best athletes. Though my favorite sport is basketball, it comes in second to football as far as which one has the best athletes.

    But, yes, the Canes are the most successful franchise in the state. I just have this feeling there are more people in this state who care about football than there are who care about hockey.

  • 879wins Jan 7, 2014

    View quoted thread



    I heard the Heels are jealous of state's bass fishing skills.

  • parksjohn82 Jan 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    +1

  • Cragsdale Jan 7, 2014

    View quoted thread



    I'd wager the Hurricanes are a better franchise, seeing as they have more playoff appearances plus they have won at least one of their sports highest achievements, a Stanley Cup. Takes 16 wins to earn one, Superbowl ring takes 4.....

  • Cragsdale Jan 7, 2014

    View quoted thread



    agreed, what an ignorant post.

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