We Arizona Cardinals fans are hot enough under the collar to melt the ice in frigid North Carolina.
Our blood is boiling about oddsmakers picking the Carolina Panthers over the Cards in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. And listening to sports wags slobbering praise all over enemy quarterback Cam Newton has us seething even more.
We already hated Carolina for taking out the Red Birds during last year’s playoffs.
But the road to Super Bowl 50 goes through Charlotte, and anger is good. It will take a pissed-off Cardinals team and angry fans cheering them on to beat a bunch on its Dixie turf that lost only one game this season.
So here are 10 reasons to hate the Panthers and the place they call home:
10. They're the NFL's biggest bandwagon team.
The Panthers attracted hordes of fair-weather fans (in the Carolinas and across the nation) with their league-best 15-1 regular-season record. Die-hard Panther fans hated these come-latelys, including one Panther Nation vet who wrote the following online: “Dear new Panther bandwagon fans . . . if you’ve ever worn a Steelers jersey to a Panthers game, we don't need ya. If you ever used the phrase Who Dat, fug off.” Don’t worry, we’re sure the newbies all will be away when the Cardinals upend your pussycats this weekend.
9. They ripped off the Boston Red Sox.
It has become tradition for Panthers fans to sing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” at home. Y'all know, right, that another pro sports franchise already does that shit. Way to be original.
8. The Carolinas suck as a location on many fronts.
Sweltering humidity. Swarms of Insects. Bible-thumping politicians. There are so many reasons why you’d never want to live in either Carolina, including that the literacy rates are worse than ours, the barbecue is overrated, creationism is regularly taught in schools, and rednecks and junkies are everywhere. (Don't even get us started on the Confederate flag thing.)
7. The Panthers' owner is a sourpuss.
If Newt Gingrich and Grumpy Cat were to have a kid, he'd look exactly like perpetually dour Panthers czar Jerry Richardson. If you need a few other more reason to hate the multimillionaire (who Rolling Stone cited as one of the "worst owners in sports"), Richarson made his fortune shilling greasy swill via the Hardee’s chain and reportedly was a jerk while negotiating the most recent collective bargaining agreement with NFL players. Plus, he pulled off the worst rendition of the “dabbing” dance we’ve ever seen. On that subject…
6. The whole dabbing thing is freakin' stupid.
The dabbing dance fad that Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has popularized among his teammates and throughout the Carolinas is just flat-out ridiculous. Seriously, y’all look like you’re trying to stifle a sneeze. Or even shield your eyes, which is what we wanna do when senior citizens, fat rednecks, or even Panthers head coach Ron Rivera start dabbing.
5. The Panthers don't deserve the accolades in such a weak division.
Though it's true that the NFC South wasn’t the league’s worst division this season (the dishonor goes to the AFC South), it wasn’t what you’d call ultra-competitive. As a matter of fact, the Panthers were the only team with a winning record. And things were even worse in 2014, with Carolina winning the division with the esteemed record of 7-8. It's easier to go 15-1 when nearly half of your games are against awful teams.
4. Their field is a disaster area.
Much has been said this week about the awful turf at Bank of America Stadium. It's described as soupy mire, even after team officials had the thing re-sodded. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks, who slipped and tripped all over the place during their recent playoff loss to Panthers.
Thing is, the bad turf is nothing new, as Carolina had such problems right after the place debuted in 1996. And again in 2001, 2003, and 2013. It could be all the area precipitation is to blame — or maybe it’s just the team’s secret weapon. Yeah, that's it! Either way, it’s a good thing the Seahawks gave the Cardinals advice on how to handle the situation: better cleats.
3. Their fans are classless...
After Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was toppled with an injured hamstring during a game with the Panthers last season, Carolina fans cheered manically. So much for sportsmanship. Even Cam Newton found it in bad taste, later calling the move “classless.”
And back in 2013, Rams defensive end Chris Long got showered with trash after he was ejected following a minor scuffle with a few Panthers players. “Thanks Carolina fans 4 the flipped birds+few bottles to the head,” Long later tweeted. “Sticks n stones may break my bones but aluminum zimas will never hurt me.”
2. ...and include tons of rednecks.
Look, we’re willing to admit that not every fan of the team is a beer-swilling hillbilly. But the fact you can see dudes dressed as Dog the Bounty Hunter at Carolina home games, buy a “Redneck Wine Glass” made from a Mason jar that bears the Panthers logo, or catch players rubbing elbows with NASCAR drivers speaks volumes, don't it?
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1. Cam Newton is a pompous ass.
Look, we get it. Cam Newton is one of the best in the game today, a money quarterback, dynamic playmaker, and a future Hall of Famer. But why does he have to act like a pompous ass, continually running his mouth, taunting opposing players, arrogantly celebrating touchdowns, and pouting after the Panthers lost their lone game of the season to Atlanta.
Come on, Cardinals defense, take him down Sunday!
Editor's note: This post was updated since its initial publication to correct an error regarding the Cleveland/Carolina game from 2014.