Today I interviewed seven current Charlotte residents on why they have decided to become a fan of the Carolina Panthers two games into the regular season, and the results are... intriguing.
Charlotte, and the Carolinas in general, have become a melting pot for people from all over the country and even the world. The rapid growth in the banking and tech sectors have brought a wide swath of people carrying different allegiances and points of view into the area. One thing that seems to band them all together though, is that they are all now Panthers fans, just two weeks into the season. I want to understand how such very different people could unite under one banner so quickly. Is willingness to change a natural trait they possess having uprooted from their place of origin? Is it a desire to fit in with their peers? Do they just flat out like winning?
Let's find out.
Joshua from Kansas City says:
Well, I guess I became a Panther fan when I finally decided to swallow my pride and try some of that "Carolina style barbecue" mess that all you southerners keep carrying on about. I mean really, vinegar in your sauce? No dry rub? The hell is wrong with you people? Actually wasn't too bad. At least you people take pride in your work, unlike Andy Reid. All he's been good for is closing the best all you can eat rib joints in KC because they can't make a profit when he rolls in there. Anyhow, I was sitting around on Sunday, and decided I'd had enough. No damn Yankee is gonna drag his cheese whiz covered slop into my hometown and get away with it. So I'm a Panthers fan now. Always been my second favorite team anyhow.
Mindy from Indianapolis says:
I guess you could say it was in my blood all along. I mean, without Jerry Richardson having originally been a Baltimore Colt, he would have never made the money to become a fast food tycoon and eventually own the Panthers right? So I just see it as a good will gesture to you guys, kind of like how we waited an extra year to intentionally bomb our season so you guys could have Cam Newton and we'd be stuck with Andrew Luck. It was all part of the plan. We wanted to repay you guys for all the things my grand-dad told me Jerry did for us. So... you're welcome. Besides, I mean, I live here now... they're kind of like the home team ya know?
Vinny from New York City says:
Me and Gettleman go waaaayyyy back. Us and some other wise guys used to meet down at Sal's deli on 59th, you know the place? Course ya don't, fuhgettaboutit. They had a killer tongue sandwich, would just knock you right out, Davey boy here... he'd always go in and order the biggest sandwich in da place. He'd go up to that counter, be like, "I want the biggest, baddest sandwich you got." and when they'd bring it to him, he'd look at all of us and say "Hey, yous guys, you can't teach size. Sal here knows it. You meatheads should too." I never forgot those words, and now I look at Kelvin Benjamin, and I see that sandwich he was always talking about. He's a friggin' prophet this guy. You guys got a hell of a genius running things up there, I mean you guys stole Hixon from us right? That guy could even make Eli Manning look like a champion. Anyway, the Giants ain't looking so good, and I think it's cause they let Davey boy outta town. I always told him "Davey, you make it big somewhere, I'll come and show my support." And he did, so I did. Respect. Get outta my way.
Tasha from Tampa Bay says:
So like, Luke Coochly, is a TOTAL babe. I mean, he's just like that classic hot you know? Like a modern day Justin Timberlake. Dreamy. Josh McCown? He's just so generic... I mean, I was totally in an uptown club last night with my mom, and we saw this guy, and we were like "OH. MY. GOD. Is that Josh McCown?!" and then like, another guy walked by, and he looked just like the first guy. Total. Buzzkill. Anyway, I can't just wear the pink colored version of just ANY pro team to the bar nearest the stadium. If I don't wear a pink Coochly jersey, all the hot guys will know I'm like a total poser... then I'll never trick one of them into marrying me!
Chadwick from Yorkshire says:
Ah yes, the Panthers. A bunch of fine blokes I dare say. They love a good sacking! And no one knows a good sacking like us Brits! Meanwhile, our team, the Jag-U-ars are not very good at sacking at all! Not to mention their Wicketkeeper, this Chad Henne, a ghastly fellow... he couldn't toss his way out of a meat pie on Guy Fawkes Day! Yes, I do believe while the Jag-U-ars get their house in order I shall be cheering for my new countrymen, right here in the Queen city. God save the Queen and her mighty Panthers!
Gary from Oakland says:
... So, Gary, you're not a Panthers fan?
Nah man, I totally am. I love Cam Newton, he's got that SPEED. Way better than Jamarcus Russell does. But any real Raiders fan will tell you, being a Raider is about being opportunistic. It's like buying a T-shirt before a solid local band makes it big... you wanna make sure you can prove you were always a fan at just the right moment. So, when Al Davis finally decides to get rid of Lane F****** Kiffin and get real about building a team... we'll return to the promised land. For now, I'm black and blue through and through baby!!! Woo!!! KEEP PUNCHING!!!
Bernard from Baton Rouge says:
WOOHOO!!! WHO DAT THINK DEY GON BEAT DEM PANTERS???!!!
... Ok. What do you think of Cam Newton?
I SAID WHOOOOOOOO... DATTTT?!?!?!? WHO DAT?! WHO DAT TINK DEY GON BEAT DEM PANTERS?!?!?
Oh, he good.
The bandwagon... you've never seen such a wretched hive of scum and villainy.
Remember, each individual decided to change their allegiance for a reason. It may not be a good reason... or even a coherent one. But they are Panther fans for now. Try and welcome them into our family the same way you'd welcome that creepy uncle who is always taking pictures... let him in the house, but don't leave him alone with the fine china.
Be sure to challenge them whenever you can to keep them honest. If the Panthers lose a game, always check their desk for a Ravens pencil holder, or god forbid, a Patriots travel mug. Don't trust any of them if they invite you to their house to watch the game on Sundays, they're just trying to trap you into moving a futon or to watch their kid while they go on a bender.
If they make it to the end of the season, especially if we don't win the Super Bowl, you are authorized to take them to the agreed upon location to pick up their temporary fan card. No permanent cards are issued until at least two years of persistent fandom under a losing record, or until Jimmy Clausen starts a game, whichever comes first.
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