Charlotte, NC- Is the electricity starting to return to the Carolina Panthers organization? The electricity that I am speaking of is the same that Panther's owner Jerry Richardson referred to last year as being sucked out. Sitting through the first quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, very little appeared to have changed. The seats were empty, causing the first television blackout the Panthers have seen. Granted some of this had to do with the new rules the NFL imposed on broadcasting this year, but none the less there was around 10,000 empty seats.
Baltimore starts a drive that would end with a touchdown pass and they go up 7-0. Not good news when you are trying to get a quiet crowd into a game. Then something happens, something that shows you that this isn't the same old Panthers? team from a year ago. They respond with a 4 play, 80 yard drive for a touchdown. With this a new feeling begins to creep into the stadium. One of anticipation; one that makes you think this could be our day.
Now fast forward into the 4th quarter, Carolina is up 10-7. Baltimore is starting a drive from the shadows of the their end zone. Without prompting from the players the fans that are sitting in that end zone are on their feet, screaming, clapping, and banging on their seats. What is this, a sign of life? The players start responding, swinging their arms around, and jumping around. It felt like you had left Charlotte and entered Green Bay.
Ok, that could be a bit much, but for this group of players that is probably closes they have seen, and felt in the confounds of this stadium.
For the rest of the game the fans never returned to their seats. After the final whistle had been blown and the final score was carved in stone, the fans gave the players a long, standing salute, and thanks for what they had just done. It is a feeling that some hope will become the norm, and I do believe Mr. Richardson is one of those.
The electricity isn't back, but it is starting to return slowly. It will take a while and a couple of wins for it to be back in full force, but it is definitely heading in the right direction. Now lets see what happens against Lions this week.