Have any of you seen the movie Goon? If you’ve perused the deeper corners of Netflix, or just have an affinity for hilariously quirky sports films, then I’m guessing that’s a yes. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Goon is a film starring Sean William Scott, who plays a bouncer who gets signed by a minor league hockey team to be an enforcer after beating the snot out of a player who jumped in the stands.
He doesn’t know how to play hockey, or even skate, but his unbelievable ability as a fighter gives him a role on the team. He defends his teammates when they take hard hits or cheap shot, knocking his opponents into next week, and that intimidation factor allows his teammates to unrestrictedly operate.
So, what does this have to do his the Carolina Panthers, or even football for that matter? An excellent question. The point of this reference is that Carolina has developed a tough guy mentality this season, due in large part to the old school nature of their offense and the ferocity of their defense, and as a result, they have produced a goon of their own.
Enter Steve Smith, a 13 year NFL veteran and professional trash talker. Smith has been getting into defenders’ heads for years now, famously feuding with DeAngelo Hall, and even getting into a few skirmishes with teammate Ken Lucas.
Smith has seen a drastic decline in his production this season, due in part to a balanced offense, but also because of bad performance. Smith hasn’t been getting open nearly as much, and he has been dropping passes he normally catches. He’s still helping his team in, however, by using his mouth and getting into defenders’ heads. He makes his opponents irritated and unfocused, distracting them from their assignment, then baiting them into a costly personal foul.
He did it to both Janoris Jenkins and Aqib Talib, scoring a touchdown in Jenkins’ face, on top of getting Chris Long ejected, and he also carved up Talib and forced him into personal foul that continued a touchdown drive. Smith may not be a Pro Bowl player anymore, but he is still the baddest man in Carolina.