You know, I was a bit skeptical of the new owner of the Carolina Panthers at first. Billionaire hedge fund math wiz? Sounds like a guy that would base all decisions on a spreadsheet with as many rows as Bank of America Stadium. Now, however, I am starting to think Tepper may be the best thing that could have happened to the Carolina Panthers.
Just in time.
First, there was his press conference. Straight forward with no doublespeak, something we are all too accustomed to hearing. He actually stated the statue of Jerry Richardson must stay due to contractual issues. Wait a minute. He didn’t have to say that, but he did. And good on him for doing so. My heart began to warm, if only a little.
Next, the first night of training camp. I am on the field standing next to a Carolina Panthers employee. He nudges me, “Hey Igo, you going to get a picture of him?” I looked around a bit and did not spot anyone of any significance. Upon further inspection, it was David Tepper himself in full blown Carolina Panthers fan gear, ball cap included. What the heck is going on here. Is he really a man of the people? My heart grew warmer, but still cautious. I don’t want to be hurt.
Finally, the Carolina Panthers are now teasing that the Panthers own logo will be painted at mid field, replacing the generic NFL shield of the old regime. This is something that speaks loudly and directly to the fan base. This is the move that will indicate a new day has indeed come to Carolina. A day that celebrates the Carolina Panthers fully, and not the NFL first and foremost.
If Tepper was Caesar he would have just reopened the Colosseum. My initial skepticism has now evolved to full on man crush. Tepper is a stadium beer price reduction away from being named in my last will and testament.
God bless you David Tepper. You have won us over.
PS. Steve Smith should have a statue.Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.