Man who built Panthers explains how it was done and why he gambled on Cam Newton

Former Panthers GM Marty Hurney explains why he drafted an undersized linebacker in Luke Kuechly and what he saw in Cam Newton that others missed when he gambled the draft’s first overall pick on a quarterback NFL personnel people were split on.

(Photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers)
(Photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers)

(Photos courtesy of Carolina Panthers)

Talk of Fame Network

With the Carolina Panthers one of only two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL, our Hall-of-Fame hosts - Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge - thought it was about time to look a little deeper into how that team was constructed.

So this week they visited with Marty Hurney, the former Panthers’ general manager who drafted the bulk of Carolina’s top players and built the foundation of the top team in the NFC. As often happens, Hurney didn’t survive their growing pains and was fired in 2012 despite having twice led the Panthers to the NFC championship game and once to the Super Bowl.

But there’s no question his fingerprints are all over the 9-0 Panthers today.

On the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, Hurney explains why he drafted an undersized linebacker in Luke Kuechly and what he saw in Cam Newton that others missed when he gambled on a quarterback personnel people were split on.

“This guy was raised to be an NFL quarterback,’’ Hurney said of Newton, the first pick of the 2011 draft. “I know that sounds silly but he was.’’

Hurney explains how character factors into the draft and why he still took a chance on troubled pass rusher Greg Hardy and talks about how he hit on fifth-round draft choice Josh Newman, who has developed into one of the league’s top corners.

This was a week where everyone was talking about the demise of Peyton Manning so our Hall-of-Fame guys delve into whether or not he’s played his last NFL game and who he might be listening to about his football future. You will be surprised to learn whom Rick believes one of his confidantes may be.

Our three Hall-of-Fame voters also remember the final football days of Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas and Peyton’s Dad, Archie Manning. Ron was in Mankato, Minn., in August 1985, when the elder Manning unexpectedly announced elbow pain had ended his career at 36. His memories of that day seem a cautionary tale for Archie’s unraveling son, Peyton.

Rick’s "Dr. Data" segment this week argues against the demise of the running back. While many insist running the football is unimportant today because of the rise of the passing game, "Dr. Data" has numbers to argue there is still an important place for running backs -- and if you needed one last year’s draft was the time to get him.

In our weekly “State Your Case’’ segment, Clark argues the Hall-of-Fame credentials of four-time Super Bowl coach Dan Reeves. Reeves participated in a total of nine Super Bowls, three as a player, two as an assistant coach and four as a head coach, yet has been denied entry into the Hall. Clark makes a fierce case that Reeves belongs.

Everyone loves a good speech, so Rick, Ron and Clark select their all-time favorites from the NFL archives as well as one from a fiery Pennsylvania high school coach that may be the most inspiring pre-game speech ever uttered. You'll enjoy hearing them and probably decide it's time for you to HOLD THE ROPE!

The fellas also debate the stories of the week in the second of our Residential Debates, including how the Patriots replace Julian Edelman and whether making NFL officials full-time employees might cut down on the spate of mistakes officiating crews made this season.

There’s all that plus the two-minute drill and our "Borges or Bogus" segment, which this week argues passionately that it’s bogus to have a 2-8 team like the Titans within shouting distance of the AFC South lead. Perhaps, Borges suggests, it’s time to do away with the divisional format and simply seed the playoff teams in each conference by their record.

You can hear it all on 80 radio stations around the country or by going to iTunes to download the podcast, use the TuneIn app to access the show or simply go to and listen online.

Listen now!