The surprise resignation of Steve Spurrier as Florida's football coach has given Panther fans something to talk about other than the losing streak over this final weekend of the regular season. Spurrier is immediately the hottest name in the NFL for the two existing openings and for any potential openings.
The smart money says he'll stay in Florida and go with either Tampa Bay or Jacksonville. He has turned down the Bucs in the past, but they wouldn't hesitate to call him again. Yes, Tony Dungy is still head coach, but there's a strong feeling that the folks in Tampa would be quick to let him leave for Minnesota if they could lock-up Spurrier or Bill Parcells. Tom Coughlin has had his troubles in Jacksonville this year, but there have been reports that the Jags are ready to give him an extension.
The Panthers have had interest in Spurrier in the past. In fact, they talked with him in the franchise's infancy, while also talking with Joe Gibbs. Eventually, they hired Pittsburgh Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers.
Spurrier would get fans excited about this franchise again, just wait and see what the crowd is like for the New England game Sunday with iffy weather in the forecast, and the chance to become the first team to lose 15 straight games in the same season.
Spurrier has ties to the Carolinas, with his three years as head coach at Duke and family ties in the area. In fact, his parents lived here at one time. The question becomes, how much are the Panthers willing to lay out to get Spurrier, knowing that they'd also have to pay off the last two years of George Seifert's contract and would likely have to hire a General Manager as well.
The popular assumption is that Spurrier would like to stay in the southeast, which would likely put the Panthers second in line behind Tampa Bay.
If there's a wildcard to through out there...how about Washington? We know Daniel Snyder is more than willing to pay whatever it takes, and he's been less than pleased with Marty Schottenheimer's first year in the nations' capital.