Monday, August 20, 2012

5 types of Panther fans -- a study from the stands

I didn't have to work Friday night for the Panthers' home exhibition game since I'm on a post-Olympics vacation. So I did something really rare for me. I bought four tickets to the game and sat in the stands with two of my kids and one of their friends for Carolina's 23-17 win over Miami.

It was a lot of fun -- and also enlightening.

In the glassed-in press box where I usually work, you simply don't get the full fan experience. You only hear roars or boos if they are really loud. You don't catch any of the subtleties. You don't understand how many fans actually still love doing the wave after all these decades, or how much goodwill Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert banked by doing the "wobble" dance for the video cameras.

So while spending close to four hours in the stands, I identified five distinct types of Panther fan behavior. Many fans would fall into several of these groups simultaneously -- see which categories you fall into. Or identify others I've missed in the comments section below -- I'm sure I didn't get them all.

In alphabetical order, the five I saw were:

THE ADAMS ANTICIPATORS: There is this low buzz that rises steadily when rookie Joe Adams jogs back to field a punt. It sounds a lot like the way it used to when Steve Smith, a rookie in 2001, used to do the same thing. Fans want badly to love Adams, whose "Moves Like Jagger" spins are going to end with him in the end zone one of these days.

THE CAM CRAZIES: Obvious, yes, but no one is watched as closely from the stands as quarterback Cam Newton. There was one lady sitting near us who held a young boy of about three years old and screamed "Cam! Cam" for literally about 45 minutes straight. Newton was too far away to hear them, but this didn't quench their enthusiasm. Newton also can play to the crowd like no one else -- I love the fact he is continuing the "give the touchdown balls away" tradition this season. He danced in the pregame to the loudspeakers. He shared something that looked like M&Ms or gum with a couple of random people on the sideline.

Seeing all of the unceasing attention he gets up close also made me understand a little better why Newton will occasionally hide part of his face in that Gatorade towel.

THE CLAUSEN CRINGERS: When Jimmy Clausen jogs onto the field, the effect is Pavlovian throughout the stands. Fans have been so conditioned to expect bad things that the blood pressure in the stadium shoots up simultaneously. Clausen received a good number of boos when he first entered the huddle -- and this was before he did anything bad. Clausen wasn't truly horrible Friday -- he was just sort of there -- but everyone in the stands simply waits for something bad to happen when he's in the game.

THE MARE MOANERS: There is a definite undercurrent of Anti-Olindo in the stands. Mare had the misfortune to follow one of the most popular players in Panther history -- kicker John Kasay -- and then to miss two critical late-game field goals last season.

Still, Mare is ridiculously good as a kickoff specialist, often booting the ball completely out of the end zone. And he's not bad at all in general as a field-goal kicker.

But the two misses last year -- and the fact he's not Kasay, and a lot of fans still wish Kasay were around -- work against him. There is far more support in the stands for Justin Medlock in the current kicking competition, even though Medlock's kickoffs are far more returnable.

THE REPLACEMENT REF RABBLE ROUSERS: Is there anything easier to do at an NFL game than to criticize the refs?

Yes, there is one thing.
Criticize the replacement refs.

No fan will admit to liking NFL officials anyway, even though they are in the top one percent of their profession to have ever reached that level. But now... replacement refs (due to the current contract dispute) are officiating exhibition games.

They have to throw flags. By and large, they are calling games full of second- and third-string players who are inexperienced and trying to gain an edge any way they can. So it's hardly any wonder that both teams had more than 130 yards of penalties Friday night.

As for the refs, they got ripped constantly -- for flags, for slowing up the game with too many conferences (that one was justified), for the fact it rained earlier in the day and left some of the seats wet... whatever. Talk about a thankless job.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Cam, Cam...let's see your transcript!"

Anonymous said...

Let's see your transcript and your bank account!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous....

nice joke, although I doubt any of the schools that Cam attended will accidentally put his transcript online as a sample like the morons at UNC did.

that debacle is on the school itself. what a bunch of idiots for doing that and getting themselves in more trouble than they already were in.

Riley Hoverman said...

Excellent post, Mr. Fowler. It is a relief to see a man of slight criticism finally be in the position of the fans. Not to say your criticism is unbearable but to state my opinion.

I still say Medlock > Mare. Mare is relying on his statistics from the past while fans are looking for the here and now. Medlock is young, fresh, and not to mention he uses his left boot which reminds myself and a few others of the Kasay era.


--
Riley Hoverman

Anonymous said...

There's one more category...the Confused Losers aka fans that wear jerseys or shirts of teams that aren't even playing in the game.

If I see one more Steelers or Jets jersey in that stadium when neither team is playing I'm going to scream. Exactly what point are you people trying to make?

Anonymous said...

you forgot a couple

-late arrivers/early leavers
-fan shushers/please sit down I can't see over you while your standing folks

Anonymous said...

Let's not assume there even is a Cam transcript.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:"Cam, Cam...let's see your transcript!"

Frankly it's pretty impressive after one year in the NFL as a rookie QB. Broke some records and stuff last year. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

What transcript?

Anonymous said...

Excellent point about the refs. If I see another 1st and 2 I'm going scream.

zcm92891 said...

Why are you going to scream if there is another 1st and 2? That was correct...Holding is a penalty enforced from the spot of the foul. Lafell did it downfield.

Anonymous said...

1st and 2 was unique for me. I had never seen a call like that before. Can someone please explain that one to me? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Who gives a crap what jerseys people are wearing? Its a free country. You dont have to wear the jersey of the home team to enjoy the game. Wear what you want.

Anonymous said...

"Who gives a crap what jerseys people are wearing? You dont have to wear the jersey of the home team to enjoy the game. Wear what you want."

Spoken like a true Eagles or Steelers fan. The answer to your question is its obnoxious and the fans doing it know that. If you are that big a fan of those teams, stay home and watch them or go to the bar. Or how about this, wear something else in your wardrobe. Or better yet, wear something to support one of the two teams you are there to see!

J said...

10:28 - When an offensive player is guilty of holding, his team is penalized 10 yards from where the hold took place. LaFell was 18 yards beyond the line of scrimmage when he committed the hold. Back them up 10 yards and DeAngelo is credited with an 8-yard game. Also, on a holding call, the down doesn't count. So it was first and 2.

J said...

8:04 AM - I'll tell you why that poster should give a crap. It only happens in our stadium. Did you watch the Colts-Steelers game Sunday night? If so, did you see any Redskins, Cowboys, Packers, Jets or Giants jerseys on any of the fans? No, all you saw were Steelers jerseys and those black-and-gold towels.

We have 2 serious issues with the fans here. One, there are too many people who treat their PSLs and game tickets more like Wall Street investments than chances to cheer the home team. They talked about this on WFNZ a few months back, asking why do people sell game tickets to fans of the visiting team. Just about everyone who responded spoke about visiting fans paying a premium, reducing their financial obligation for the PSLs, etc. etc. To these people, Panthers tickets are another investment vehicle like their 401(k) or stock portfolio or whatever, not about football. The other problem we have is that we have so many transplants that have other allegiences, and they love to scream at the top of their lungs that they don't root for the Panthers, they root for the Cowboys/Redskins/Packers/Steelers/Patriots/Jets/Giants/Bills, as if rooting for some other team makes them a higher life form than Panther fans. These people are always trying to get hold of Panthers tickets so they can wear their team's jersey and take their "I DON'T ROOT FOR THE PANTHERS, THEREFORE I AM SUPERIOR TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!" mess into the stadium with them.

Anonymous said...

Holding is enforced 10 yards from the spot of the foul or from the line of scrimmage (whichever is farther up field) and you repeat the down. So, Lafell committed the hold 18 yards beyond scrimmage. The penalty brings it back 10 yards, or 8 yards beyond the original line of scrimmage. Repeat the down, which makes it 1st and 2.

Anonymous said...

I'm a totally different fan in the pre-season than regular season. Get out with us when it counts.

VonSpee said...

There ws no first and two! Net gain was eight yards it should he been 2nd and two. Ball on Miami 39gain of 29 but holding at Miami 21, enforced back to the 31. Second down and two. When did eight yard gains start earning first downs?

DieHardCatXX said...

Scott, you forgot the Armanti Edwards App State Belligerents!! They cannot process the fact that that was college football and that this is the pros!!

Sportsdon said...

You forgot the most common fan seen during the preseason, the drunken fan. You will never see more drunk females than in the upper deck at a night game.

Anonymous said...

one poster and 20 posts with different names even making up bogus websites. total fraud.

co

Anonymous said...

In regards to those that wear other teams jerseys.....You see, this is what a fan is called. Even when they are not on the field playing, they are enjoying the game. You should look all around you at the games. What about the people that are dressed like they are going to a club!! Only place on the planet where you get husshed when cheering, cant have fun and are more concerned with being seen than seeing a game. Panthers Football is like the rest of the phony fans.....something to talk about but produces nothing.

Anonymous said...

What do call the fans buying into the 13-3 or 12-4 Division win talk? The Kool-Aid Krazies?