Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo: Carolina Panthers jockey for position atop NFC

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Updated: December 2, 2013

Good day, fair folk, and welcome to Water Cooler Sports Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo, your glimpse into the swirling clouds of NFC South news on this Cyber Monday, December 2nd, 2013.

Security is a topic that is on everyone’s minds these days — not just personal security and data security, but also national security. Today’s fun fact touches on all of those topics.

Singer-songwriter Teairra Mari celebrates 26 years of nuclear effects upon listeners everywhere.

Did you know that for over 20 years the launch codes for the nuclear missiles in the United States’ arsenal was ? As impossible as that sounds, it’s apparently true.

President John F. Kennedy issued an order that the missiles be fitted with Permissive Action Link (PAL) systems to ensure that they could only be fired if the right code were entered. For whatever reason, the Strategic Air Command bridled under this demand and sabotaged it by resetting all the codes to eight zeros as soon as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara turned his back.

And that wasn’t a one-time event: the codes remained unchanged for approximately two decades, despite the best attempts of people like Bruce G. Blair, himself a former Minuteman launch officer, to bring awareness of security lapses to the attention of Congress.

All these years later, it’s almost impossible to fathom how quick and easy a nuclear firestorm could have been unleashed on the world.

On this date, quite a few famous people have been unleashed upon the world: Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortes (1485-1547); fashion designer Gianno Versace (1946-1997; actress Maria Callas (1923-1977); and pointillist painter Georges Seurat (1859-1891).

NFC South News

Fortunately, none of the teams in this division are total zeros.

Atlanta Falcons

Negotiations for funding what promises to be the most outlandish-looking stadium in the NFL continue apace.

Right now the Atlanta city council is evaluating a plan that will allocate $30 million — half of which will come from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation — to improving poor neighborhoods in the Atlanta area. The city’s sale of $200 million in bonds to fund the new Atlanta Falcons stadium is of a community-improvement plan like this one.

It’s a little crazy to think they are going to spend upwards of $1 billion for something so lacking in grace and beauty. To me this looks like the work of an ambitious architect trying to make as big of a media splash as possible.

They’re calling it a football stadium, but it looks more like a colorful version of the Crystal Cathedral.

Handing out his grades for the Falcons’ third win of the season, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution argues that the in snapping its five-game losing streak. He awards an A to quarterback Matt Ryan (28 of 46 for 311 yards and a touchdown) and the special teams unit. The lowest grades he doles out are Cs to the linebackers and defensive line.

One sour note on the week is that safety William Moore, who has already been fined $75,550 on the year, will probably be assessed yet again for while tackling Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Woods.

Carolina Panthers

After a rough start to the season, the Carolina Panthers have strung together an impressive eight-game winning streak. As Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer points out, the stage has now been set for a between the Panthers and New Orleans Saints that will decide the NFC South divisional crown.

Meanwhile, Scott Fowler dryly observes that Carolina must “lead the league in on key defensive plays.” For the third consecutive week, a defensive penalty — this time on cornerback Drayton Florence — was overturned after being initially called on the field.

He also comments that the Panthers continue to be both lucky and good, which bodes well for their future as the 2013 season winds to a close.

Tom Sorenson thinks that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers underestimated running back Mike Tolbert, and he made them pay, averaging 5.3 yards per carry on his nine rushes. Tolbert is a massive specimen at 245 pounds, and as cornerback Captain Munnerlyn observes, colliding with him feels “.”

The Carolina Panthers defenders seem to have a penchant for getting flags overturned this season.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints are preparing to square off against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football in what will be perhaps the to this point. At 9-2, the Saints currently sit one game behind the Seahawks (10-1) for the top seed in the NFC.

A win tonight would tie things up, with New Orleans holding the coveted head-to-head tiebreaker. It would also give the Saints some breathing room in the NFC South, as it would force Carolina to sweep them in order to snag the divisional crown. A loss would sink New Orleans into a tie with Carolina.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds the record for most 4,000-yard passing seasons — and this year he also set the mark for most yards through the first 12 games of a season — but Saints signal caller Drew Brees has the chance to break a record of his own tonight. If he passes for 353 yards, he will become the first quarterback ever to assemble .

Actress Melissa Archer turns 34 today.

In advance of the contest, running back Darren Sproles (ankle) and defensive end Glenn Foster (knee) are .

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There’s a note of despair running through the articles of Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat writers this morning.

Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune bemoans the for anything the Panthers attempted this weekend. If Carolina went for the short play, they got it. If they tried the deep play, they nailed that too.

As Bucs cornerback Danny Gorrer put it: “We all thought we were going to come in here and take care of business. . . . Instead, we kind of beat ourselves.”

Martin Fennelly adds that after spoiling fans for weeks with his mature style of play, quarterback that torpedoed Tampa Bay’s chances to extend their winning streak.

With one decisive stroke, Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times sweeps away all the fog of media hype. Analyze and pontificate all you want, he maintains, but nothing changes the simple truth: the .

About the author(s)

Rourke Douglas Decker covers the Green Bay Packers beat for Water Cooler Sports. He resides with his family in the Twin Cities. He can be reached for questions or comments at . Connect with .

716 comments
Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

oh goody

coach Marc Trestman said guard Kyle Long played through an ankle sprain on Sunday -- hence the walking boot.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

Seriously, what is so wrong with the Current Georgia dome?

25 years hardly seems like a long enough time to warrant building a completely new stadium. Is the current one really such a piece of crap?

thebaskett
thebaskett

made a great run in my FF i was 13 out of 14 and won 3 in a row to move up to the 6th playoff spot.. At least i know i will not be wearing a dress at the 2014 draft

MIBearFan
MIBearFan moderator

I just got a Whatchamacallit by accident. First one I've ever had.  It's not bad.

thebaskett
thebaskett

anyone have any strange food for thanksgiving?

50CaliberFalconoles
50CaliberFalconoles

GA dome was built in 1992 for 214 million dollars. which is interesting because it was due for over 200 million in repairs soon

←sgunderson17→
←sgunderson17→

I got all excited until I realized the one on the right has a package. 

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

bash them all you want, but that's damn impressive

The have lost one regular season game in the last calendar year, and they have outscored their opponents 499-239

TheHairy1
TheHairy1

Cremated human remains were found on Auburn's field after their incredible victory over Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

Horsely Cyrus
Horsely Cyrus

  

I would stick my face so deep in those asses

Real American Heroes
Real American Heroes

It's amazing how many stadiums are razed before even being paid off. Such gross financial irresponsibility.

robertj72
robertj72

All the losing there is causing serious bad mojo!

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

Your mom gives out Whatchamacallits all the time behind the liquor store.

Horsely Cyrus
Horsely Cyrus

  

I ate PReps moms vagina.  It looked like someone ran over roast beef with a Zamboni

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

That seems like a terrible timespan.

What is so wrong with it that it didn't even last 30 years?

Benjamin Rajile
Benjamin Rajile

Is that a light saber or are you just excited to see me?

thenichels
thenichels

 So, they're due for a loss tonight, right?  RIGHT?  Please tell me that's what this means.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

It was later found to be that of Alabama's Special Teams, after getting horribly burned on Saturday.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 HOF-caliber walking boot.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

That's what I don't get. What is so bad about the current one to warrant a completely new one so soon?

NightStalkerThief
NightStalkerThief

Dude complaining about pats knowing their defensive adjustments

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

  Houston DE, accusing NE of cheating

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

 exactly.  No way in hell these expensive-ass stadiums shouldn't be able to last at least 50 years.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

  I think it means what I've been saying since before the season started... they're the best team in the NFL.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

  more than doubling your opponents' points over the course of a calendar year though?  That's more than 16 games.  Damn impressive.

Real American Heroes
Real American Heroes

I think they're deliberately built poorly for the purposes of planned obsolescence. Keeps the cycle rolling. Think of all the McMansions from the late '80s and '90s that will probably be torn down in the next few years.

thenichels
thenichels

  *fingers in ears* nah nah nah I can't hear you!

Preparation_A
Preparation_A moderator

   

So were the Nazis for a while there.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

  I don't like them either, but they are a damn good team

Preparation_A
Preparation_A moderator

   

It is impressive. Doesn't mean I should like it.