The Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots do not play in the same division. Heck, they do not even play in the same conference. Nevertheless, the Patriots are ranked number one on the “Most Hated Team” list by Panthers fans, according to an informal fan poll.
The Patriots grabbed 25% of the fans’ disapproval vote. In second place came the New Orleans Saints at 24%. New Orleans is easy to understand, they are a division rival. But the New England Patriots?
The tremendous Patriots disdain appears to stem from a mix of old wounds running deep, cheating allegations, and good ole southern distrust for anything northern. Mix it all together and you have yourself the makings of a heated rivalry, at least in the minds of the fans. You likely won’t find any clam chowder on a Carolina cupboard.
It is curious that the Denver Broncos grabbed only 3.57% in the fan poll , considering they are the most recent team to snatch a Superbowl victory from the Carolina Panthers. However, no one has accused the Broncos of blatant cheating in the victory. The Patriots on the other hand, well, lets just say there are suspicions…
“Our players came in after that first half and said it was like [the Patriots] were in our huddle,” a Panthers source told ESPN. “Do I have any tape to prove they cheated?. No. But I’m convinced they did it.”
Losing the Superbowl is one thing. Losing to a team that has been repeatedly accused of cheating is quite another. From video taped practices to the entire ball deflation fiasco, the Patriots have become the antagonists of the NFL. This may help explain why there is still so much pent up disdain for all things New England in the Carolinas.
The Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots square off this Friday night at Bank of America Stadium. Expect a very vocal contingent of fans wearing black and blue.