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LOCAL HERO 

John Fox

Let's see here. John Fox takes over a Carolina Panthers team that was 1-15 in 2001 and improves their record to 7-9 in 2002. In 2003, he leads them to an 11-5 record, makes the playoffs, defeats Dallas, St. Louis and Philadelphia in short order, and earns his team a spot in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Pretty good season, wouldn't you say? Of course, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were ultimately victorious, but the final score was almost anticlimactic to a town that nearly shut down every time the Cardiac Cats played. Each week, Fox and Co. found ways to win despite seemingly insurmountable odds, relying on a no-flash offense and workmanlike defense that resonated with our conservative little burg. Equal parts strategist and blue-collar motivator, Fox managed to keep his players out of the rap sheet and focused on the stat sheet, something the two Georges -- Shinn and Seifert -- were always at a loss to do. We're probably due for a bit of a letdown this season -- how many close games can one team possibly win? -- but at least we know we have the right man for the job. Thank you, Steve Spurrier!
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