Yes, I read the chat rooms and realize there are many who believe it's too friendly, thanks to stadium security that puts the clamps on anyone who removes a shirt or stands to cheer too long.
That, however, is for another column.
This is about the Panthers having a home field edge. The numbers, however, don't reflect that advantage. Since John Fox took over as head coach, the Panthers are 24-24 at home in the regular season; 27-21 on the road. Since the Super Bowl season of 2003, the numbers tell an even worse story. For the last three seasons the Panthers are 14-18 at Bank of America Stadium and 19-13 on the road. Oddly enough, in the most recent playoff year of 2005, the team still was better on the road - 6-2; compared to its 5-3 home record. The bottom line is, a win is a win, and as long as you make the playoffs, what difference does it make where they take place?
I am at a loss to explain why this team seems to play better out of town. I have asked this question of many players and they don't have a clue either. In 2004, after a terrible start and injuries to just about every running back, the Panthers went on a run and had a shot at the playoffs if they could beat the Saints at home. They didn't. The way the league's games played out the Panthers would not have made the playoffs even with a win, but that news came hours after the defeat.
In 2005, the Panther fans would have celebrated a playoff berth if the team had beaten Dallas at home. They lost, but clinched some post-season play with a win in Atlanta the next week. The two playoff wins that followed came on the road. Yet, despite the bad home numbers in the regular season, the Panthers have never lost a home game in the playoffs - just ask the Dallas Cowboys.
Maybe 2008 will mark a change in this trend; but maybe it's good news that four of the last six games this season are on the road!
it's a word we hear when watching golf's "Skins Game" each November. If a player wins a hole, he doesn't get the skin until he wins the next hole to validate his performance on the previous hole. After last week's stunning finish in San Diego, it's important for the Panthers to validate that win with another win. I look back to last season as a perfect example. The Panthers opened with a nice win in St. Louis, returning to Charlotte for the home opener against Houston. A 14-0 lead evaporated quickly and the Panthers lost as Houston scored 34 unanswered points. On the road again the following week, Carolina beat Atlanta but lost Jake Delhomme for the season and, as Paul Harvey would say, "You know the rest of the story".
A side note to the Houston game: I was traveling back from an NFL game that I broadcast for Westwood One and as I exited the cab at my apartment complex I ran into Kris Jenkins, who lived in the same building. I asked him what happened against the Texans and he spent the next 20 minutes telling me what he thought was wrong with the team - too many head cases, players not playing for the team, poor coaching, etc. The next week after the Atlanta game he told his story to the media and his statements coupled with Delhomme's injury contributed to a rocky season.
WEEKEND IN NEW ENGLAND
Last weekend I broadcast two games: Georgia Tech's win over Boston College and the Patriots' victory over Kansas City. That victory for New England was overshadowed by the season ending knee injury to quarterback Tom Brady. I saw the hit and it looked bad. This is a quarterback who had started 127 straight games; now that streak and his season are over. Panther fans can relate after going through last year's injury to Jake.
I've got the Saints at Redskins for Westwood One on Sunday. I'll give you my thoughts on New Orleans next week.
Bill Rosinski is a play-by-play announcer for Westwood One radio. Learn more about Bill at BillRosinski.com.
Rosinski: Home field dis-advantage?
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