Division rivalry games always carry with them a certain amount of animosity towards the opposing teams. That being said I hold a special place in my heart for the Carolina Panthers. To be 100% honest, I love to hate the Panthers.
I don’t like them. Everything from their ugly blue uniforms, to Cam Newton’s "Superman Dance", to Steve Smith, all of it re-enforces my dislike for them on a weekly basis. Some of it, I’m sure, comes from the fact that they’re in our division so we must despise them, however I don’t want to hate on them senselessly. So here I shall justify my opinion and remind all of us Bucs fans why we hope the Buccaneers crush the Panthers in Charlotte this weekend.
Monday December 8, 2008
The 9-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers travelled to Charlotte to take on the 9-3 Carolina Panthers for NFC supremacy. Tied at 17 entering the fourth quarter, with Antonio Bryant having a spectacular night the Buccaneers simply got steamrolled. The Panthers ran the ball right into the teeth of our aging defense and ripped out our hearts. Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart rolled their cameras and flew through space in celebration after celebration as they gashed the Bucs for 299 total rushing yards.
Try as we might the Buccaneers could not overcome the relentless assault and fell 38-23. This game stuck with me because that was the beginning of 3 ½ long hard years for the Buccaneers. We would go on to lose the next 3 games and miss the playoffs. That slide would end John Gruden’s tenure with the Buccaneers which gave way to the Raheem Morris area. Need I say more about that one?
Sunday October 18, 2009
The 0-5 Buccaneers were playing against the 1-3 Panthers. In the second quarter of that game the Panthers were forced to punt to the Buccaneers. Pro Bowl return man Clifton "Peanut" Smith was back to field the punt.
The kick was high and spiraling. Panthers safety Donte Wesley sprinted down the field aimed at Smith. Feeling the pressure Smith called for the fair catch. This should have meant that he was safe from any contact save if he were to drop the ball. Apparently Wesley didn’t get that memo. With Smith standing there completely unprotected Wesley launched himself right at Smith and laid one of the dirtiest hits anyone has ever seen on him, knocking him out of the game with a concussion. The egregious foul earned Wesley an early trip to the showers as he was ejected. The fact that the Panthers even came to defend this guy adds to my complete and utter disgust with the Panthers.
The worst part of this event however was that Clifton Smith never really recovered from that hit. The Buccaneers cut him during the off season. He played 1 more year spending time with the Dolphins and then the Browns but he was out of the NFL in 2011. That hit pretty much ended a player's career.
Not to mention that in the 4th quarter, once again they ran the ball right down our throats to ice another Panthers victory.
The Icon, the Phenom, The Superman, Cam Newton. To quote the often brash and outspoken former coach of the Bucs Raheem Morris, "Yeah I said it!"
This guy who had done exactly nothing in the NFL was already talking about being an icon. As if he wouldn’t have to work to be awesome, he was just born that way.
Newton lit it up in the first half of his rookie season, but there was just one problem. His team wasn’t winning anything. When defenses started to figure him out, instead of meeting the challenge head on, he pouted on the sideline like a little girl. I can’t stand that guy. When things are going good like when the Panthers beat up on the Bucs last year, he’s all smiles and Superman. Things don’t go his way and all of a sudden he has no idea why and is asking for a suggestion box?
Newton is my least favorite player in the NFL right now so where as I would never wish harm on anyone I do hope we get after him and crush the Panthers tomorrow.
What about you Bucs Nation? What is your least pleasant Panthers memory? What reason do you have to despise our opponent?