Labor Day has passed, the weather is cooling, pumpkin spice is in the air (literally everywhere), and another Carolina Panthers season is now upon us.
Each week in the 2017 season, CharlotteFive will be taking a quick look at five reasons you should hate Panthers’ upcoming opponent. We’ll leave the legitimate previews to the pros at the Observer.
This weekend the black and blue head to the land of scarlet and gold to face the San Francisco 49ers. (Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m. on Fox.)
While San Fran is one of the nicest cities in the world, its team and sports scene is perfectly dislikable. Here’s why.
(1) Let’s get the Super Bowl 50 talk out of the way first.
The last time the Panthers traveled to Santa Clara — yeah, the San Francisco 49ers play 45 minutes outside of the city — was to play the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. You watched it. Your friends watched it. I watched it. And we all immediately tried to forget it ever happened.
The game was ugly, the best season in Panthers history came to a disappointing end, and yes, Peyton Manning retired a champion, blah blah blah.
It was an awful night for Panthers fans, and of course, we all discussed Cam not going after a fumble aggressively enough for months afterwards because we hate ourselves.
We probably should have been talking about the the turf at Levi’s Stadium instead. This is my lasting Super Bowl 50 memory, as our offensive line struggled on the biggest stage. Was it their fault they couldn’t protect the 2015 NFL MVP?
Michael Oher can’t get any footing on Levi’s turf https://t.co/xjARxrlYin
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) February 10, 2016
But … yeah. Let’s stop dwelling on the past, even though most of the pregame coverage will probably focus on the fact that Sunday is Cam’s first time back to the suburban hellhole that is Levi’s Stadium.
(2) San Francisco wins all the damn time.
OK, so the 49ers haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1994, but they do have five championship rings. Their fans aren’t hurting.
Major League Baseball’s Giants have won three World Series titles since 2010.
And, well, the Golden State Warriors are good at basketball. They don’t technically play in San Francisco (yet), but they’re the Bay Area’s team, and with recent NBA Finals wins in 2015 and 2017, they too have had enough winning.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the Bay Area lose in every sport for the foreseeable future, but maybe I’m just jealous. I can’t help but get excited about the idea of Charlotte’s first championship parade marching down Tryon.
(3) Speaking of the Warriors — they took Steph.
Yes, Steph Curry is a Panthers fan. Yes, he hit the Keep Pounding drum in probably the only highlight of Super Bowl 50 worth watching again.
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) September 9, 2016
But the Charlotte Christian and Davidson grad has clearly chosen San Francisco over Charlotte and, on some level, that hurts.
The #ComeHomeSteph movement has never gained steam, probably because of a somewhat-decent supporting cast around him with Golden State.
So while he has made his Panthers allegiance known repeatedly, there’s still articles like this one, that say Steph Curry’s “heart remains in the East Bay.” (I mean, look at the photos of his houses — it makes sense.)
(4) They’re supposed to be really bad this year, so that’s nice.
This isn’t really a reason to hate the 49ers, but absolutely no one expects them to compete in 2017, so we should expect the Panthers to win on Sunday. Sports Illustrated predicts they’ll win four games this season and finish last in the NFC West, and former Panthers beat writer Jonathan Jones had them at a 2–14 record earlier this summer.
Here are two words that should inspire a lot of confidence for Carolina fans on Sunday: Brian. Hoyer. (Hey, whatever happened to Colin Kaepern— nope, running away from that.)
(5) The 49ers are worthless for fantasy football, too.
Outside of running back Carlos Hyde and wide receiver Pierre Garcon, there’s really no one on this team worth watching. Yeah, I said it. They could have at least given Panthers fans something to watch while Carolina notches its first win of the year.
— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) August 25, 2017
Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster has gotten some buzz, so maybe you could watch him on the field against the Panthers offensive line?
But really, in this season where we expect the Panthers to win the Super Bowl (sound the annual early-season overconfidence klaxon), it would have been nice to start off with a statement win instead of one against this cupcake of a fantasy-points-less team.
Looking forward to a crushing of San Francisco on Sunday. Keep Pounding.
Photos: AP Photo/John Hefti; David T. Foster III