Monday, January 19, 2004

Updates on recruiting, and how 'bout them Panthers?

Tigernet has several recruiting updates here, here and here.

But I want to say a few things about the Panthers, who advanced to the Super Bowl with a 14-3 victory against Philadelphia Sunday night.

First of all, I realize I don't blog about the Panthers. This site is about Clemson football, my No. 1 sports passion. But I grew up in Charlotte, I'm a big Panthers fan and I've attended several games through the years -- though until I went to see Carolina play Dallas in November, I hadn't seen the team play in person since 1999.

A couple of those games were franchise landmarks.

I was there at Death Valley in 1995 for Carolina's first-ever home game, a loss to St. Louis. (I've still got the commemorative ticket and program.) I was also at Ericsson Stadium a year later for the Panthers' first home game in their permanent home, and I went to a couple of other games during a magical season that saw Carolina advance to the NFC championship game.

Because they are my hometown team, they've supplanted Pittsburgh as my favorite NFL squad.

And now, they're in the Super Bowl. THE SUPER BOWL!!!! If you had told me when I was a senior in high school in 1984 that within 20 years Charlotte would gain (and lose) an NBA franchise and also get an NFL team, I would have thought you were crazy. But it's happened, and now Charlotte plays on the biggest field imaginable, with literally the whole world watching.

The media in Charlotte have touted many landmark moments in the city's remarkable growth over the past 20 years, but none comes close to equalling this.

I'm proud and excited for the coaches and players, naturally, but more so for the city that is still my home in so many ways. I'll be watching in two weeks.


OK, that's enough cheesy civic boosterism for today.

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