I'm a Cincinnati Bengals fan, and I have been since 1985, when I was eight years old. The last time the Bengals won a playoff game was 1990. That was 20 years ago. Since then, they have been to the playoffs twice. Both times were huge embarrassing failures.
I've talked about jumping ship on the Bengals, but I've never seriously considered it. Until now. I don't live in Cincinnati. I haven't in 15 years. I don't have family in that city, I have no real connection to that city, and frankly, I kind of hate that city. At this point, the only thing keeping me a Bengals fan is a few fond (but fading) childhood memories, a hat I really love (but is quickly getting worn out), and an Anthony Munoz #78 throwback jersey hanging in my closet.
I can't punt the Bengals. They're in my blood. I'm married to that franchise, better or worse, sicker or poorer. But I have decided to take on a mistress.
I'm seeking a new NFL team to love. Hopefully one that will bring me happiness, not misery.
Loyalty is sacred in my mind, but I honestly don't think I can take any more Cincinnati Bengals football right now. I need a diversion and a second team to love.
My rules are simple: good owner and management that cares about winning, relative proximity to Charlottesville VA (where I currently live), but no long history of success and no Super Bowl wins. I'm not a frontrunner. I also need a good fanbase that will welcome a newcomer.
Life is too short and the NFL is too awesome to waste it waiting around on the sh!tbag Bengals franchise.
It's Mike Brown. And not just Mike Brown, but his entire family. Good people? I don't know, I guess so. Good at running a football franchise? No. I can't keep this source of negativity in my life, it's like poison. I'm in a bad mood every Sunday. And for what? A team whose owner couldn't give two craps about winning or about the product they put on the field for the fans.
I love football too much to abandon the NFL and wait out this latest roster rot Mike Brown invited onto the Bengals. Pacman Jones. Terrell Owens. Ochostinko. Timid Carson Palmer and his noodle arm. Et cetera. And once these players cycle through, we'll just be on to the next batch of scumbags and bad draft picks. Twenty freaking years is a pattern, and it's long enough to stay in an abusive relationship. I've seen all I need to see.
I mean, I'm on my main Bengals message board talking about the Bengals' next coach, and we can't allow ourselves to even think about the team bringing in an established good coach? What kind of life is this? Being the underdog is great, but the Bengals don't play the game to win. Mike Brown doesn't play to win, he just plays to exist. He's stagnated and content to suckle from the teet of the teams that care enough to put a good product on the field. And I can't take it anymore.
I'm afraid my only option is to let the Bengals fanship go into hibernation and find a new franchise to roll with. That tiger-striped "B" is like a scarlet letter, and it's one I never deserved to be branded with. I don't live in Cincinnati, I never visit Cincinnati, I kind of hate Cincinnati. I have zero regional loyalty --- my home is (and will probably always be) in Virginia.
I have two kids now. I don't want them to hate football because they inherited the Bengals from their old man.
But like I said, orange and black is in my blood, so I'm sticking with the Bengals and taking on a #1a, and it has to be from the NFC. And I think I've made my decision on which NFC team to adopt...
Yep, you guessed it. My choice is the Carolina Panthers. Six main reasons:
1) A nice, easy, short 3.5 hour drive from CVille to a beautiful stadium in (what I think is) an awesome little city.
2) I've been completely dialed-in with the NFL since the day the Panthers franchise was conceived in 1993 and created in 1995. I've witnessed the organization's entire history. And I was right there pulling for them along the way when they beat the Steelers in '96, made the playoffs, and knocked off the defending-champion Cowboys. Then again when they went to the Super Bowl in 2003 as the Cardiac Cats. This team has knocked on the door, but it hasn't quite made it in. I like that about them.
3) They are basically at square one right now. The John Fox era is about to end, and at 1-7 and going nowhere fast, I'll be getting in at the beginning of a new era for the franchise. It is very important to me that I'm not portrayed as a cheesed!ck bandwagon jumper as I go through this process of choosing a new team.
4) On a basic, philosophical level, I think the Panthers are about good defense and a strong running game, complemented by an explosive downfield passing game. They are a new franchise with an old-school NFC feel, which I really like.
5) Jerry Richardson is exactly the kind of owner I like. He's an old-school, dyed-in-the-wool type of guy. He's a former player who reveres the game, and he believes in hiring a GM to run the football operations (an area in which long-suffering Bungles fans know the hardship).
So there it is. I am now officially in my infancy as a Carolina Panthers fan.
My question to you guys is simple: Will you have me? Can I join your community here? Will you teach me the ways of being a Panthers fan?
Edited by StompLord, 12 November 2010 - 03:19 PM.