The Panthers are back in Charlotte Sunday for the first home game of the year and it feels like football season is finally back in Carolina.
Each week of the 2017 season, CharlotteFive will take a quick look at five reasons you should hate the Panthers’ upcoming opponent. We’ll leave the legitimate previews to the pros at the Observer.
This weekend’s opponent is the Buffalo Bills, the team that likes to remind you that they went to the Super Bowl four straight years. They lost all four.
While that might earn pity rather than hate from most football fans, we have a few reasons you should dislike them while you’re cheering the Panthers on to victory.
(Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Charlotte, and the game will be broadcast on CBS.)
(1) Transplants take over Uptown.
One of the things I love most about Charlotte is the number of transplants that have made the city their home. Not to put down Charlotte natives in the slightest, but when I hear people say they chose our city over Raleigh, Atlanta, L.A., New York or wherever, it warms my heart.
That said, I absolutely hate it on certain game days.
I’m of the firm (but controversial) belief that you give up your old teams when you find a new home. If you love your new city, you should love that city’s teams first and foremost, right? New Yorkers, Bostonians, Philadelphians, Pittsburghers, and, yes, Buffalonians seem to disagree.
On Sunday, we’ll likely see hundreds of Charlotte residents come out for the game in Bills gear. (If you’re one of them and you’re reading this, I beg you to repent of your evil ways and come into the light of Sir Purr’s graces.)
Vacationers, welcome to our fair city: You’re excused. Head to Tavern on the Tracks maybe?
(2) The Bills employ Richie Incognito.
I’m not going to single out many athletes in these previews, but if you follow the NFL, you have probably heard of Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito. The fact that he’s playing Sunday should make you upset.
Four years ago, Incognito stepped over the line (not for the first time) for bullying teammate Jonathan Martin while with the Miami Dolphins. After all of the dirt came out — including repeated use of the N-word, harrassing Martin, and threatening his sister — Martin retired and Incognito was released from the Dolphins. He spent a year out of football, refuses to apologize to Martin and only got a job again when former Bills coach Rex Ryan said he wanted to “build a bully” and signed Incognito to lead his line.
If there’s one person to single out for boos in the NFL, it’s probably this schmuck. I’ll leave it at that.
(3) Not-so-great Clemson connections.
On a much lighter note, the Bills have had a history with a nearby college team you might have heard of. In the past decade, Buffalo has selected three well-known Clemson Tigers in the first round of the NFL Draft. Are they stars for the Bills? Nope.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) August 14, 2017
C.J. Spiller, the No. 9 overall pick in 2010, played for the Bills for five years and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2012, but he never really settled in with Buffalo. Four teams later, he currently has a contract, but no reps, with the Chiefs.
Sammy Watkins, the No. 4 pick in 2014, had a few shining moments in 2015, but an injury derailed him in 2016, and the Bills traded him to the L.A. Rams before the 2017 season.
Only defensive end Shaq Lawson, the No. 19 pick in 2016, is still with the team. An injury kept him out some of his rookie year, but he’s the starter now. But looking at the Bills’ track record, he probably won’t be in Buffalo for long.
(4) The Bills are Panthers-light.
And there are some familiar names on the field, too: backup QB Joe Webb and RB/human bowling ball Mike Tolbert. (WR Philly Brown was signed then released.)
Whether that makes them hate-able (they took our guys!) or more likable (hey, old friends!) is up to you, but some are worried McDermott’s knowledge of the Panthers playbook might give Buffalo the advantage.
(5) Bills fans are insufferable/depressing.
If you’ve ever engaged the #BillsMafia, you know what I’m talking about. Barstool Sports did an incredible nine minute video about this group, and you should probably watch it. (With headphones on — it’s NSFW with some very bad language.) If you don’t have 10 minutes this morning, at least check out the 2:44 mark.
You can’t really blame them. They did lose those Super Bowls, they were faced with the threat of their team moving to Canada, and the Bills haven’t made the playoffs in 17 years.
I’m so, so sorry. Not to Buffalo fans, but to you, dear reader, for having that stuck in your head the rest of the day.
Just another reason to hate the Bills on Sunday. Keep Pounding.
Photo: AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes