As a native Buffalonian, I have experienced my share of soul-crushing heartbreak (and heartburn) from watching the Bills every fall for more than two decades.
What the Carolina Panthers are going through this season — the 1-3 start, the Cam Newton concussion — is something I’m quite familiar with — and let me be the first to say I know it hurts. While Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly and the rest of the squad will inevitably bring the team back into the playoff hunt any week now (right?), I think a PSA about the five stages of panic everyone in Charlotte is going through would be valuable for the community as a whole.
Stage 1: Blame the refs.
It’s a well-known fact that the referees have already come into a secret agreement to call offensive tackle Mike Remmers for 12 holding calls and a personal foul before the second half. It’s better to just accept this and move on.
Stage 2: Blame Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula.
Run, run, pass. Run, run, pass. Why are you a broken record, Mike Shula? Is this the definition of insanity? It’s still OK, though … it’s still early.
Stage 3: Pine for Josh Norman
Josh Norman was a rascal, a potential malcontent, and a mercurial spirit in the locker room. What he wasn’t, however, was an inexperienced player like Bene Benewikere who just gave up 228 yards to one player (and was subsequently released by the team). The panic is beginning to set in. Your grip on the can of NoDa Brewing’s Gordgeous is tightening.
Stage 4: Very superstitious
Notice how Kelvin Benjamin catches the ball every time you flip the remote in the air and catch it? Oh boy. I guess it’s time to flip that remote every single offensive play now. Also, why is Chuck not sitting down? Did he not notice that Graham Gano missed that field goal earlier because he was standing? Glare at Chuck until he sits down.
Stage 5: Get sentimental
The game is over. There’s a football stuck in your television, or maybe you’re not allowed back into the EpiCentre for three months. Go find your Jake Delhomme or Wesley Walls jersey and try to hold back the tears. That team would have won today. Sure, they were less talented, less charismatic and just not as fun to watch in general. But nostalgia is all that you have right now.
At least until next week.
Photos: AP Photo/Bob Leverone; Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer; David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer