The Carolina Panthers lost again this past Sunday. No surprise there. It was a horrible game by the offense and yet the defense played well enough (or Seattle played bad enough) to keep the Panthers in the game until the final seconds ticked off the clock. This seems to be the trend every week. A tough Panthers loss. A blow-out Panthers loss. A moral victory but a Panthers loss none-the-less.
The losses keep piling up. The team is 1-4 this season and 9-28 the last 2.5 seasons. No other team has been worse. (Well Cleveland was also 9-28 during the same time and we know how bad they are and how the nation makes fun of them). Overall the Panthers are 132-155 since they became a franchise. The Panthers lose often and will probably continue to lose (they are currently dead last on most NFL Power Rankings).
Should I be used to this? Should I be used to losing? I am a Chicago Cubs fan after all. Arguably no fan base has ever suffered as much as the Chicago Cubs faithful have. As fans of the “Loveable Losers” we’ve seen more than our fair share of losses and disasters. Babe Ruth called his shot against us in the ’32 World Series. Then we had a ‘billy goat curse’ put on us in the ’45 World Series. We had horrible collapses in ’69 and more in the late ’70s. A ball under the glove of Leon Durham hurt the Cubs in the ’84 playoffs just as bad as it did Bill Buckner in 1986. The most recent tragedy was Steve Bartman interfering on Moises Alous’ attempt to catch a foul ball in the 8th inning of game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series.
But every year I get sucked into the possibilities. I look at the roster and I look at the other teams in the division and I begin to play the ‘What-if’ game. I think about their line-up and their pitching staff and try to figure out how the Chicago Cubs can reach the postseason. Most years I give up on the postseason by June.
I have found myself doing the same thing with the Panthers. I look at their schedule, I look at their draft, I look at who is healthy, and I try to figure out if they can make the playoffs. And just like with the Cubs I am usually disappointed.
The sad thing is: I will keep doing it. I’m a fan. I love my team and will cheer them on even in the worst of times (unless they are playing the Chicago Bears. Hey I have to stay true to my hometown boys). When the team is 2-14 I know they will get good draft picks. When the team loses a tough, division game on the road to their arch-rival I know they gave their all. When they lose the Super Bowl to the almighty New England Patriots by 3 points I know one day they’ll be back in the big game.
What really hurts my hopes is when the team starts 1-4. This franchise has started their seasons 1-4 three times (’01, ’04 , ’11) and ended up a combined 14-34. I repeat, 14-34. That’s not respectable. That’s not something to be proud of. Remember overall the Panthers are 132-155. Even the Cubs are 10411-9929 (a .512 win percentage). Not counting bye weeks, the Carolina Panthers are only 6-11 in the sixth games of their seasons. These are not good stats at all and it does not make me want to watch their next game. Fortunately for us they have a bye this week and we don’t have to see them lose this weekend.
It also doesn’t help that the Panthers offense (which is what we really want to see right?) has been totally inept. They are 26th in the league in points per game and 22nd overall in total yards per game. This is a huge disappointment after high expectations set in for quarterback Cam Newton and the Carolina offense. On the flip side of the ball the defense has given up an average of 25 points per game and are allowing 377 yards per game. That’s good for 23rd and 20th respectively.
So as a fan what do I do? Do I accept the losing and cheer them on, like I have done for the Cubs for so many years? Or do we press the coaches, management staff, and players to do better? Do we put blame on them for bad player personnel decisions, bad coaching, and poor execution?
Considering how my 6.5 year-old twins cheer on the Panthers and not “the bad team” they are playing, I should support the team. Considering how my 13 year-old son only wants to go to a Panthers game and see Cam Newton play for his 14th birthday, I should support the team.
Yes I will continue to root for the Panthers. I just hope they don’t make me wait 103+ years to win a championship like my Cubs have done.
—Bruce Wilson blogs for WFNZ The Fan 610 AM Sports Radio and also on Brucedogg.Wordpress.com. He is the owner of Superior Car Service, a transportation and chauffeur service and also working on his first novel. You should follow him on Twitter @BruceRWilson.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Radio 610 AM WFNZ The Fan