Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Dispatch from Charlotte: Panthers people too happy

There was a horrible man on my TV screen this morning, shouting at me between SportsCenter highlights.

He was trying to torture me into buying one of his cars – and certainly I would sign up for a five-year loan if he would just stop yelling. Then, for emphasis, at the end of his spiel, the hyperglycemic salesman spiked a football and did a little DAB. It’s a dance move, I’m told, that is one of the eight million or so ways Cam Newton celebrates the gloriousness of being Cam Newton.

These people must be stopped.

Yes, I currently am in Charlotte, the belly of Carolina Panthers country, at the NASCAR Media Summit collecting information on how excited each and every race team is for the upcoming 2016 season. Very excited, I might add.

“I’m super excited,” said Petty Race Team rookie Brian Scott, taking it to another level.

Unfortunately, this also is the week leading into the Panthers NFC Championship appointment with Arizona. The citizens are super excited. You may not be familiar with such a sensation, because you are a Falcons fan.

That’s the 14-1 Carolina Panthers, whose only blemish was a mysterious loss to those Falcons. Never believe that 2015 was a pointless year. When Julio Jones went high over a couple earthbound Panthers for the touchdown that denied Carolina undefeated status – now, that was a super exciting play – it was a museum-quality catch. And one victory suitable for framing.

But as you know, the Falcons’ division-mates have recovered from that shock quite well. And they are a three-point favorite to advance to the Super Bowl.

From its overly-exuberant quarterback to its flamboyant defense, the Panthers are an irksome team. They are the football version of that screaming car salesman.

And all the joy around me this week – oh, look, here’s a local newspaper story reminding me that Carolina has a Superman (Newton), a Captain America (Luke Kuechly) and a Batman (the formerly bat-wielding cornerback Josh Norman) – only serves as a contrast to recent joyless Falcons seasons.

It is petty, but I begrudge this particular city its happiness.

Go, Cardinals.

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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.