While the Saints' playoff win over the Panthers created waves in New Orleans, it wasn't as well received in the Carolinas — for obvious reasons. 

At least one Panthers fans went so far as to suggest the game may have been rigged by the NFL, leading retired Charlotte Observer columnist Tom Sorenson to allay those concerns. Read the full column here

Among the reasoning for the NFL wanting the Panthers to lose, brought up by a friend of Sorenson, were: 

• The league wanted the Panthers to lose due to the allegations against owner Jerry Richardson.

• The NFL wants to boost ratings with larger market teams in the playoffs

Sorenson argued neither of those arguments held water. Richardson is selling the team, and most of the big-market teams didn't even make the playoffs.

"New York is the biggest market. How did the Jets and Giants do last weekend? Los Angeles is second. Anybody see a Rams’ score?," Sorenson wrote. 

The Panthers lost the game 31-26, their third loss to the Saints this season, after Carolina fell short on a potential game-winning drive. It included a close intentional grounding call that all but crushed their hopes on the drive. 

In the end, it came down to one thing: "I just wasn’t ready for the season to end."

The Saints head to Minnesota on Sunday (3:40 p.m.) for another rematch with the Vikings in the divisional round. 

For Sorenson's full column, click here.