Friday, March 5, 2010

Jake: The emotional torrent unleashed

Say what you want about Jake Delhomme – and people certainly are today -- but the guy sure can inspire a lot of emotion. So far today I’ve seen and heard tears, utter joy, and some just plain meanness as Panther fans celebrate with each other or commiserate about Delhomme’s release from the Panthers.

As for Delhomme, he had an extremely hard time getting through his Friday afternoon news conference at the beginning -- crying, wiping his eyes and looking down repeatedly. As tears streamed down his face, he said something I think we all knew: "I wear my heart on his sleeve. And this is me."

Delhomme said he was "blindsided" by Carolina's move to release him Thursday but that he also held "no animosity whatsoever" toward the team. He originally thought the "You're fired" call that came from the Panthers Thursday was simply to tell him he would start the season as No.2 to Matt Moore, not that he was gone.

On a Charlotte radio station today, a talk-show host talked about how much he loved this day and had longed for it. He said it felt like a national holiday and urged listeners to call in with song requests to say goodbye. His request was “Hit the Road, Jack,” which he gleefully modified to “Hit the Road, Jake.” Meanwhile, a national columnist for CBS Sportsline resurrected the "Jake the Fake" nickname he once bestowed on Delhomme before rescinding it several years ago.

Panther head coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney both choked up when talking about how much Delhomme meant to them and how difficult a decision this was – although they were also the ones who fired him.

No one sits on the fence about Jake, which is something you can say about just about every interesting person you run into in this life.

There’s pro-Jake (I’ve long been in that corner in an overall way, although I did call for him to be benched very early last season, after Carolina started 0-3). There’s anti-Jake. There's no neutral-Jake.

"Not every script you write is going to have a happy ending," Delhomme said Friday. "That's life."

Yes, it is. I believe the Panthers just made a big mistake jettisoning Jake and should have kept him around for 2010 as a reliable backup to Matt Moore, as I wrote in this earlier blog post. But judging from the online polls, most fans think this was the right move and I’m dead wrong. We’ll see.

The anti-Jake crowd may well be right, and I respect your opinion. We'll have to agree to disagree. But it’s amazing to me how many people are so concerned for the Panthers about saving theoretical money for a salary cap that doesn’t even exist right now.

As for Delhomme himself, once he was able to start talking, he handled himself classily in his Friday afternoon press conference. You knew he would.

Too bad others delighting in his firing -- so openly reveling in his misery, both online and on the radio and everywhere else -- can't do the same thing.

56 comments:

Vikram said...

I am sad today. More so after seeing the news conference. This guy was a class act. To all those who are celebrating, calling him names, I am just appealing to maintain your dignity and remember the innumerable "great" moments that Jake Delhomme has given us. Radio talk show hosts are (for a lack of a better word) "morons". Just look at Rush Limbaugh and you will get the picture.

I salute you Jake. You will be missed. Regardless, Go Panthers.

Josh Carpenter said...

I agree about Jake needing to go, but Chris McClain is a joke and shouldn't be allowed back on radio. Jake has a lot of class, something it's hard to find these days in the NFL

Anonymous said...

I am a Jake fan. Pure and simple. Why? Because he's a winner. No other Panther QB matched his fire. The haters do so for many reasons. I like Moore and wish him all the best. I hope Jake catches on with another club and has more success in the league. To the haters (who couldn't hold Jake's jock strap) if you think the dog killer is the answer you're as stupid as your posts suggest.

Anonymous said...

I was a season ticket holder in 2003. Jake in for Rodney Peete and then came the great pass and cattch to Proehl to win it. The Dallas evening playoff game that was as exciting night I can remember at a football game. Dallas didnt know what hit them. Steve Smith beating Jason Sehorn and the Rams in overtime.Shutting out Philadelphia.A minute from beating the Pats for the championship.The perfet : bomb" to Moose is something I will remember forever. Jake, thank you for the memories. You didnt do it all yourself, but you certainly were a catalyst.Best wishes.You are a class act.

Steve said...

He was the best, and at times (especially lately) the worst QB we have ever had in the franchise history. But anyone that claims he was not the best teammate, locker presence, leader, and person we could hope to be the face of this franchise does not realize how fortunate we were to have him for the time that we did. I understand the decision, but would have liked to see him compete with Matt. Ultimately, the Panthers realized he was not worth the extension they willingly gave him. If this move is anyone's fault, it was a short-sighted front office rewarding a six-turnover playoff performance. Jake may be upset now, but a check with seven figures on it will smooth things over.

LiverpoolLads said...

You are wrong. No need to see. Your a muppet for thinking Jake would be anything but a disaster again...

Anonymous said...

Chris Mclain is a Joke!! He is a band wagon tar heel and a joke as a radio host. I miss the days of gary and the morning sports page where you could hear unbiased sports and not how great chapel hill is at everything. HACK!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Jake will be missed, but it was time. No doubt a panther hall of famer. The real crime is against wfnz for letting that retard chris mcclain still on the air. I'd rather steer into oncoming traffic than listen to that goob.

Anonymous said...

Memo to Chris McClain: If you think people were happy when Jake was cut, just think how elated we'll be when your contract is not renewed. I travel throughout the USA and between your talk show and the 3 PM morons, WFNZ is undoubtedly the worst on the air. I guess your station's ratings are evidence of that.

Long live XM/Sirius radio!

Anonymous said...

yall take up for your white boy but he aint no vick and u know it

Fire_faux said...

Now only if we can get Fox and Hurney out the door, we may be able to compete for a ring.

Anonymous said...

Vick had 86 yards passing and 95 yards rushing for the SEASON last year, enough said.....

Anonymous said...

Yeah, he sure "ain't no Vick", a classless animal abuser that never won anything. What an ignorant comment you just made.

lakemed said...

Jake is class. I have always liked him and still do. It seemed last year that the game of football has passed him by. He said "I played trying not to make a mistake". Maybe he will sign somewhere and get back to his slinger ways. He has always been a "oh sH!t" OR "alright, great throw " QB. Panthers will miss his leadership and accountability. Best of luck Jake. I would still like to see you play somewhere if you can find the game again.

J said...

Scott, I do not revel in Jake's misery. I simply think letting him go is a good move. I loved the great Jake games in anon 2:17's list. But by the end of '08, defenses had figured him out and adjusted. He didn't adjust back. And at 35, he's no spring chicken anymore. I would have liked it if he had been able to arrange a massive pay cut so he could retire here.

And as for your continued stance that saving money for space under a cap that doesn't exist, that is extremely short-sighted. There will be some salary control system of some sort in the new CBA. It is very prudent of the Panthers to have salaries as low as proactical, so they will have more options once they know what the new system looks like. After Daniel Snyder spends another $1 billion or so on the Redskins, what happens if the new salary control system leaves them so far above the limit that he has to cut 30 players to get in line?

If the Panthers can lop $20-30 million off the 2010 payroll and still field a .500 team, we as fans should be OK with that. Yes, watching a .500 team isn't as much fun as a Super Bowl team, but then after the strike/lockout ends and teams begin building again, the Panthers will be in the best position to quickly add missing pieces to be a Super Bowl contender.

Erik said...

Scott, I've met you several times while I attended Appalachian State. You're a great writer.

I agree and disagree with parts of this. First, I agree it wasn't the proper way to handle breaking ties with Jake. He has done some amazing things wearing the Black and Blue - both uniform and on body. He's done some great things leading the Panthers, and he's done some questionable things on the field. He made Panther fans believe in the impossible.

However, it had to be done. Keeping Jake around would have caused splits if a team leader was benched, and a safety net if Moore was hurt. It would have been nice yes, but there's not telling if Fox's loyalty to Jake would have overcome the decision to make Moore the starter. Also, Adam Scheffler (I think?) made a valid point. Jake is guaranteed $12 million. Tendering Moore is another $3 million. That total is what you expect for a starting quarterback. A backup making $12 million? Using the highest tender on a backup? It's a business and it's the bad part about it.

Jake - you were great but Tommy John surgery it seemed like you were fully back from. The Arizona game was the beginning of the end. Best of luck in the future. While some are sad and some are happy - we should all just remember the good times we had. That's really all that we have now - the memories.

debbie said...

"Anonymous said...
yall take up for your white boy but he aint no vick and u know it"


what a sad comment...an idiot making this into a racial thing...its people like you that cause a ton of the problems in this country today...nobody else on this entire thread made a racial statement...what business is it of yours that people appreciate what jake did....and youre right...jake aint vick...michael vick couldnt hold jake delhomme's jock strap in the department of being a man and an upstanding citizen...however...i support the decision and i fully support matt moore as our qb!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate what Jake did for this franchise. He was a leader, and very good QB for a few years. But I think he is at the end of his road, his arm just isn't accurate now. He overthrew so many open receivers last year. He's done, simple as that. It's time to move on, and I'm glad to see the Panther's realize that. I'm all for Jake in the ring of honor, because that's something you can't take from him.

David said...

Scott, I understand and agree that it may have been a good move to keep Jake as a mentor or backup, but this move was made purely for economical reasons. If he was only going to make 3 or 4 million then the Panthers would have kept him. But he was also due a 10 million dollar bonus this spring which was just too much money for a guy that wasn't going to start. The Panthers have definitely gone into a youth movement with all of the moves made in the last day, and Matt Moore is part of that plan.

Anonymous said...

By Jake, you suck!

PYC said...

This is a very sad day in Panther history. Despite some tough moments, Jake was a natural leader, and such a role model for the entire team. He still has spark and talent, and there are thousands of us who would sure love to see him wear Panther black and blue again this season. He's so classy, he was ready and willing to serve as a backup for Matt Moore, which makes this move even harder to bear. As for Chris McClain, we have to consider the source. I was taught by a very wise grandmother that only the SMALLEST man will kick another when he's down. Kicking Jake at this troubling point in his life is as low as one can get. It takes no guts, and yields no glory. VERY SMALL indeed, Chris. When in the world have you ever tossed a football for an NFL team??? It's pretty easy playing Quarterback from an armchair, isn't it? Sort of like hosting a radio show with a brain full of jello. WE LOVE YOU JAKE !!

Virgil said...

Reliable back-up!!!! LMFAO!!!! Are you kidding?!!!

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
yall take up for your white boy but he aint no vick and u know it"

And Vick ain't no Jake, either. How many Superbowls has Vick played in? (Zero)

How much prison time has Jake served? (Zero)

Jake has a chance to continue his career with another team. Vick has a chance to show he deserves the title of "rehabilitated felon". I hope both succeed.

Leighton said...

I agree with the comments about Chris McClain. It's so sad that we have such a poor excuse for a sports radio station in this town. McClain speaks like a 13 year old with his obnoxious laugh and immature comments. I love the Panthers and sports in general for that matter, so it would be nice to have a good radio station that covered the Panthers. Right now we just have a loser in the morning on WFNZ. For many Panther fans, today was a long time coming and yes I do think that this was the right decision to let Jake go. But to make a mockery out of what he did for this franchise and city is sad. The guy has the biggest heart of anybody on the team. It's just sad that he didn't have the talent to match it. If Peppers played with the tenacity that Delhomme did here, we would have won at least one Super Bowl while they were both here.
Jake, thank you so much for all the good times that you brought this Panther fan. Just know that for every loud, obnoxious Jake-hater out there on the radio, blogging, etc, there are 50 Jake lovers who wanted nothing more that for you to succeed. We all know that you didn't fail because of a lack of effort, thats for sure. You left it all on the field and for that you can always keep your chin up.

Scott said...

Sheesh - what a whirlwind for me today. I'm thirlled that Matt Moore finally gets a shot, and it's obvious that no one in the organization ever thought it would come to this with Jake.

On the human side, you've got no soul if you don't feel for Jake and Fox and Hurney. I've seen a lot of retirement and fired and released press conferences, and NEVER have I seen three really tough pros take it so hard.

When it's all said and done, I really think Jake will be remembered for exactly what he was - a spirited leader, a consumate pro, the ultimate teeam player, a guy who reached heights that no one thought possible, and a guy who had one of the worst tailspins in the history of NFL QB's.

I personally think all of this "Ring of Honor" talk is WAY premature. I know he was here linger than any other starting QB and won more games and went to the playoffs more than anyone else in franchise history. When your franchise history is less then 15 minutes, I think it's a lot better to wait and see what the real standard for being in the "Ring" should be.

I'm sure the guys in th locker room will miss him, and the team will lose some heart. Let's all face it - Matt Moore left ownership with no choice. Let's hope that Matty has learned more from Jake than just the offense. If that's the case, it makes all of the other bad stuff just fade away.

Au revoir. Mr. Delhomme. Thanks for all that you have done for this city and this franchise. God speed and good luck.

Identity Management said...

Say what you want - Jake took us to the superbowl - Ask New Orleans how long it took to get there and the others who haven't been. Great guy and I am sure the $12M will help sooth over the harsh reality of losing the job.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I'm not alone when it comes to WFNZ. We live in a city big enough to have better sports talk radio. I miss the days of Gary Williams and the Morning Sports Page.

Chris "Umm, uhhh" McClain's show must have a target audience of middle school kids. His show is just a place for morons to "talk smack." Gary Williams would have intelligent conversations about sports.

Hey, Chris why don't you read more immature e-mails from Tar Heel Tim, Gator Gary and Raven Ron. Get off the air you hack! Charlotte deserves better.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about Jake, he has nearly 13 million reason to move on and live a very comfortable life raising horses back in La. Must be nice to be paid for not working.

There will be another team in the next few weeks that will pick him up as a backup and he'll hang around the league for a few more years. He may even sign a 1-day tender so he can retire as a Panther like Steve Beuerlein did.

People tend to forget that he NFL is a business and these decisions ahve to be made. If the Panthers go 10-6 or better next year and Matt Moore throws 22 TDs vs 6 INTs, people will look back and go "Jake who?"

Anonymous said...

Adios Jake and thanks for all the good times - and there were many - the last 8 years. We should have kept you as a backup because you still have value, but you will be signed by someone else so dont fret.

You took the abuse and made no excuses when you didnt play well, and that says to me you are a standup guy. You will be missed.

David said...

Two comments...

Who is Chris McClain? Never heard of him... no kidding.

... and Vick is a bum and a thug, I don't care if he's black, white, purple, green or pink!

A thug and a bum!

Anonymous said...

Regarding sports talk radio hosts...
Since Gary Williams left, we're left with nothing but clown acts at WFNZ..morning, noon, and evening. Who can take any of 'em seriously? Satellite radio is a wonderful thing.

Marbelized said...

You could say I sit the fence. I appreciate Jake for his fire and his abilities while at the same time recognizing that he's lost at least the abilities part. Though I think he's a class act, truth is, he doesn't have any more mojo and the Panthers did the right thing letting him go. I'll cheer that he can resurrect himself somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Another idiotic article by this guy. Getting real old. Reminder for all you dog lovers out there. Vick won a playoff game in Lambo field againsta legend in the snow! Calling him a loser all you want, but he's kicked the Panthers azz many times. So all of you can eat a d**k! Go Vick!

Anonymous said...

michael v is to good tp play in such a south racist city like charlote sc anyway

phillyboy

Anonymous said...

I SALUTE the Panthers organization for finally doing the right thing! Sure you lost money in a stupid way by resigning him after his poor performance in the playoffs, but you will be rewarded by the fans who want to see the Panthers win the Superbowl....GO PANTHERS!~

Anonymous said...

WFNZ is awful! The morning show, as a bunch of people have already said, is a complete waste of time listeners' and advertisers' time and money. But the afternoon show with Garcia and Buckner? Oh my god! What great radio it is to listen to two morons talk over each other and not make any sense. They sound like two fat, bumbling hogs. Half the time you can't even understand what they're saying. The afternoon drive time show is hosted by a pompous guy who thinks he knows all.

Great lineup WFNZ!!!

Anonymous said...

I disagree that there are no neutral Jake fans. I think most Panther fans appreciate the history and wins that Jake has given to the team. Most appreciate his emotion and love of the game.

But, I think most realize that a change needed to be made. That Jake wasn't the same, in either arm strength or psyche; since the surgery. A team needs a QB that can be a weapon and drive for a touchdown when you need it. Jake had lost that.

Anonymous said...

There was never anything wrong with Jake off the field, that I knew about, but on the field def. ups and downs. The goods were good and the bads, well we all know how they ended up. Def. going to miss his fire and passion, but there's some stuff that I won't miss either. Either way, good luck Jake, whatever you do dude, raising horses or Bo commercials!

Rob said...

Scott, I assume you are taking a shot a Greg Doyle at cbs sports.com. Thank you, I don't read him anymore. It's the only way to make him go ahead.

Anonymous said...

I was all for benching him, never releasing him. I can't help but feel bad for Jake. Like him or not, he gave everything he had to this team.

Suzanne said...

The haters are just a few months away from getting their next whipping boy, as soon as the Talk Radio clowns tell them who that is. Jake had one bad season. He rallied the Panthers in miraculous last minute wins so many times that when he couldn't do it every time, suddenly he was a bum. But he owned his mistakes, even today. He's no victim, he said. I wish great things for Jake. He is a good player and a good role model, but I recognize that many fine people feel it was the right decision to let him go. I appreciate those who express that opinion respectfully. But the peons who celebrate? Who denigrate? Who pop off with made up stuff about how Jake's only had one good season, in spite of the actual facts? The haters are just mean people. Mean people are generally unhappy and unfulfilled and that's why they take such pleasure in the undoing of others. Jake will be fine because he's a high character guy and a winner who loves the game of football; the haters, however, will still be mean, unhappy and unfulfilled, and will never get even a whiff of the level of success Jake has enjoyed, nor will they ever get themselves, by pure drive like Jake did, onto a stage as big as the NFL. They are having a good time today, but tomorrow they'll be whining again about somebody else's shortcomings because they can't bear to work on their own.

Robert said...

Put aside for a minute the debate on "Should he stay, or should he go?" and "Was he good for the Panthers, or was he a disaster?". Jake was a team player and an asset to the team in many ways quantifiable outside stat sheets. More importantly Jake was one of us. Who revels in one of us, a nice guy getting fired? Show a little respect and human decency, and allow the guy the exit you'd want for yourself. You know..."Do unto others...."!

Anonymous said...

I am glad that he won't be starting, but was shocked he was let go completely. I don't agree with the reveling in this.... off the field, he is a good guy and has done so much for this organization. You have to feel somewhat sad it came to this.

Amy Tyler said...

Wow. As a Panthers fan I want to win, but as a human, I'm so sorry for Jake today. What a guy to face the cameras on such a day...thanks, Jake! Take this as a blessing...there's something else you're supposed to do for now.

Amy

Anonymous said...

Jake has always been a class act. He didn't make excuses, he took responsibility. As a person I would love to have him as a friend. As a fan it was time for him to step aside. As a former business owner I understand the economic situation and how it didn't make keeping him as a backup a viable option. Or really a smart one. Now is the time to get the finances in order before all these idiots kill the goose.

This team has no reputation as being cheap. But they need to be smart. If they are going to commit money to players that may well sit a year then it better be younger players. Now is the time to find out what's in the cupboard. We will rent some older players for this season to fill holes but in general it's time for these young unproven guys to prove they belong here.

In closing I would say to Jake he gave us a lot of good memories. I wish him nothing but the best. But it was time and I think even he knew it.

Anonymous said...

I was stunned at the release of the best quarterback in franchise history. More importantly, in an age of primadonna athletes with the me me me attitude, Jake Delhomme is someone that I would want my kids to look up to as an athletic role model. Passion, fire, leadership, and team before me and undying work ethic. Jake Delhomme is first and formost an outstanding person as well as great represetative of any professional sport. Thanks for the great years Jake!

TIm said...

Chris McClain? The Mac Attack?

LOL. That show is awful. I wish the worst for that guy and his family.

Jake is total class. Mac wishes he had an ounce of Jakes class.

pfrandano said...

We love you Jake!!! Thanks for the great years and many, many unforgettable memories!! God's Speed to you and your Family!

Anonymous said...

I will never get out of my head that game when he came in for Rodney Peete - The connection to Prohl to win it -- Leaving the stadium that day from the cheap seats the chanting JAKE !, JAKE !, JAKE !, JAKE ! --- We found OUR guy -- You will always be OUR guy Jake - Best of luck to you !

Alexis Yaj said...

Jake was the only quarterback I knew of the Panthers! And I've lived in Charlotte since 94!!! I didn't get into football till he started making wins and making the Panthers noticeable towards non-football fans like me. Now I'm emotionally into the NFL and the Panthers that my family think I'm crazy!! I'm going to miss Jake! I hope we can bring him back as a backup, 2nd or 3rd or even 4th!!!

Anonymous said...

That press conference was VERY eye opening. It is now evident that Hurney/Fox made terrible decisions around the QB position out of blind loyalty. It was like Jake was their son and they just couldn't see what was in front of their eyes. Now the organization (and fans) are going to pay for it in 2010. Someone who knows how to evaluate QB's (and wide receivers for that matter) needs to be brought in.

coop01nc said...

I'm a Jake fan. However, I was certainly ready for him to play 2nd fiddle to someone, seemingly, Matt Moore. I think Jake would have been a terrific back up/mentor to Moore. Cutting him to potentially save undefined cap room while still paying hime 13 mil doesn't make sense to me. I just don't feel good about the move all in all...

Anonymous said...

It is a good thing for Carolina to look foward at the QB position, but I hate to see this happen to Jake. Jake is a class act and a true gentleman. The NFL would be better for it if we had more people with Jake's personality out there.

Thanks for the memories Jake. Best of luck to you!!

Alexis Yaj said...

I would like for Jake to retire as a Carolina Panthers!! Could it be possible? What would the benefits of being a retired player of a club?

Anonymous said...

I'll really miss Jake. He is full of emotion, personality and love for the game as well as his team. I wish him the best.

Jono in Iraq said...

Before 2003 and Jake Delhomme we (Panthers) were just an expansion team in the south. Most people didn't even know which Carolina we played in. Fox, Hurney, Delhomme. Muhammed, Smith; they all helped put us on the map. I haven't lived in Charlotte for over 20 years, but I can tell you this; The Panthers Organization is very well respected around the country because of, FOX, HURNEY, DELHOMME. And the emotion that was shown by the organization's leaders and Jake last week is enviable around the league.

It's like the end of "Jerry McGuire" when Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding are hugging after the big game and the other player looks at his dirtbag agent and says, "Why don't we have a relationship like that?"

BTW I don't know who this Chris McClain character is but he just made my list. He sounds alot like "that guy" who craps on everybody to compensate for his own lack of self worth and general meanness. He'll eventually be "that guy" who no one will high five or even acknowledge when the Panthers win the big one.....sad.