I have said this line ("Panthers fan here, your team...") so many times in the past week, in this digital internet realm as well as to different friends and relatives. This has become a welcome line for myself in the past week. So now, with this loss, it feels strange to read "Niners fan", "Hawks fan", "Whoever's fan" here. These fans have things to say though, and it would be best to listen. They're right: we will be in contention, we do have the foundations for a great team, Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke Kuechly is a serious bad-ass mother (you know what goes here). So, let me say:
Panthers fan here. Hello Cat Scratch Reader. Your team... they... your team.
Just wait for next year. Parts will change, folks will move, coaches will hunger, owners will hope, managers will delegate... but fans, we can only wait. Just wait. The Panthers needed the play-offs, we needed to get THERE, and everything that might potentially come afterward would be lovely.
So, the next few months will be for individual players to get better, for coaches to become sharper. But most importantly, these next few months will be for Dave Gettleman. The franchise is back to "this", to the offseason, to the waiting, but I am very thankful that it comes in 2014, that offseason comes two weeks later than it has usually come.
I was at the game. This is a swift transition.
Transition over. No more future, let's talk past.
The stadium was rocking for an hour and a half. Everyone hoped the Panthers would come out from halftime rocking. We were wrong. By Eight Minutes into the 4th Quarter, people were leaving for the stairway columns as if the stadium was shedding tears. The Niners fans remained, a sea of red among the stadium, sort of like a vein of red precious stones among the dusk cavern. But make no mistake, Cam Newton or Jerry Richardson or CSR reader: the Panther fans showed up.
Cam Newton said the following this week:
"We’re going to need our fans more than anything this Sunday."
The fans showed up for the entire game. The first half, the stadium was wild. The second half, the stadium wanted so badly to be wild. It was like a dormant, naughty feeling in the stadium, that everyone wanted their love to be exposed. But there could be no love for the offense which showed up in the second half. I'm not a fan of Mike Shula right now, but I'm not a magician with statistics or facts. I can only go off of what I saw in person today.
The fans were there. I am angry about this, considering how much the Panthers were given: time, film, motivation, past victory, etc. But I am not writing this out of anger. Preserve this for history: the fans were even loud with 0:05 seconds to go in the 4th quarter, there was noise for the Panthers to score in those last five seconds, something to carry into the next season. Didn't happen, cheers ended.
That's the 2013 season: some cheers, some hope, some play.
This must be the 2014 season: some cheers, all hope, all play.
I only write "some cheers" in account that the internet websites allow any fan of any team to buy any ticket to any game. Notably, the Seahawks have limited the tickets to specific states (not California, not NC). I think that's quite wise, if indeed it's legal.
Enough chatty Cathy. I will just make some remarks and let you guys talk your wisdom.
- Great to be in the stadium again, my second time. They are 0-2 when I'm there, the 2012 Saints game was a close one though. This was refreshing, even though a loss, it was just refreshing to be in this billion-dollar profits stadium, billion-dollars spent to create stadium, to be with billion-dollars wearing merchandise people, without value comradeship with Panther to Panther. It was nice.
- Cam, you can be the QB of the future. But we really should get you someone better than Brandon LaFell. I have supported this young man for a long time, but since the New England game, he has seemingly regressed. In the second quarter, late in the first half, Cam was at 80% completion, while Kap was at 40%. Weapons completely unbalanced, yet Cam got it done. I think someone failed him the second half, someone not on the field (but let's be honest: it wasn't only the second half... first half goal-line, anyone? We've all seen them score it plenty of times.)
- Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke everywhere.
- I love how it's not a treacherous climb to Mordor in the stadium (LIKE THE FUCKING SUPERDOME). The 500s are easily reached in Bank of America.
- Good luck Seattle. That's my opinion, my hope. I enjoy everyone, EVERYONE, on the 49ers team but Kap and Harbaugh.
- The cheers were wild and loud on 1st down, 2nd down, and 3rd down. LET NO ONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE: it was a great play-off atmosphere.
- The 49er players were so rough, talking so much. I don't mind this. I saw Panthers doing it. I enjoyed them getting away with it, but then came the point where I was PISSED that they were still talking. 49ers still talking trash in-between plays, really trying to rile our guys up. 3rd quarter, and I'm not sure how many t.v. viewers see this, but the time between huddling is cut down because players are "conversing". This entire shitfest ends with Josh Thomas going apeshit and personally kicking himself off the team. Good riddance. Good riddance to weak minds, as well. Our players, all of them, must be better than this. We will be better having this under our belt. The 49ers had the regular-season game to fight for, we now have this.
- Mike Shula. I'll speak it, I'll talk it. Firstly, I'm not very much into Greg Hardy's upward of 10 mil contract. Save that money, get someone wonderful who can catch a ball for that money, take a good WR (or O-Line, bpa) in the 1st round, and suddenly the coin is flipped and our offense has a spark. Has HOPE. But Mike Shula needs to explore, needs to expand. The 5-yard throws in the beginning were set up, were not working. He expanded late in the first quarter to allowing Cam to have options. What happened in the second half???? CSR will answer soon.
Someone said that we will sink back into irrelevancy. You know what, filters off, fuck that. It's not up to fans, not up to ESPN. It is not up to the public. It is up to the Panthers. If they put in effort, if they show this effort in august of 2014, then they will be relevant. We have strangers showing up at CSR, people who come from teams we haven't even faced recently, who claim us superior, who wish they could play us, who think we're on the way. Of course we're relevant. 12-4 is not irrelevant. Those teams who lost, they will remember us. We will remain relevant. Do not pretend that we didn't win 12 games, that we didn't beat 10 teams and disappoint 10 fan bases.
Panthers fan here, your team is relevant.
Be cool we're going to make it.
Be cool, you're going to make it.