Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Having watched Steve Smith's entire 13-year career with the Panthers, I will pick a few of my personal favorites below. He promised a "two- or three-second party" early in his career every time he scored, and I think we can all agree that promise came through. Feel free to add your own favorite memories in the comments section. As for my take on the Panthers' imminent parting of the ways with Smith, click this link (short version -- I think it's a mistake). And also take one more look at this incredible Jeff Siner picture of Smith against Green Bay -- see where that ball is? He barely has hold of it by his thumbs. And he made that catch, which won that game:
Best catch: The 69-yard touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme that won the 2003 playoff game against St. Louis on the first play of double overtime.
Best block: On Cam Newton’s 72-yard touchdown run against Atlanta in 2012, Smith sprinted downfield to take out two Falcon defenders with one hit. He was awarded a game ball simply for the block.
Best single game: Smith’s 218-yard receiving game on the road against Chicago in the 2005 playoffs -- that was the year he was at his absolute peak.
Best touchdown celebration: Many to choose from (before the NFL reined celebrations in with 15-yard penalties), but I was always partial to Smith pretending like the football was a baby and mimicking changing its diaper, even down to wiping the football’s “bottom” in the end zone with a towel.
Best college receiver on other side: Chad Johnson – the future “Ochocinco” and Smith teamed together for awhile at Santa Monica Junior College. Wouldn’t you have liked to have been the quarterback?
Best pro receiver on other side: Muhsin Muhammad – who wasn’t as fast as Smith but was a very physical player who helped mentor Smith and teach him how to block more effectively. Too bad they never found another equal partner for Smith during his 13-year career.
Best fourth-and-10: Against Miami in 2013, Smith made a difficult catch in traffic on a "make it or lose" 4th-and-10 at Miami. The Panthers won after that catch, and 16 of his teammates voted it the most significant play of the season.
Best season: In 2005, Smith won the NFL’s “triple crown” for wide receivers by leading the league in reception yards (1563) and tying for first in receptions (103) and receiving TDs (12).
Posted by Scott Fowler at 8:43 PM