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No Doubt About It

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
May 16, 2024 6:31 pm

No Doubt About It

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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May 16, 2024 6:31 pm

On a Thursday Drive, Josh breaks down why the Panthers schedule shook out exactly the way they wanted, tells why the Rangers will be more the story in Game 6 then the Canes, Hayers Permar, of Sports Channel 8, joins the show to play a "New York themed" Skips or Plays, reacts to how transparent Jim Phillips was about the ACC's TV deal with ESPN, yesterday, writer for Panthers.com, Darin Gantt, joins the show to discuss the inside process of the Panthers schedule reveal, and voice of Charlotte FC, Will Palaszczuk, joins the show to discuss the Panthers having no prime time games in their schedule.


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Yes, Josh Graham has opinions. There is nothing that entertains the audience and the masses more than me being bothered. And yes, he's got attitude.

Really, none of the game made sense to me. And that's exactly why you love him. When this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together. You're on The Drive with Josh Graham. You are on a Thursday drive at his WSJS, Deuce Talk Sports for the Triad, where it is a Carolina Hurricanes game day. Plus, the 106th PGA Championship teed off.

Today in Louisville, we'll get to both those items shortly and throughout the show. But it can wait because we now have the 2024 complete NFL schedule in our hands. And from a fan perspective, a lot of the reaction towards the Carolina Panthers schedule was disappointment. Because the first thing you look at, when are the primetime games? Carolina doesn't have any of those.

One o'clock, four o'clock, Sunday games across the board. However, from a competitive standpoint, this is exactly the kind of schedule Dave Canales wanted. Carolina could not have asked for more. It certainly did not hurt them.

It likely will end up helping them, and this is why. They have four prep advantages on the schedule to just two disadvantages. This is looking at rest disparities between games. Don't want to get too caught up in the weeds, but I can assure you, this is what players and coaches are looking at when they are assessing how good their schedule is. What breaks the league gave them.

Here are the four advantages. They get the Washington commanders with Washington coming off of a Monday Night Football game a short week. They get Kansas City on the second of back-to-back road games while Carolina is coming off of a bye. Dallas will be on a short week too, coming off Monday Night Football. Tampa Bay will be facing the Panthers coming off of a road Sunday Night game in Dallas. This is the advantage of not playing primetime games, of just playing one o'clock, four o'clock on Sunday.

You don't have as many rest disparities in the negative sense. Carolina will not face one team this year coming off of a bye week. Nobody they play will have just come off of a bye. The only two rest disparities out there, they will play Atlanta coming off of a Thursday night game so they get three additional days of rest. They will get Denver coming off of a Thursday night game.

That's it. Carolina with more rest advantages, more prep disparity in a positive sense than disparities in the disadvantage sense. They also don't play a playoff team from last year until week 11.

That's right. Look at the schedule. The Kansas City Chiefs are the first team Carolina will face that made the playoffs last year.

And that is played way into November. The first three opponents aren't that good. New Orleans, that's a toss up in the NFC South. The Chargers will be playing west coast to east coast one o'clock game in week two.

And then you get Vegas. They don't have much of a home field advantage. They're working in a new coach as well. Then you get Cincinnati at home. But again, it's at home. That's much more manageable than what Carolina threw at a rookie quarterback in Bryce Young last year. Hey, go to Atlanta, open up with two division games, and then after that second division game, short week across the country to Seattle. That's not easy at all.

This is a lot more manageable than that. The most difficult opponents on the schedule come after a late bye week and most of them are at home. Teams love having a late bye. Carolinas, of course, comes after playing November the 10th against the Giants in Germany. Then you get Kansas City. Kansas City starts a stretch of four playoff teams in five games. But four of those games will be played at Bank of America Stadium. So really, there aren't many negatives to point out with the schedule. Would you have loved to have a primetime game? Sure. But from a competitive sense, this schedule, it's one of the better schedules in the NFL in terms of how manageable it is and how few disadvantages there are and where they sat the opponents and when those games happen and how often Carolina's going on the road down the stretch.

Carolina could not have asked for more on their schedule than what they got last night. Join us at WSJS radio if you want in. That's where we're streaming video in addition to YouTube and Twitch.

Will Dalton, he's the executive. What are you laughing about? We got golf updates. I don't know if you knew this, but the PGA Championship going on right now.

I mentioned that. And you should know, Scottie Scheffler, an eagle on hole one, or his first hole, playing like he's the championship's daddy right now. Getting to the scoreboard, though, Xander Shafley leading the way.

He's finished, actually, most of these guys have finished their rounds for the day. 62 Xander Shafley right now. Nine under par. Tony Finau. Finau. Six under.

Where he be now? Sahid Thigala. Seth Tagala. He's six under, too. And then Rory McIlroy.

He's five under and so is Robert McIlroy. Rory. I said Rory. You said Roy. I said Rory.

Maybe he's just fast for you. Thank you. There's your golf update. Perfectly useful.

All of that. Needed all that information. Really appreciated that.

You're welcome. Got my Carolina Hurricanes No. 26 Eric Cole jersey on in case anybody doubted whether or not I'm a real one. The compelling aspect of Canes Rangers Game 6 tonight actually… Oh, come on.

Haha. You were saying? The Canes aren't the compelling team tonight. The Rangers are. Because nobody knows which Rangers team is going to show up tonight. This is a testament to Rod Brind'Amour as a coach. Because Carolina is the model of consistency. You know exactly what you're going to get from the Canes game in, game out.

Almost to a detriment. We know that the power play is probably going to be bad again tonight. Let's hope that it's not going to lead to a puck being put in Carolina's net again.

Shorthanded. But the Canes? They play to a style. They're going to put a lot of pucks on net. They're going to kick your butt in 5 on 5. They're goaltending. Going to make the big save but likely leave some big rebound opportunities. But, having as good of a backline as they have to swat some of those rebounds out, Carolina tends to be pretty good at.

They are the model of consistency. The New York Rangers are not. And all the pressure is going to be on New York tonight. Let's just remember, Monday night, it was a lower pressure situation. Third period, up a goal, chance to close out, lower pressure. And when Carolina tied the game, Jordan Stahl scoring that goal, it led to a tsunami collapse. It led to four goals almost immediately.

A complete collapse. And the 3-0 stuff wasn't really being talked about then. It's going to be a central storyline tonight on TNT. Tonight is when the three games to nothing stuff, the history, the four other teams that have done it in NHL history, that becomes a real conversation. And since the Rangers didn't do all that well with the pressure on Monday, interested to see what they come out looking like tonight. The Rangers stars.

This has been the difference in the series, really, when things started to flip. The Rangers stars have disappeared in the last two games. No points in either of those games from Chris Kreider or Vinny Trochak, the former game. Remember we heard about, oh, Vinny Trochak scored in every single game in these playoffs and had the OT winner in Game 2.

Well, no points in either of the last two. Same for Kreider. And where's Mika Zabinejad been? Remember the stat, oh, the Rangers don't allow more than three goals in the playoffs with Igor Shostakin.

Well, that's happened back-to-back games now. So, we know what we're getting from Carolina. Carolina is going to win the game tonight. But is it going to be an OT game that's really close and New York coming out with a lot of pride? Or is it going to be Carolina building off what it did in the third period, the Rangers not responding that well to pressure, with there being more of it tonight, and Carolina winning this game going away? Out of the two options, I lean the ladder. Now, I'm not going to pick them to win by four or five goals, something like that.

Wouldn't rule it out, though. Give me Carolina by a couple of goals. Canes 3, Rangers 1, later tonight. A lot of stuff to do today. Darin Gant, panthers.com, he'll join us in about 20 minutes. Getting into more of the schedule. Charlotte FC on WSJS, a big win last night. Will Pelagic, that guy, he'll join us next hour as they seem to be rolling. A lot to talk about in the Queen City right now. Last week he said, hey, Charlotte should hire Charles Lee.

And then a day later, Charlotte hired Charles Lee to be its basketball coach. And then we'll play skips or plays with our buddy Hayes Permar. Do we have a theme for skips or plays with Hayes this week?

I think it should be a New York-themed skips or plays. Because the Canes are playing the Rangers? That's right. Makes sense. Just got done playing the Islanders. If you want to go the scheduling route, the marquee game on the Panthers schedule. The Giants in Germany.

So that makes a lot of sense. Hayes Permar, joining us from Sports Channel 8. We'll play skips or plays with Hayes momentarily. Hayes, it's Game 6 tonight. The Canes have a chance to erase a 3-0 deficit and force a Game 7 Saturday night at MSG. What is your level of confidence in the Canes right now?

Tonight, it's huge. They're going to win. I don't think they'll necessarily blow the doors off the Rangers, but they're going to win. It's going to be a tight game. Might even be another overtime game, but I am supremely confident that the Canes will win tonight and then just get obliterated in Game 7.

I'm calling it. They win the night and then blown out in Game 7. Maybe they go down like 3-0. Maybe even crawl back into it 3-2, but then lose like 5-2 in Game 7. That's how it's going to go.

Let me ask you this then. If that is in fact Carolina's fate, would you have rather have gotten swept and have it ended last Saturday? No, swept would have been bad taste, but I'd rather go ahead and lose tonight than to get the hopes up of coming all the way back, tie a 3-3. Again, if we don't end up getting blown out, if it goes to Game 7 and it's overtime, then win or lose, you'd have to say, I wanted the ride. I would rather lose tonight than get blown out in Game 7. If we're just going to lay an egg in Game 7, let's go now. I would not have wanted a sweep.

We needed to show a little bit of backbone even if we come up short. I don't want to be prisoner of the moment, but if there is a Game 7 Saturday, is that the second biggest hockey game in Carolina Hurricanes history? Game 7 at home for the Stanley Cup being number one, but is that bigger than the Red Wings where it went to overtime, the other Stanley Cup? Weren't we in another Eastern Conference final at one point? Are you saying since the Stanley Cup or even the previous time when we were in the Stanley Cup? Yeah, I'm saying is this the second biggest game? I guess they'd have to win it. If they win it, is that the second greatest accomplishment in team history even more than going to another Stanley Cup, erasing a 3-0 deficit against the president's trophy winners?

No, because the 3-0 mystique, we know this. It's not nearly as big a deal in hockey as it is other places. Four times in 100 years. Okay, but in the NBA, it's like never happened, right? Never happened in the NBA one time in baseball 20 years ago.

That's what I mean. It's like hockey, it's four times in 100 years, but also like three times in the last... Since 2010. Yeah, yeah, so it's not... No, tying a series up... It would be the third time since 2010, so it's happened twice since then.

2010, 2004, 1975, 1942. Those are the other times it's happened. It doesn't feel like as big a deal. Yes, I think you're prisoner of the moment if you're calling this one of the biggest games in...

I mean, as big as us hosting a Stanley Cup game or a conference final game. Let's get... W.D. has a New York themed Skips or Plays with Hayes lined up for you because the Panthers are facing the Giants in Germany and the Canes, of course, for the second straight series playing a New York team. Are you ready to go? To Germany? No, are you ready to go for the Skips or Plays?

Oh, yes, yes, I'm ready, yes. Hayes Permar is somewhat of a Renaissance man, an expert in the finer things, but he hangs his hat on music. He loves his God and he's no friend of Satan. He was like, oh, six, getting busy with his sticks, been watching Big Mike and Lil Trinket trip. I just need a Zion and someone he can dunk on. Today Hayes will decide if this music is smash or trash, blows or blows. It's time for Skips or Plays with Hayes. If New York, New York is on the list, let's just knock this out now, you Yankee... Gosh, he's a Yankee fan.

It's frustrating. If that's on the list, can we just do it? Can we just do it now?

Oh, we're not doing New York, New York. Okay. Can you take me for some kind of basic guy? I thought you were basic. Am I basic to you? You're a Yankee fan.

Are you pulling a Pesci with a different word? You're a Yankee fan too? I'm a Yankees fan. No, you're not. They're doing good, huh?

Name three players. Come on. Like right now? Yeah. Come on. Aaron Judge. Yeah. Shoot. Yankee fan Hayes Permar.

Yeah, but you've got to ask me to name three people on any team. Noted. Noted on. We got a good pitch. Cole in there. Garrett. Garrett Cole. Boom. That counts. Last name.

Don't give him any picks. Hold on. Hold on. There was a guy... I know.

I could actually get one. There was a guy that played for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans a few years ago. That's the place we love guys. Da, da, da, da, da, da, da. And his name is... Hold on. Let's get him. Hey, there it is.

I want to be a part of it. Juan Soto. Remember the name. John Carlos Stanton. Noted Yankee Tar Heel fan Aaron Boone, who was wearing... Mac Brown apparently got him into the Duke Carolina game, and WD and I were just standing there on the concourse waiting whether or not to go down to postgame, figuring out if the game was over. And WD's like, that's Aaron Boone. And surely enough, it was Aaron Boone.

All right. Here's my thing on Yankees fandom for me personally. I'm the only boy in my family, not a big sports family, got two older sisters, so I got no older siblings telling me these are the cool teams or these are the teams you shouldn't pull for or whatever. And then at nine years old, at the time that you're getting into baseball cards and discovering baseball and playing baseball and loving baseball and actually watching baseball, I was put on a little league team called the Yankees. I don't understand sports. I don't know what bandwagon fans are. I just know my team's name is the Yankees and there's another team called the Yankees. So that's the team I pull for. And then by the time you're like 16 and you're like, oh, I probably should be pulling for the Braves.

I live in the South. You're like, no, you know, you're already a fan of the Yankees and so you're a Don Mattingly guy and you're a Dave Winfield in the eighties. You know what I mean? You didn't know, I didn't know that I was just choosing the evil empire, huge city team. That's just the name of my little league team. That's what I went with.

So I stood by it. Haven't won a world series in 15 years. What's the first thing you have for us? New York theme.

So notable artists from New York, Jay-Z, let's start off with some dirt off your shoulder. Nice censorship. Thank you. I like this album, isn't that the black album?

Yep. I never really liked this song that much. I'm skipping it. Jay-Z's got better hits. We're skipping this.

Hate it. Sorry, W.D. I agree with him.

There are a lot better Jay-Z songs than that. If you came out of the box with Heart of the City, I think you're getting a play. Oh, come on. Oh, you think I'm basic? Well, that's why I didn't pull it.

Dirt off your shoulder isn't basic. What's next? Yeah. Producer host drama here going on. Oh, it's constant. Never stops. We're fist fighting.

We are. Christina Aguilera. She's from New York? She's from New York as well. Genie in a bottle.

I'm more of a all I want is you guy, but this is better, so I'll play it. Christina been up to. She's still putting out new music.

I don't know. Isn't she a judge on The Voice? I don't know if she's even that anymore, but Gunnar Gunnar Henderson, who's going to win an MVP one day for the Orioles. His walk up song is the sweet escape, and it's always great hearing on the TV broadcast. You can't hear the music, but you can hear the fans go.

That's a great, great walk up song. I love Chris, but I just realized now that's actually Gwen Stefani that did the sweet escape. I was going to correct you on that one, but I thought you were just throwing in reality TV judges in general. I get those two mixed up. I get Gwen and Christina mixed up. They're both great singers. They're both blondes. They look the same. They both were associated with Blake Shelton. One was on The Voice and one dated him. This is off. This is easy to confuse.

No, no, no. Gwen was in a band though. Christina was always Christina.

WD named the band Gwen Stefani was in. We did this before. No doubt we did.

Give me a hit. No doubt that you know this. I just did. I just said the name of it. I just said the name of the group. It's no doubt.

No doubt. There you go. You see? You nailed it.

I just said it out loud. You did that last time we did that too. That's great.

Oh yeah. We play the hits. That's what we do.

All right. We got one hit, one nah. What's next? Let's switch up genres here.

The Beastie Boys, they originated out of New York as well. Restless. Fight for your right. Your pops quite your smoking man he says no way. What was he? That pippa Chris smokes two packs a day. Now the Travis Kelce anthem. Aw.

Man living at home is such a trend. You gotta fight. You edited out one specific line there. I see why. That's a play.

Gotta love the Beastie Boys. Do we have the David Tepper drop? Because I was thinking about the Panthers schedule. Three games. So three games on the Panthers schedule stand out. The Germany game on November the 10th against the Giants.

Carolina's first ever trip to Vegas late September. Then a few days before Thanksgiving Patrick Mahomes will be making his maiden voyage at Bank of America Stadium. Who knows? Maybe Taylor Swift's there. Right, David Tepper? What's the deal?

What happened? Oh, now we're going to get Taylor Swift, but just for a football game? If you can prioritize attending one of those three. Chiefs at home, first time ever in Charlotte. They won't be back in Charlotte until 2032. The trip to Vegas, Carolina's first in September, or going to Germany to watch the Panthers play the Giants.

Which of the three would you prioritize? I mean, the cost is no issue. I can go to any one of them. Yeah. I'm taking a trip to Germany.

Right? Vegas sounds fun. I mean, Vegas is fun, but I can go to Vegas and have fun and not see the Panthers.

I guess you can do that in Germany too. Every eight years. Every eight years you can watch the Panthers play in Vegas. Never been there before.

But no. Give me Germany. I do think it'd be cool to witness one of these international crowds watching the game. It's funny what they like. The nuances of when they cheer for him, what sets them off. And they all sing John Denver. The question is, are they going to do Sweet Caroline?

Because it's technically a Panther home game. I'll tell you what will make me fist fighting mad. If they play the Darius Rucker version of Wagon Wheel and get people singing along in Germany, that will take me over the top if that's what happens.

And everybody there is singing, rocks me mama like she Wagon Wheel. I will not enjoy that. I need David Temper being over there like, I brought democracy to Germany, to East Germany. I am the one. We respond. We're very proud of that.

Yes, yes, rama rock me. Don't let him do that again. Let's go to the sidelines. Tony Haines.

I loves the Brycion. Let's go to the sidelines. Tony Haines.

He's so small. I'm just glad it's not during Oktoberfest because then we'd be doing what type of beer David Temper would be throwing on the fans in Germany. Alright, Permar, thanks for doing this.

I'll be on a boat next week, so I won't be talking to you next week. Alright, I've got a prediction for you. Game winning goal tonight, Marcus Page. He always delivers in PNC. Marcus Page for the games tonight. Get him on the ice. Get him on the ice. He gets it done in PNC. He never lets you down. Assisted by Luke May.

That's what's going to happen tonight. Alright, Haines. Thanks for doing this. Thanks, guys. Now comes the moment you have all been waiting for.

Alright, whenever you're ready. This is The Drive with Josh Kraft. We'll get back to the NFL schedule release when Darin Gant, Panthers.com, joins us. They did a lot of interesting things on their social media last night. As interesting as, say, the LA Chargers. I don't know, where they listed all their opponents as if they were Pop-Tart flavors and they put Bryce Young side-by-side with the Eaton Pop-Tart from the Pop-Tarts Bowl.

Oh, no. That wasn't great. They had the video where, of course, everybody is having fun with Harrison Buttger and his speech from over the weekend that, I'm a little surprised, is controversial and people care that much about. But they have him in the kitchen when they announced... You didn't see this? No, I didn't see the Chargers. They had Harrison Buttger in the kitchen as a Sims character.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I did see that. Schedule release. A lot of creative stuff. But we'll talk about what the Panthers did when Darin Gant joins us in a bit. At the close of ACC spring meetings yesterday, Jim Phillips was revealing on the ACC's television strategy. Most importantly, Phillips shared details about the ESPN contract. For context, prior to yesterday, all the answers related to questions in regards to the TV deal. No comment.

Those are private. We're not going to talk about those deals. Not even specifying the length of the contract.

Not even making that point clear. Until yesterday, when Phillips said this, The contract runs through 36 and we're working internally with them on a piece of the contract. I can't go into the details on it, but the partnership's not going away or going to be affected in a negative light at all or in a negative way at all. It's just a look in and we're handling some of what that particular element of the contract states. Okay. He's talking about a look in.

What's a look in? It was revealed in court from Florida State's Hail Mary legal attempt that there is, ESPN has a contractual out if they want it from their contract. So some are thinking, oh, ESPN is going to decline this deal because if they do, then Florida State can get out of the grant of rights and they could do something special with Florida State and do something to make them happy and Clemson happy. Except nobody's really explained why that best benefits ESPN. Oh, do you know what will best benefit ESPN? Having to pay more than what you're paying right now for Florida State and Clemson.

That's great. A lot better than having a sweetheart deal that goes for another 11 years or another dozen years. That would not be what's best for ESPN.

Come on. So Jim Phillips, he dismissed that out of hand. Not worried about it, not concerned. This does seem like an FSU Hail Mary legally. That's probably not going to work. Phillips essentially said, hey, that's not happening. The look in's not going to turn into a destruction of this ESPN contract. It goes through 2036 and nobody has presented really a good reason for us to settle with FSU, present them a number, same thing for Clemson. So they could be mad all they want, but they signed the paper and it's going to hold up in court because if it doesn't hold up in court, then all the other contracts across sports probably aren't as ironclad either, which will just create chaos across the marketplace.

And that's something that nobody wants. Certainly not at the, just to appease two schools like FSU and Clemson. This part though, on the ACC Network strategy, this is a pretty big omission by Jim Phillips. Maybe slightly responding to our show a little bit here, I think.

You be the judge. They understand when I came here, I got crucified because except the future was dictated by football and the basketball coaches were really upset and other sports. And so what are we going to, well, just, just take a look at what we're doing.

Social success initiatives and the dollars. But to further that, when you look at ACC Network, the huddle, right, that we have, the preseason venture that we've committed to, the two signing dates, the spring games, if you look at the network, it's dominated by football appearances. We know.

This is the part where we were, so this is the part that's kind of amazing. We love Dave Claussen around here. We do.

Wake Forest coach. But we don't like some of the things that he says. We don't agree with him on everything.

Now that's not uncommon. You could disagree with people all the time. Dave Claussen's view on playing road group of five teams. We don't agree with that. He thinks that ACC team shouldn't play that.

Okay. Well, this, the context of this question was Dave Claussen. This is according to this reporter. I had not seen the comment, so I want to be fair to Dave. I don't want to take him out of context. But what this reporter claimed was that Dave Claussen thinks some of the perception problem that the ACC's had is from their media partnership with ESPN.

In other words, they're not doing enough on the ESPN side, on the ACC side, to prioritize football. So with that in mind, let's just hear the first five seconds of this again. Let's hear that clip one more time. They understand when I came here, I got crucified because the future will be dictated by football. So he was saying, hey, I got crucified by four-eyed freaks like Josh Graham telling me that. And did you notice the other omission there? He admitted basketball coaches were upset about it. Rightfully so. Yeah. So that's him essentially saying, Dave Claussen, or whoever might suggest it, we can't be any more all in on football than we are right now.

What do you want us to do that we haven't already done? Saturday afternoons at 1 o'clock, noon, I'm at the Smith Center with W.D. and there are screens on the ACC network and you've got Eric MacLean on the screen breaking down Louisville's schedule. Louisville! On a Saturday in February.

We love you, Emac. I mean, come on. Oh, yeah. We don't prioritize football enough.

Said nobody. At least make a Clemson. Yes. There you go. He said, and I'm not going to let him out that easy, oh, I got crucified for only saying that we would, football would lead us financially. That's not what he said. He said, our conference, this is his first press conference, our conference is going to be football 365, 24-7. And all I thought is why on earth would you say that publicly, given the reputation of the ACC? It just was not a smart thing to say. When you're reputation, like, hey, here's my first press conference.

I'm going to urinate on the identity of this conference for the first 70 years of his existence by saying we're a football league now, yeah. You don't have to say that. It doesn't help you really at all. Just hurts you.

So it just wasn't smart PR from that standpoint. But before we welcome Darren Gant to the show, looking at tonight's slate, there are three big games tonight. Obviously the Canes are top to billing. Who's going to be on this iron? Do we have that yet? No, I mean, no, they usually drop that around right before five o'clock.

So we can make guesses as to what that might be. Actually, they just announced it now. Do you want to take any guesses at who the siren sounders are going to be? Do we have Michael O'Connell? No, but that was going to be my first guess. What if I said one of the guests or one of the sirens, siren sounders, was a guest on the show earlier this week? Oh, Dan Morgan?

Guess again. Oh, man. I would love to see him fire that thing up.

That would be fun. Yeah. Geez. William Byron? William Byron will be on the second period siren tonight. Nice.

That makes sense. North Wilkesboro. Dave Doran will be on the first period siren tonight. Doreen Ritie will.

Yeah. And I saw this guy last week in Charlotte sitting at Steve Smith and Dave Canales' table. Carolina Panthers great Jonathan Stewart will be on the third period siren. That's a good roster right there. It's pretty good. Good roster. Take us home, Jonathan Stewart.

Do that. To the house. So, the Canes, they are obviously top billing. Wish we could be there tonight. Hard to get there for seven o'clock puck drop.

Yeah, I was kind of bummed out about that. I lead a Bible study on Thursday nights at my house and the Lord is testing me. Are you going to have the game on? I mean, I think we might be able to catch the first 30 minutes of the game and then we'll turn off the TV and then when we get done going over some things then maybe at the closing stretch of things we'll turn it back on. I think I'm going to be blind from about 730 to 830. That hour span there. Going to be blind tonight. You're not going to be able to make it either sadly.

No. But that's the big one tonight. Then you got the Nuggets, chance to clinch.

I think they're going to. Minnesota, they've been broken. You've lost three in a row.

You lost two at home. The Joker's crushing you. You have no answer if you're Rudy Gobert. Why are you making those faces?

I think it's going to go game seven. Not making another lunch bet. You don't want to do that?

Not going to do it. Oh. I already got my lunch for tomorrow. Thank you. And then I'm going on a cruise.

Where's the I'm on a boat when we need it. So the Nuggets, they're going to clinch tonight against Minnesota. That's the one NBA game we have tonight. And then, for good measure, there's game five between Edmonton and Vancouver. That series, that's been a fun one, even at two games apiece. So we haven't had any of the four playoff series in the NHL punch tickets, finish up and any teams advance to the conference finals. Only one in the NBA thus far. That was the Celtics last night advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Nobody in hockey has done so just yet, but those are the three big games later on tonight. Avid Brothers? Let's go.

Once I was a carpenter. Darin Gant, fan of the Avid Brothers, fan of just good music from panthers.com joins us now. After we get done chatting with Darin, we have a date, a release date for the new college football video game that we will tell you about. But going from the college football video game to the release of the NFL schedule, there are two schools of thought on this, Darin, on the importance of the schedule release. There are some who dismiss it out of hand, saying, we already know the opponents. This is just the NFL doing NFL things and making a primetime event out of everything, it seems. And then there's the other school of thought, well, there can actually be real advantages and disadvantages that come from your schedule, given rest disparity, prep disparities, when certain road games are played, when you play, who are supposed to be the better teams. Where do you stand on the significance of the schedule dropping? You know, I could, I could channel some old John Fox and say, you know, it's not who you play, it's when you play, or when you play, it's who you play.

No, I don't know. Whichever way it was. I think it's okay. I mean, it's what you want to make of it. It's a little bit of a Rorschach test. Is it over the top? Is it too much? Of course it is. Are there things to glean from it? Sure. I think the biggest thing for me is it's important because fans believe it's important because now it's real.

Now it's tangible. You can say, okay, we're going to Vegas in September. We're making our plans to fly to Germany on November 10th, that kind of stuff.

So I think from that standpoint, it's important. I mean, as you break down the schedule, I had two immediate thoughts when I looked at that thing yesterday as it pertained to the Carolina Panthers. The first was all games on Sunday, yay, no night games.

Darren hates night games. But as it pertains to the team, all Sundays mean regular rest. You're never at that four day disadvantage, coming off a Thursday night game into a short week. So it works out pretty well for them. They've got a couple of games against teams who play Monday nights while they're sitting at home with a full week's rest.

So there are advantages for that team. But now the other thing that jumped out at me about that schedule for the Panthers is it's a good chance early on for a young team with a brand new head coach and a brand new offense and a lot of brand new offensive skill people to kind of settle in. You don't play a team that made the playoffs last year until after the bye week. You get three rookie quarterbacks in the first two months of the season. You get a Raiders team that's either going to be starting Gardner, Minshew or Aiden O'Connell at quarterback early on.

So it gives Bryce Young and Dave Canales and those guys a chance to kind of ease into it a little bit. And, you know, more than the back half of the schedule because coming out of the bye five out of your seven games against playoff teams. The Kansas City Chiefs home game. When the Germany game first was announced, it seemed like it was going to be Kansas City.

And then maybe we helped lead this. There was an uproar against it saying, hold a minute, the way the NFL schedule works, you don't play a team but every four years, which means you don't get them at home but every eight. If they play in Germany, you better hope Patrick Mahomes is still on the team in 2032 or that guy's never going to play in Charlotte. From an ambassador standpoint to the league, you probably need to have that guy play in every stadium he gets a chance to, especially the NFC teams.

How important do you know it to be in that building that certain games were protected on that schedule, the home games? I think there's also the matter of Kansas City's trying to get a little foothold in Germany too. I know the Giants are kind of new to the German rights game and they're kind of a recent entry into that market. But the Carolina Panthers are trying to get their foot in the door in Germany. That's a designated marketing area for them also. So because the Chiefs also have territorial rights to Germany, you don't want to turn it in to a Chiefs home game when it's technically one of yours. So I think there's some business on both sides of the pond in that.

I think that's a minor consideration. Everybody kind of wants to see certain games at home knowing it's going to be a good gate, knowing you're going to see certain people. But I do think the international business component of this one was a factor in that one as well.

Yeah, Taylor Swift might actually be at Bank of America Stadium for once, just throwing that out there as well, who knows. Going to the team's content strategy, you guys really led the charge on a lot of things a few years ago and then now it seems it's been taken to a lot of extremes. There were three different videos I saw you guys put out where you had, we kind of were let behind the scenes of how coaches and like administrators find out what the schedule looks like from a league call and Bryce Young and Derek Brown are in the room. There's another one where guys are painting each other, which led to, I mean, a lot of interesting hijinks. That was fun. That was your fun video. And then, I didn't realize until now, 30th season of Panthers football and you have all these highlights against the teams that Carolina's playing that was stitched together in a video.

What went into deciding what you guys were going to do? Well, I mean, without boring all your listeners with a lot of digital content strategy, I think, you know, it is interesting. The league has kind of gotten into this arms race of schedule release videos and the Chargers are out there doing Chargers stuff every year and that's their thing.

That's their lane that they've carved out. There is an argument to be made that in doing that, you're kind of doing that for an audience of 31, which are the rest of the content teams in the league versus what can we do to connect to our fans? And I think we went into it very deliberately to say, hey, we know there's a lot of different ways to look at this schedule and there is a significant nostalgia factor. There is a significant fun, you know, let's get to know these guys without their helmets on factor. And again, may we all have a shy total in our life to paint us as if we're Derek Brown and have a little fun with things. And Xavier Legette is going to be a gift that keeps on giving.

That guy's a beaut already. We're having a load of fun with him. So I think there's a lot of different ways to look at it. We were very intentional about let's not enter the arms race, let's not try to be hyperproduced and spend a pile of money and make a seven minute video that a lot of people around the league are just kind of watching to see how it compares to theirs, not necessarily watching because they're a fan of the Carolina Panthers and crave that information. Makes sense. Give me something that was on the cutting edge floor. Give me an idea that didn't quite make the cut. Let's see, you know, one of the things I proposed, and nobody went for this, but I proposed a very minimalist approach to schedule release where we would have put Derek Brown and Bryce Young in front of a green screen and one of them would have said week one and the other one would have said at New Orleans. And just have them tape it in advance like on some random Tuesday in February because you knew what all these matchups were and then just kind of edit them together after the fact.

That was my suggestion to lean out of the arms race and get out of this business of trying to one up the other social departments, you know, stuff like that. I think there were a lot of ideas. One thing about creatives, when you get writers and video people and social media specialists in the same room, you get a lot of good ideas and there's probably stuff, I don't want to give away too much of the good stuff because you might see it next year.

I get it. Darren Gant, any concerts on the horizon? I'm going to be on a cruise this weekend or else I'd be at the Bill Burr show, if you're interested in going to see Bill Burr and Winston-Salem, let me know. But Saturday night, yeah, that was something I was looking forward to until I realized I'll be out of the country. June's actually stacking up to be a pretty busy month. I think later on in June, I've got Frank Turner, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, and the Drive-By Truckers doing the Southern Rock Opera retrospective tour all in the same week.

So I better get some sleep between now and then because that's going to be a big one. But yeah, there's a lot of cool stuff coming up. Good to see you, Darren. Went to Foo Fighters the other night. Really good show. Oh, you were there.

Jealous. Went overtime. Played pretty much a three hour show.

Did he play Walk? Oh yeah. Love that song. Yeah. That's a great song.

A little bit of a deep cut. It's a great song. Darren Gant, you're a beaut. Really do appreciate you spending the time.

Happy to do it anytime, boys. The Drive with Josh Graham, only on WSJS. On WSJS, Charlotte FC won Chicago, no score. Charlotte FC on a bit of a roll.

And they're going to be at home this weekend, I believe, against LA Galaxy. So we welcome in Will Pelagic, who, if you're watching on video right now, YouTube, Twitch, and on X, you can see he has a decked out backdrop, his new office setup. Man, what do we got behind you? So directly behind me is basically all the credentials I'd had up to a certain point.

I think we stopped counting them around the 2018, 2019 period. And the one that's in the middle is the one from the Super Bowl that I went to. I went to see the, let's see what I covered, the Brady versus the Falcons 28-3 debacle. That one's kind of in the middle. And I also have the final four from the previous spring there, which was one that I know North Carolina fans don't want to think about, the one that had the Page and Chris Jenkins scenario there. But to my right is a scarf rack, and to my left is a Charlotte FC flag. And right there, as I try to get my weatherman skills up there, is a commemorative jersey from the Charlotte FC inaugural season.

So a lot of good stuff up there. Charlotte FC won its first road match of the year. They have earned nine points in their last 11 days. Kind of crazy.

Nice haul. Yeah. How has this changed the picture for Charlotte FC or your view of them at all? Well, I think the one thing that it's proven, Josh, is that they can get points and get results in a scenario that they basically put themselves in where they've been without designated players. And I think that's something that we had a big question mark about once we found out that the club was intending to sell, and it hasn't gone through just yet, but he already kind of said his goodbyes publicly. But the sale of Enzo Capetti to Rosario Central, I think there was a big concern about how the club would react with basically two months of really time without a DP-level striker. Patrick Adjumon has provided a very big boost from that position, getting the full starting job.

And they've also filled in the margins around him. Nikola Pekovic scored his first MLS goal a couple of weeks ago. You saw Ashley Westwood score a goal that's up for MLS goal of the week. And they played the requisite defense to stop it.

And I know that Kalina will get all the accolades and, believe me, all the high marks for that last save there at the end to preserve the clean sheet against Chicago. But outside of that save and the one they had to make against Portland's Christian Paredes, he hasn't really been tested all that much, which is a credit to Charlotte FC's defense. They've played compact, they've played organized, and they've done what Dean Smith professed to do when he first joined the club and say, we want to be very, very tough to beat.

They very much have been in the last three. Will Pelagic with us here. Listen to him and Jess Jarman's Saturday night as Charlotte FC faces LA Galaxy. The Carolina Panthers, in the same building as Charlotte FC, released their 2024 schedule. Got all the schedules yesterday for that fact.

What was your big takeaway, if you have one, for the Panthers schedule? We're going to be doing everything in the daytime is my biggest takeaway. Which I'm fine with. I don't understand.

OK. I get why people want primetime games. I know why. They don't like the messaging that's behind it and the fact that the NFL doesn't respect the Panthers enough to put them in primetime. Look, I got no problem with one o'clock and four o'clock games and even the one that's in the morning I'm OK with.

I suppose if there are a lot of fans dispersed across the country it might be more difficult to, you might not get their game locally, so you might want a few national games for that purpose. Exactly. But I think you're right. Yeah, and that's the part that's a struggle part of it. And again, it probably speaks to the current state of the franchise more so than it does from the convenience aspect for people like you and me who like the semblance of routine. But I do feel like there's some opportunity early in this schedule. We got a lot of home games against some opponents that are, I guess, perceived to be around the same level as you are, but it all kind of comes down to what they do under this new coaching staff and the renewed sense of Bryce Young. I do think there's an ability to try and get some wins early, but the back part of the slate is incredibly challenging. Think about also the fact that they're going to go about five weeks, including the four weeks of games and the one bye week without a home contest and the only home with quotation marks.

Contest is the one that happens to be in good old Munich, Germany. So there is that part of it that is somewhat a bit of a struggle. But I think we always kind of knew it was going to be a struggle here in year two of Bryce Young because of the certain limitations that they currently have themselves in that they've tried to rectify over the course of this offseason. But I feel like, again, it might take one more whole offseason to get themselves back in the level where you would consider them contenders. We'll put this question put this question up to Hayes Permar as well, who will join us a little bit later.

But and really, this is for the audience, too. There are three games that stand out on this schedule. It is the Panthers' first ever trip to Las Vegas. Week three, mid-September, late September, that game's going to happen.

You have the November 10th game you mentioned in Munich against the New York Giants. And for the first time with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, it's the Chiefs visiting Bank of America Stadium. This might be the only time he ever plays at Bank of America Stadium. The next time the Chiefs play here will be 2032. Who knows?

We might be playing football games on Mars by then, will he be? So if I just narrow it to those three games, which of them are you most excited for? Kansas City, the Germany game, breakfast and football, so to speak, unless you plan to be there or go into Vegas?

The Vegas won't undo much for me, honestly, just because it's, you know, it's the Raiders. It's not like there's anything new there. You can win that game. It's a new venue. It could be a win.

Win is the part of it that's intriguing. I'm probably more intrigued by the Germany game. Maybe there's the off chance that you or I happen to run into Taylor Swift. I wonder the security aspect is my biggest sense of how it's going to be if T Swift is in the building, because if it's anything like it was when Lionel Messi came to the Charlotte FC game, plan on staying in the press box and not wanting to go anywhere else between the time the game kicks off and the time the game ends, because they'll probably want to make sure that T Swift has safe passage anywhere she wants to go.

Hold on one second. I didn't hear the story about the security and such with Messi. We almost got locked in an area where we really couldn't go because or we couldn't really get out, basically. We were trying to go on the field to do our pregame video, and they basically had us in a holding pattern right around the area where the risen locker room is because they wanted to make sure that Lionel Messi made it from the locker room onto the field safely without anybody approaching him, because apparently the international media have the propensity to want to try to touch him like he's the pope or something, because they're hoping that some little bit of magic sprinkles off onto him. I don't mean to be so angry toward the Messi stuff, but it did warm my heart to see the very heavily hyped Orlando-Miami contest, the Florida Derby, as it were, play to a 0-0 draw yesterday. Just such a shame for those trying to watch and enjoy Lionel Messi. Just a shame. We have been looking to try and do our show from a midweek game at some point this year, and I didn't realize until now that the Inter-Miami game's on a Wednesday. Didn't realize that.

It is. It's a day before Independence Day, although more than likely, and this is not to upset the apple cart here, more than likely Lionel Messi will not feature, because he'll be with Copa America's Argentina squad. You know what? The reason we'd be there is for Charlotte FC, though. That'd be good. That'd be very good. There's also another one against the other Florida team in Orlando in June, and I think there's one more closer to the end of the season, if I don't understand what you're saying.

It's in October. We'll figure out a way to be there, because I think that could be a lot of fun. Will Pelagic, it's always good to visit with you. You'll be talking to Will Dalton next week, because I'm going to be on a boat. That's where I'm going to be for a week. It should be a lot of fun.

Hopefully we're talking about the Canes in the Eastern Conference Finals. I'll be on a boat, really happy. That's where I'm going to be. I'm going to be on a boat.

Willy P. didn't... What was that, Willy P.? Whereabouts in... Where will you be on a boat? Somewhere tropical. I was going to say international? Ooh, look at you.

Somewhere tropical. Look at you, fancy pants. Willy P. with the fancy office. Appreciate you spending the time, my friend. We'll talk to you. I'll see you in two weeks, but you'll talk to W.D. next week. It was Professor Plum in the study with the lead pipe.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-16 20:52:46 / 2024-05-16 21:15:29 / 23

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