The first game I’d like to discuss is a great memory that I have with my brother. He and I grew up in the Charlotte bedroom community of Matthews and were Dallas Cowboy fans. We pretended to be Roger Staubach in our backyard. For me though, when the Panthers came to town and when the Cowboys stopped being what I thought to be classy, I forever changed my allegiance. My brother, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, he liked the Panthers and even had PSLs. But his heart remained in Big D. Well in January of 1997 Big D was coming to little ol’ Charlotte. As a matter of fact, their coach Barry Switzer went on to say he didn’t even know where Charlotte was. My brother took me to that game and the two of us screamed from the opening play to the final whistle. I didn’t speak without a cracked voice for three days. I don’t remember many plays in that game other than S Pat Terrell knocking Michael Irving out of the game with a bone-crushing play. But I do remember the bond felt with my brother and thinking yea, he now understands why I’ve turned my back on my childhood team and fully into the much classier Panther organization. The excitement felt when Lamar Lathon grabbed the mike and said I bet Barry know’s where Charlotte is now is a priceless feeling that I owe to the Panthers.
The second game I’ll throw out there is the game that will forever to me be known as X-Clown. I was working in Atlanta while living in Charlotte. I had to work that fateful morning and was able to get in the car to head home as soon as the game kicked off. I don’t remember one stretch of that I-85 drive from that day as I had one ear towards the radio for the entire trip. This was early January 2004 and I wanted nothing more than to get home and watch this game with my wife. I’m lucky enough to have a wife that loves football and the Panthers as much as I do. I so wanted to get home in time to watch the end of the game. But for any of you that have made that drive you know it takes longer than a 3-hour game. But this game kept going and kept going. As this incredible game was going into double overtime, I pulled into my garage in South Charlotte. I walked into my house and there joined my wife in front of the television. The only play I saw was the first play of double overtime when Steve Smith ran the perfect route, caught the ball from Jake Delhomme and took it to the house. My wife and I hugged each other cried tears of joy. I will never forget the feeling of that moment for as long as I live.
So now you get a peek into why I love the Panthers. Tell me the games you recall and how they made you feel. Talk to me, Erin Ford, on Twitter @PanthersDrafter.