Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The best Steve Smith moments ever as a Panther were....



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).

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

The TD in St Louis was truly unbelievable, I will probably never attend a Panthers game again as memorable (hope I do). I will also never forget the TD catch at the start of the game in Chicago 2005 play off game. The stadium was absolutely rocking and when Steve caught the pass, the entire place when silent. So many great memories from a guy that is truly a nice person but because of a handful of incidents is perceived as a trouble maker. Best of luck SS, we will miss you.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I'll just remember how hard it was for guys to tackle him. There was a play in the 2008 Regular Season game vs the Cardinals. Two cardinal defenders knocked him towards the boundary but he somehow tip toed the sideline and took it for a touchdown.

I wish I could remember what he said...

We all knew this day would come sooner rather than later. But he can still play ball, and contribute to the team, and mentor Cam to keep his head on straight. It's a shame he doesn't even get a chance to do a victory lap with the team he loved in front of the fans who love him.

Anonymous said...

Smith running in for a touchdown with a broken arm, then beating his chest, and reportedly asking to come back into the game.

Anonymous said...

I remember the game against the bengals during the 2002 season, he had 1 receiving td, and 2 punt returns. He absolutely destroyed them. Still shaking my head. I haven't seen a single person that thinks this is a good idea or understand the logic, not a single reporter or analyst.

Carson said...

Two of my favorite memories of Steve were against Minnesota. The first was in 2001 when he returned the opening kickoff for a TD the first time he touched the ball. I think it made people realize we had something special. The second was in 2005 when after Minnesota had their "love boat" scandal and Smitty did the boat row touchdown celebration. For me, it is one of the greatest TD celebrations in history. Those are the things I will miss. No matter if it went for 1 yard or 100 yards, when Steve touched the ball, we watched. I wish him nothing but the best in the coming years wherever he ends up.

Anonymous said...

Carson - the "love boat" celebration, while classic, wasn't on a touchdown. Smith was ruled down before the score, which was reviewed and upheld. Granted, Smith definitely thought it was a touchdown, but facts are facts.

A lot of great moments have been mentioned, but one that always stuck out to me was in the 2007 game against the Houston Texans. The Panthers were down by 20 with about 5 minutes left in the game, Smith was the only offense to speak of. A lot of players would concede the game to play another day. Smitty caught a pass, got enveloped by 4 defenders and was hovering inches above the ground, but somehow managed to push through all of them, regain his posture, and took it to the house.

That moment really captured what he meant to this team in my eyes. No matter the situation, no matter how outmatched he was, he always gave everything he had and simply willed things to happen. Thanks for the memories, Steve!

Ryan Smith said...

What I will always remember about Smitty is his love of the fans. After every game he would stand and sign autographs for a long time. He would wade into the crowd to make sure he got to meet and sign for as many fans as possible. He would so this after wins and losses. He was truly a class act when it came down to pleasing his fans. We will miss him!!!

Anonymous said...

I've shared this story before, and I though I was saving it again until his retirement, but I guess now will have to do. It still just seems so surreal. I'll save the Gettleman bashing for another forum though.

My favorite memory is the same as Carson's, though with added personal emphasis.

I grew up in Minnesota and fell in love with the Panthers when I was in 3rd grade, which was during their miracle run to the NFC Championship game in 1996. All my friends, who were Vikings fans, were rooting along with me when Carolina played the Packers, and it stuck ever since.

When I was in 8th grade, my dad gave me one of my best birthday presents of all time - two tickets to watch the Panthers play the season opener against the Vikings at the start of the '01 season. I was on cloud nine for months looking forward to it, it would be the first Panthers game I ever attended.

I still remember Chris Weinke's family (who was from Minnesota), was sitting a few rows in front of me up in the nose bleeds of the Metrodome holding up a sign that said "We love the Vikings, but family comes first, go Chris!"

I must have been the only other fan in my section sporting blue and silver in a sea of purple. I had been reading that summer about our mid round receiver draft pick who was supposed to be mainly a kick returner, so I was curious to see how he did when he walked onto the field for the season's opening kickoff.

As he began weaving through players and streaking toward the endzone I was screaming and jumping up and down while the rest of the Dome around me went silent. My dad quietly tried to tell me to quiet down, but it was no use.

Little did I know how incredibly fortunate I was. The first NFL play I ever saw in person was watching my favorite team's best player score a touchdown to start the season and his career. I'm probably one of just a handful of Panthers fans who was lucky enough to see it live.

I was able to go back again this past fall and watch as they turned around their season in week 6 against the Vikings and see Steve score one final TD there.

Thank you Steve, for making my day so much more enjoyable so many times over the past 13 years.

NASTAR99 said...

Good riddance.

Surly, anger management issues, immature and inappropriate on field behaviour...

...the antithesis of class.

Good going Gettleman!!

Jon said...

I think a forgotten play was against the Texans where he had about 6 guys on him and he broke through all the tackles and took it to the house even though it was in a losing effort. He never kept fighting--I will truly miss him.

Anonymous said...

yesterday when he was kicked out on his butt

W McRae said...

Speaking of Class: My favorite plays were the ones he would come back from and keep playing hard when others stopped. No matter how many seasons with no playoff he continued to play fully as a Panther. He was always back next year. He was hard on his teammates, sometimes bruttily, but he was still harder on himself and strove to improve. And then he would bend down and leave his shoes. More mature than a Terrel Owens ever was.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you Scott. Gettleman did great last year by finding the pieces that made us so successful. But that was his first year, now that its his second, it feels as though he wants to make a statement move to ensure everyone realizes who's boss. To not approach Steve with a restructure or even pay cut and fire him was foolish. He had to know how much Steve meant to the tram and the city. Of course everyone is going to be upset the best and longest tenured Panther was treated with utmost disrespect. In a position that was weak last year and saw Steve double teamed on most plays, I am at a loss as to how firing him will make the team better. Especially now that, as of now, there are zero receivers on the roster that even caught a pass last year. Gettleman low balled Hakeen Nicks and therefore Nicks goes to Indy. Ginn leaves, Nixon gone, Smitty gone, and I'm wondering.. exactly what is the plan here?? I wonder what's running through Cam Newton's mind. If giving him weapons and building around him is a priority, this sure is a strange way of going about it. Not to mention Cam going into a contract year, if a team comes along and matches an offer from Carolina, yet is stacked and ready to spend money on weapons for him.. how attractive is Carolina going to look at that point being 4 years in and never having had more than Steve or Olsen to throw to. As well as Gettleman did last year, he just shot himself in the foot with this move.. it also raises red flags to vets that this guy really doesn't care about the players or loyalty. To take Steves leadership away was a dagger to the locker room, and I'm almost certain the players would agree.

Anonymous said...

gettleman is an idiot!! Just that simple!!!