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Sports: Pink Slip Blues

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"If you go back and review the history of Dave Wannstedt and look at the pattern of what happened in his career," says Miami Dolphins fan and Orlando resident Bob Flanders, "I think it's probably a pretty good bet that Pittsburgh Panther fans are going to need to buy my Web site."

Flanders started www.firedavewannstedt.com in 2002 after the Dolphins blew a lead with 11 minutes left, lost to New England and missed a chance at the playoffs. After what he calls a complete meltdown of his favorite team, Flanders registered the domain and began studying Wannstedt's coaching record.

Wannstedt, he notes, started out OK in both Chicago and Miami and ended his career on severe down notes. In Chicago, Wannstedt finished with back-to-back 4-12 seasons and in Miami; he resigned in 2004 after starting the year 1-8, winning only one playoff game during his five-year tenure as coach. If that happened in Wannstedt's first two head-coaching jobs, Flanders says, it could very possibly happen a third time.

 "Dave is a very likeable guy, he's charismatic, he's a great guy," Flanders says. "I'm just not sure he's going to be a great head coach."

Today, the site contains Flanders' football commentary and several doctored pictures, including Wannstedt walking the plank of a pirate ship.

Flanders is still offering the site for $500, despite a threat to double the price if the Panthers lose more games. But he may not get his price any time soon. After a slow start, the Panthers have won their last three games and four of the last five to improve to 4-4 and 3-1 in the Big East. The Panthers have a pivotal conference game this weekend against the Louisville Cardinals to stay in the conference title hunt and need two more wins to become bowl-eligible.

Flanders says Panther fans might want to play it safe: "We were excited when he came here too. He definitely brings a sense of euphoria. But I've witnessed what can happen with Dave in charge, so all I can say to Panther fans is, good luck."

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