Panthers Look to Have Serious Staying Power

APTOPIX NFC Championship Football

Make no mistake, the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Patriots are indeed a dynasty, and there's no getting around that, love 'em or hate 'em.

Before the Patriots began their run of dominance, the last dynasty in the NFL was that of your Dallas Cowboys, winning three Super Bowl titles in four years and losing a classic in the NFC Championship Game in the one year out of that span they didn't play for the Lombardi Trophy.

As great as the Patriots are, the current version of the Carolina Panthers is very reminiscent of that early 1990s Cowboys dynasty, and it's pretty scary to think about how good the Panthers might be for a good while.

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It all starts at quarterback, and the Panthers have a dynamic one in Cam Newton, who will almost certainly be the NFL MVP this year. He can run, he can shed tacklers and he can deliver absolute darts with his cannon right arm. He does it all, and he's good at everything.

The Panthers also have a strong running game behind a big, bad offensive line and they can kill opponents' will by holding on to the football and never giving it back, winning games by outscoring teams and also by grinding the clock and playing ball-control offense, very much like those Troy Aikman/Emmitt Smith/Michael Irvin Cowboys.

The Panthers' defense has been overshadowed by Newton & Co. on offense, but it's very good and has maybe the two best defensive players going right now in shutdown cornerback Josh Norman and star middle linebacker Luke Keuchly.

Oh, and then there's the scariest part of all of this — Newton doesn't even have a stud wide receiver this year. But he will have one next year as Kelvin Benjamin, who eclipsed 1,000 yards as a rookie in 2014 before being lost in training camp to a season-ending injury, will return in 2016. Just imagine...

The Panthers are going to be around for a long time, it seems, and there is nothing we can do about it.

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