Panther fans were at their absolute best Sunday against New Orleans.
Buckets of rain? No problem. The rain-soaked, rowdy crowd stayed until the end and literally shook the stadium on Domenik Hixon's 14-yard TD catch to win it in the final minute. If you were there, you know what I mean.
I felt it and thousands of people there did, too -- one fan in the upper deck said people around him "actually fell down, but it could have been the beer." Defensive end Charles Johnson would later tweet that it was the loudest the stadium had ever been in his memory. The picture above shows fans celebrating after DeAngelo Williams' early TD run.
Fan Lisa Swygert wants to keep that enthusiasm going for the critical final regular-season game at Atlanta -- here's an excerpt from an email she sent me.
My family and I are DAY ONE Panther PSL fans..... I think the fans finally got it! My husband, son and I have seats in the upper deck and I will tell you when anyone started getting loud when the Panthers had the ball, just about everyone around that person started yelling for them to be quiet!
Over the course of the game, I think they actually understood the importance of remaining as quiet as possible, when the Panthers have the ball and as LOUD as possible, when the opposing team has it, especially on 3rd downs.
On a different note, I have a suggestion.... I am challenging other Panther fans to attend the Atlanta game next Sunday. I personally am surprising my husband and son with this last-minute gift idea.
It can be a day trip, so if finances are an issue, no hotel needed. Tickets are reasonably inexpensive... and I believe they might even be "cheap" on game day.
It's a GREAT last-minute gift for the family and most importantly we will (for once in the history of our team) have a real presence, at an away game. The conditions are perfect for it to actually happen, if we can just get the word out and challenge Panther fans! Doesn't get much closer in distance from CLT and prices should be at an all-time low with the Falcon's performance this year, combined with the holiday season still in full swing!
Always a Panther fan, Lisa Swygert
(OK, this is Scott again. Incidentally, Panther defensive end Greg Hardy challenged Carolina fans to do much the same thing shortly after the New Orleans game. Tickets for the 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec.29th game are available in lots of places on the secondary market online, including the NFL's official ticket exchange, stubhub.com and other places. Be careful and try to buy online from a vendor who guarantees the tickets as valid).
On another note, this will be my last blog until shortly after Christmas -- I will be posting my Falcons-Panthers prediction on Friday, Dec.27th. Have a great holiday, everyone!
I so much appreciate you making this blog -- and The Charlotte Observer -- a part of your day.
Enjoy one more pic -- here's Steve Smith making his lone catch against New Orleans, a 44-yarder, before he hurt his knee. Pretty good concentration here, huh? The news was good Monday on Smith's knee, and although I'm sure he won't play against the Falcons I believe he will return at some point in the playoffs.