26 October, 2011


As my percolating brain began to assemble it’s fractured pieces Tuesday morning over my first “cuppajoe”, it gleaned passively over the unremarkable headlines on the front page of the Charlotte Disturber, and as those freefloating thought fragments melded together, much as the T1000 liquid metal Terminator did in the second movie of the series, my eyes focused on one of the headlines on the sports section –

“Wanted – More of a home-town feeling”

Or something akin to that. For the first time that I can remember, a Carolina Panthers head coach lamented on the voluminous amount of the opposing teams fans in the stands. Hell, yeah, Coach! THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT!!! You cannot imagine my righteous heart pounding in approval at Ron Rivera’s statements! I have been bitching about this sad state of affairs in our stadium for YEARS. Now, I know that we’re a relatively young team, and many of the fans who bought the PSL’s were fans of MUCH older, established franchises. And many of those PSL owners are fickle fans of the frontrunners, not die-hards like PantherFanz. So, when we suck, they are bailing, and to be honest, after last years abortion, I don’t blame ‘em. But we are now playing in our SEVENTEENTH SEASON, and with a bright new start! It’s time to get with the home team! Lauren is a good example of the first-generation fan that really didn’t know much of anything else BUT the Panthers. She’s now in her twenties. Many of those young football fans that are her age around here are not likely to be buying tickets. But when Lauren graduates nursing school, and her other professional peers begin their own self-sufficient lives – they are going to be the ones acquiring the seat licenses, either through inheritance, or the good fortune of a high salary. And that notion got me thinking –

For all the talk of football being a team sport, for most fans, it’s a STAR-driven sport. In the past, how many fans allied themselves with a team because of a particular player? Folks in Annapolis may have dedicated themselves to the Cowboys because of the Navy quarterback that won a pair of Super Bowls. Folks in Louisiana may have fallen in love with the Squeelers because of Terry Bradshaw. An Alabama alumni may have tattooed the Raiders emblem on his chest because of Ken Stabler, OR Broadway Joe. And in these cities with the well –established fan following, how much of the fans of the other teams have we seen in the stands in the occasional TV shot? In Pissburgh? Green Bay? Oakland? Dallas? Warshingtoon? New Englandgland? And for that matter, how many people who wouldn't ordinarily be NBA fans watched because of one Michael Jordan? See where I’m going with this?

Folks across the nation may have become fanatics over a team for whatever reason, but for the most part, it’s because of a superstar athlete. For the very first time, The Panthers have such a superstar, with profound respect due to Steve Smith and our other Pro Bowl players. But Cam Newton has that rarefied quality that will sell everything from UnderArmour to ice cream. ESPN and all of the sports networks will now be falling all over themselves to get him on prime time games now. If we’re lucky enough to keep him for ten years or more, here’s what happens-

Those fickle fans who have sold their tickets will be coming back on to the bandwagon like they’d never left. The kids raised on the Panthers, like Lauren, will be the ones with the season tickets. And across the country, kids staying up with Dad and big brother to watch the Panthers for Sunday and Monday night football will become Panther Fans for life, and they will be reading the Cedar Street Seer’s weekly rantz and buying the jerseys, and THEY will be going to their home stadium in Kansas Shitty or even PISSBURGH to see THEIR PANTHERS play! And with their three Lombardi Trophies proudly displayed in the stadium office, The Carolina Panthers supplant the old fan bases that lived and died with the Squeelers, the Packers, the Cowbabies, and ESPECIALLY the DeadSkins. I’m looking at the rest of the schedule – we will see the genesis of this long, but certain process THIS SEASON. Who’s coming to see the 1-6 Vikings this Sunday? The Titans? The Duckies? The Sucky-neers? We need to start filling the stadium – NOW. And prepare for next year.

Because –

Monday Night football will be coming. Twice, I’ll predict. Sunday Night with Al Michaels and that insufferable blowhard Chris Collinsworth will want some Cam too, I’ll guarantee. After the absolute garbage we’ve had to withstand this year with primetime games, it will be refreshing to see a game with an exciting offensive attack led by one of the brightest young stars in the league. Even the arrival of the much hyped Andrew Luck won’t dampen the anticipation of seeing that super sophomore sling the biscuit to Steve Smith or anyone else lucky enough to be wearing a Carolina Panthers uniform. And –

The best part of all will be the gnashing of teeth of those Packer, Squeeler, Cowboy and Deadskins fans DYING to get into the stadium when their team comes to town, and they’ll be nary a ticket to be found.

The only ones holding the tickets will be Panther Fans. And Coach Rivera’s lament will be long forgotten as the cheers in the stadium drown out the roar of the overhead jet flyover when the PA announcer introduces





I’ve got cold chills thinkin’ about it.

I had to rant on it, Fanz.

I have a quite different rant to rite about tomorrow –

Stay tuned –

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