You think you Have it Bad as a Panther Fan?

In only 10 years, the Panthers and their fans have seen the highs, (Super Bowl appearance) and the lows, (15 straight losses in 2001).

Greetings from beautiful nowhere Pennsylvania. That's where I am right now, working on this column while wrapping up a busy week at my "other" job. Over the past couple of weeks, I've seen many Panther fans out there get down and disgusted at not only how the Panthers are playing but also the amount of injuries that have piled up on the big cats. And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, we are going next against an opponent that has Panthers fan bristling almost as bad as the name Vick – The Philadelphia Eagles.

But I have great news for you Panther fans. You really don't have it as bad as you think you do. Do you realize that there are teams out there that have never been to a Super Bowl (Arizona, Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville, New Orleans, and Seattle)? There are teams out there that have had more of a losing record than a winning record (think San Diego, Detroit and the Bungles over the past couple of years). There are teams out there that have been so bad for so long that part of their persona has become to hide their faces in shame (think the New Orleans bag-heads). No my Panther brethren, do not fear this season for this too shall pass.

Consider the situation I ran across today while up here in Raven country. (I'm about an hour outside of Baltimore so this area splits between the Steelers, the Iggles and the Ravens). I was talking to a guy about football (of course) and this lady overhears our conversation. She quickly speaks up, talking about how she LOVES her Ravens and how they're the best team in the world. Well, honestly, at first I had to make sure the lady hadn't been nipping at the bottle during the breaks. After discovering that this lady sincerely meant what she said, I made the mistake of asking why. "Well, don't you just love Deion Sanders? And their defense is just the best. They are the best guys out there." She went on to ask me who I rooted for and after she discovered my support of the Panthers, she made the mistake of showing her intelligence – or lack there of. "Who are the Panthers? I've never heard of them? Are they any good?" Now it's really not in my nature to slam anyone, especially little old ladies that probably don't know any better and who's biggest excitement in life is going to garage sales on Saturday morning and getting ripped on wine with her extended family Saturday evening after mass. However I did make an exception in this case.

"The Panthers?" I asked, completely setting her up for the diatribe to follow. "You know, the team that played in the Super Bowl last year? The team that's based in the Carolinas? You know, the place where every Yankee grows up dreaming of moving to one day? The team that won the NFC last year, beating out such noted teams as the Rams, the Cowboys and oh yes, that little team just up the road called the Eagles?" She just stared at me blankly like she was some cow that had taken a moment to stop eating her cud to watch a turtle cross the street. You know the type – typical mouth breather. I continued, this time with a built up fervor in my voice. "Let me just tell you a little something about your beloved Ravens. First off, your coach is the biggest jackass in the entire league, surpassing the likes of even Tom Coughlin and Jim Haslett. (Note: For the record, I don't know if Tom Coughlin and Jim Haslett are jerks but I used them because they were the first ones to come to mind with an attitude). Secondly, how can you root for a team that has guys on there like Ray Ray, Jamal "I just set up the meeting but I didn't know what it was about" Lewis and Deion "by God I'll wear an ugly suit and not be afraid of it" Sanders? Please and don't even get me started about your offense, or lack there of. Boller – yeah, I'd bet money on that future prospect working out for ya. Tell ya what dear. I'll respect your team about the same time the Browns fans give any love to your backstabbing, midnight leaving snake of an owner Art Modell. M'kay? Needless to say, she just took her mouth-breathing self away to go slurp down some more coffee and do whatever it is she did to busy her oblivious existence. Sometimes you wonder where people get such notions about teams. It's sad really if you stop and think about it.

So you see Panther fans, it's really not all that bad. We can be proud of the accomplishment we had last year. We can be excited in the owners, the coach, the young players that are getting better and better and we can look towards the future when once again we'll have that offensive line that gives running lanes the size of I95. We will be excited again when our defense shows up and throws that little man to the side once again. We will rise up Panther fans. Because even though things may be looking rough for you right now, there are a lot of other teams in the NFL that have had it way worse than us for a lot longer time.

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