He also was a man of honor. He believed in doing things right. He had good values. He believed in family. No doubt he had been a good son, and a good husband. He had sons of his own, he was going to be a great father. When his dream came true, the father wanted to share his dream with his sons and have them be a part of it.
Things did not go as planned. Early success was quickly followed by bitter disappointment. The disappointment was not just about wins and losses. It was about character and honor and a violation of trust. But he had made a promise to the fans who supported his long-shot dream of bringing an NFL team to the Carolinas. So surely, finding someone who had done it before, can do it for his beloved team. It was not to be.
Wounded, JR returned to his roots. He sought out a trusted friend and found a coach who was traditional, tough, and would do things the right way. He had not been great, but surely these qualities, after being around a championship team, would be just the right thing for JR's team.
The beginning was tremendous. Surely this was it. And then, the Super Bowl. Oh, a loss, but this team will be back. The success was enough to outweigh the glaring mistakes along the way. JR's team had talent, very good talent. But it never progressed. Sometimes the team lost more than it won. JR became heartbroken, in more ways than one.
His team was sick, but privately so was he. He had to trust his people, and most importantly his sons, to carry out his vision. Painfully, JR, a few weeks away from a life saving heart transplant, likely had to call upon every cell of energy his body could muster to watch his beloved team suffer one of the most embarrassing playoff losses ever. Only one thing could be worse than this.
Who thinks that it is a coincidence that JR got his new heart on Super Bowl Sunday?
There is nothing that creates an awareness of one's own mortality more than a problem with one's heart. A heart transplant is an incredible shock and trauma to one's system physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It could only be understood by someone who has experienced it. We can only try to imagine what it is like to literally get a second chance at life because some has lost theirs, and then having to wonder everyday how long that chance will last. I imagine that perspective and focus take on an entirely new meaning.
JR looked at his life. He looked at his dreams. There had to be one thing left. Can you imagine how sad it must have been for him to take a good look at his dream and the people he had trusted with it and realize that they had let him down? And then, can you imagine how hard it was for JR, a man of honor and strong family values to realize that his own sons had let him down? Next imagine what he went through in making the decision to fire them. It had to be the hardest thing he has ever done. It had to be a very, very sad day for him. We were all shocked.
JR is determined to do things the right way. He is also determined to see his team be the champion. He then did something he has never done before. He got more involved in decisions about his team. He no longer trusted the vision of his coach. In fact, that vision,or lack of it, had made a mess of his team. So now JR had to start cleaning up the mess. He had to position his team to become a winner. (You know in his soul his dream is to build a dynasty.) He imposed bold decisions, at least as far as the old way. Remember, this is a man with a new heart, a new perspective, and a new deadline. Still he treated his coach honorably even though he was not the future. His last mistake was in believing he was a better coach than he is.
JR has taken a lot of criticism this year. Some have even said that he does not care about winning, just saving money. Can you imagine JR firing his sons if that was the case? JR is positioning this team to be a champion. His next coach will be someone he believes in, period. Money will not be a factor.
JR's literal change of heart has likely lead to a new future for the Panthers. I believe the future will be bright and I hope that JR is the heart of this team for many years to come. I respect JR and I trust him. He will get this team where we all want it to be.
Edited by ladypanther, 09 November 2010 - 09:58 PM.