Over the past couple years, I have heard an issue debated that drives me crazy. The issue is whether Carolina Panther fans are bandwagon riders who only get on when they are winning or simply lack any passion for their team. I take exception to this as a Panther fan myself since I fall into neither of those categories. I know there are fans who do but I also know every team has fans like that as I have traveled around and even here, I see it everyday when they only talk about their team or wear the jerseys when they win. However, now is the time for Panther nation to reach down and stop being so reserved and force the NFL and other teams to hear us roar.
I know we are a new franchise in comparison to other teams with strong fan bases but together we can be just as strong. It's time to rise to the level of those elite teams and their fans in the NFL and show pride in our team. Don't wait until we have multiple Super Bowl rings otherwise you are just as bad as those Cowgirl fans who only support their team because they are front runners and bought into the media whoring hype of "America's Team". By the way, unless you lived in Dallas, Texas or have family there and root for Dallas, you are just as much of a bandwagon fan as those Panther fans some of you knock for not supporting. They point to and brag about their championships because they don't have the courage and spine to support a local team and grow with it. I too was once a Cowgirl fan back in the era of Landry, Staubach, Dorsett and even as late as Aikman but I realized having a home team in my backyard was so much better then just latching onto a team because they win a lot.
I am also aware of the fact that not only do we face being new so we have to deal the time it takes for generations to grow with the team but also in this area we have many transplants (former residents of other areas moved here). I know especially the New York and Pennsylvania fan bases who are passionate now must realize they are here in the Carolinas so it's time to embrace the Panthers as your new team. Help make this environment similar to those stadiums and give this team not only home field advantage but a great atmosphere to play in with fans who cheer and cheer loudly. Think back to when you lived there and what happened when fans of other teams showed up at the game and that's what we need here only it doesn't help because many of the serious hardcore fans here are wearing other team's jerseys. I know we don't have the rich traditions of your teams but together we can dictate our own great future and set the example for other generations to follow so drop you allegiances to teams in cities you no longer live in and join Panther Nation.
One last point I hear referred to often and that is the environment on game day at the stadium. With no tailgating rules in effect, I know it hurts the feel of making a whole day and festival out of game day but there are ways around that. Area facilities and stations are holding their own tailgate parties which I know is not the same but can help feed the appetite of Panther fans waiting for that first snap together. And for those loud fans who are disturbed when ushers ask them to calm down because Biff and Buffy can't enjoy their tea and crackers, I recommend the upper deck and find the passionate fans and unite. Show the Richardson's that we care about this team and we are not out to ruin anyone else's time but damn it, we will have our voices heard and show the players our appreciation. This is not the opera or a golf match where we must hush before a putt, this is the NFL baby and we want Jake and Julius to hear us yell when they make a great play. Learn the rules and work your best to be within them so your not tossed out but show your appreciation for those men out there who want to play for fans like us.
We can change things but we need the help of Panther Nation. Don't be bitter because we have only been in one Super Bowl, rejoice that we got so close and that Coach Fox could take us back there again soon. Don't let Cowgirl fans take up our stadiums and sports talk airwaves, stand up and let your voice be heard. Don't be depressed by the oppression of some, find ways to make the whole experience enjoyable for yourself and all of our Panther fans. Don't only wear your Panthers colors when they win, wear those jerseys and other Panther gear proudly. If we lose then we wait for the next one but we at least stand up with our team and go down together. Don't hate Jake when he makes a bad pass, root for him to make a better play next time. So come on Panther fans, let's show that together we can make this area and love for this team better. And for those who are fans of other teams, it's not too late to join now but it will be when this team has the rings that they will get soon and it's you who proves to be the front runner while we supported them all along. Go Panthers and let's show them that Panther fans are loyal fans.