It has been very difficult for some Carolina Panthers fans to deal with their ugly playoff loss from last season. It's no secret that Jake Delhomme had the worst game of his career in that matchup against the Cardinals. His six turnovers sure made Arizona's job a little easier that night.
The Panthers fans that were in attendance either left the game early, or sat in their chairs suffering from complete shock as they watched their NFC South winning team completely implode.
Now, the fans have had the majority of an offseason to stew over the loss, and decide how to deal with it. Some have decided to move on and look forward to a promising 2009, while others have chosen to go with the bratty teenager method. These are the fans that showed up for the Panthers "Fan Fest" in Bank of America Stadium last Saturday.
Fan Fest is usually a great opportunity for fans to see the team in action, while also getting to have some fun with "Sir Purr" and the new "Topcats."
This year, the event turned a little...well, we'll say it turned a little "Denver". By now, I'm sure you've heard that the Broncos' new QB, Kyle Orton, was heavily booed by fans in Denver. Well, Charlotte saw a little bit of that on Saturday, when the usually tame Panthers fans decided to let Jake Delhomme know exactly how they felt. After getting picked off (because of a poor WR route), the boo-birds showed themselves.
While I support a fan's right to have an opinion and boo, I don't have to like the actions of stupid people. Jake Delhomme is not a "marquee player" (to quote Jerry Maguire). He doesn't marry supermodels, or go on SNL, or even endorse Axe Hair Spray so he can go flirt with Carson Daly. He's a middle-of-the road QB, who has the heart of a champion. His skills don't match those of the league's elite, but his determination and leadership abilities never cease to impress me.
I am struggling to understand how Panthers fans forgot so quickly that Delhomme led his one (good) receiver team into the second round of the playoffs last season. It frustrates me that his successes can be overshadowed in the blink of an eye by one defeat. Albeit, it was an awful defeat, but still, he's earned a better support group.
So, the boos have flown and the sounds were heard by Delhomme. What now?
First of all, I truly hope the fans have gotten it out of their system. I've watched Jake Delhomme play many many games, and I really enjoy what he brings to a team. There are only about six or seven QBs I'd rather have leading my team than Jake Delhomme. He's going to pick himself up and make up for that miserable playoff perfomance very soon. Fans should not be worried.
Secondly, I don't think the boos will get to him like they might with a player like Kyle Orton. Delhomme has dealt with adversity in the past. He knows how to clean up a mess and prove everyone wrong. Orton hasn't really proven that he can do that.
Want to know my prediction for when exactly Delhomme will prove all of his booing friends to be idiots??? How about September 20th? That is when the Panthers will be heading to Atlanta to dismantle their spotty defense. The Panthers may win their first game against the Eagles. I just really can't wait to see what they do the Dirty Birds.
The Falcons Suck. Delhomme will prove this very soon.