It has been a while since I've taken every single one of my human particles that are deemed to be nice and turned them into full rage in order to write a post dedicated towards the hatred of the Bills' opponent. I think Mick Foley coined the phrase "Going to Promoland" when he morphed into the sadistic Cactus Jack. Well, I'm feeling like going to that mystical land of venom today and Carolina is about to feel my wrath. Here are my five reasons to hate the Carolina Panthers...
5) The 1995 Carolina Panthers- For about 15 minutes, the Panthers were pretty much the Bills of the mid-south. After Ralph Wilson fired Bill Polian [Shakes fist at the sky] in 1993, he ended up going down to Carolina to head up the expansion team. He brought in Frank Reich, Carlton Bailey, Don Beebe and Pete Metzelaars. I'll always remember that 2nd game of the 95' season when it was just weird to see so many familiar faces across the sideline. It kind of symbolized in a way how NFL FA was here and that the Bills were being poached by other teams.
4) Dickhead rich owners- I hate rich people. Especially old rich people. From Jerry Jones having his glasses cleaned on national TV by one of his minions to Dan Snyder defending the use of the Redskins name. All NFL owners can get off my lawn.This guy in Carolina who owns the team goes by the name of Jerry Richardson. Just by looking at his photo this clown is cut from the same cloth of too much money and too much of a Mr. McGoo persona in him. He is also on par with Ralph with making dubious personnel decisions like firing Bill Polian a year after he Panthers went to the NFC Title game. Also, he reportedly was a dick during the lockout to Peyton Manning and Drew Brees in a meeting. I mean, how can you be dicks to those two guys? On top of that, this jack off told Cam Newton that he didn't like him having tattoos or piercings. Seriously? I wonder how he threatens to throw people off his lawn...does he hose them down with water coming from his moat or pour hot tar on them from his castle balcony?
3) Charlotte...Next to Atlanta, The 2nd worst big city sports town ever- Everyone knows for every 6 Charlotteans, there are like 10 ex-pats from Buffalo living there. Maybe the influx of ex-pats has a lot to do with the city being such a giant yawn when it comes to their professional sports. You'd think it would be better when you consider that Charlotte is ranked as the 23rd largest city in the country, but the region just has this stench of carpetbagging when it comes to their teams. You got teams leaving (Hornets) and then you got teams returning (Bobcats). Then you got their neighbors in Raleigh stealing the Whalers from Hartford (More on them later) and rumors about the longterm future of the Panthers. Also, who is like the Mr. Charlotte when it comes to their professional sports teams? Kerry Collins? Larry Johnson? Jake Delhomme? Whoever the hell is the best player on the Bobcats? I don't even wanna bring up Rae Carruth. You thought OJ was an asshole, this guy takes the cake. They have no one! At least we have some professional sports HOFs who spent their whole careers here. It is all about Coach K and Ric Flair's drunk ass. Oh, and fuck NASCAR.
2) Fucking up our draft plans- This is probably the only football related item to get worked up about with the Bills/Panthers. I remember being a sports intern at WGRZ in 2001 and having the God awful responsibility to log the highlights while watching the Bills take on the Panthers. If you were to combine the record of both teams heading into this game, it was probably the worst winning percentage (Both teams were 1-11) of any matchup at that juncture in the regular season ever!!! The game was surprisingly entertaining as the Bills pulled off a 25-24 win. However, they doomed themselves when in came to the draft. Because of the win, the Bills had the 4th pick instead of the 2nd pick. The Panthers selected Julius Peppers and the Bills went with Mike Williams. UGH!! Talk about a GIANT what if?!! How about the 2011 draft? The Bills had the 3rd pick while the Panthers had the 1st, I know it is still early, but wouldn't you rather have Cam Newton over Marcell Dareus? It always seems like when the Bills are trying to suck for a top pick, the Panthers are doing it better by sucking more!
1) Carolina Hurricanes- This happens to me at least once a month while living in NYC. I get one person always thinking that Buffalo is like an hour away from NYC or is a part of the NYC region. They are just so inept when it comes to their geography. So, even though Raleigh isn't a part of Charlotte, I'm going to use the idiotic mindset of the dumb ass people who don't know that Buffalo is 8 hours away from NYC to destroy the Carolina Hurricanes. I mean, fuck it. The Panthers and Hurricanes are stupid enough to not have their team name be after the city they play in...AND can't even have the geographical sense to even mention what stupid Carolina state they are in! North, South, East, Flair country, NASCAR COUNTRY?! WHY AM I YELLING?!. Anyways, let's bottom line this: When I say the world "Carolina"...9-10 Buffalonians will finish it with "Carolina Hurricanes can fucken go to hell." Reason enough for me.
Now for Twitter's finest:
@buffalowins Hate Carolina because of all the OBX stickers on cars around here. I have no idea if this is close to Charlotte, but still.— The Lonely Haikuer (@BuffSportsHaiku) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins BECAUSE THEU GOT TO A SUPERBOWL WITH JAKE DELHOMME AND LOST (well, duh) TO THE PATS, ENABLING THEM FOR ANOTHER RING.— Korey D. Carlson (@kdcarlson15) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins SEKERA— Cody L (@c_lampman) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins they have a lot more good bbq joints than buffalo, that's all I got for now— Timothy Then (@TimNThen) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins They didn't beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl when I really wanted them to. That's all I got.— Jeremy Kornbluth (@Truthbluth) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins SEKERA THINKS THEY'RE BETTER— charles_lexner (@lexnercj) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins all anyone cares about down here is college football. Plus, have you seen their "lazy-eye" logo?— Dyson Enthusiast (@tom_j_lee) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins He Hate Me— Andy Provin (@AndyProvin) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins because it's the prime destination of every ex-Buffalonian not tough enough to make it here— ace (@emjay716) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins They stole Polian, Metzelaars, Reich, Beebe, and Bailey from us!— ces715 (@ces715) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins my carolina chops are weak. astounding amounts of confederate flags in western blue ridge mountains. i could hate that.— Sports Rock Gods (@jambrones) September 12, 2013
@BuffaloWins charlotte lost their shit when delhomme got cut, not because of football acumen, but because WHO WILL BE THE NEW BOJANGLES GUY— Frank (@fgif) September 13, 2013
Follow Brandon on Twitter @B_Schlag for more Sabres banter.
The date was July 3, 2003.
The Buffalo Sabres had recently placed the finishing touches on another disappointing season, one in which they would finish dead last in the Northeast for the second straight year.
It was the beginning of a summer pegged as a “rebuilding year,” and, much like this one, there wasn’t much to look forward to, coming off a franchise-worst 72-point season while overcoming bankruptcy and inching dangerously close to an impending relocation.
At that point, fans could only be thankful there would still be hockey played at the foot of Washington Street the following season -- something that had been in serious doubt for some time.
Months earlier, three days before Tom Golisano’s purchase of the Sabres was announced, general manager Darcy Regier had already made one mid-season move that indicated the focus was on the future when he traded veteran center Chris Gratton to Phoenix for a smallish but promising 25-year-old Danny Briere at the trade deadline in March.
What came next would alter the course of the floundering franchise for the next decade.
On this particular day, July 3, Regier executed another bold transaction -- perhaps his boldest in 17 years as GM -- flipping a few spare parts to Calgary for Chris Drury.
Drury, at 26, had been the Calder Trophy winner in 1999 and already featured a Stanley Cup on his resume from his time in Colorado. Both players carried tremendous upside, and, while neither were acquisitions thought to immediately impact much at the time, it was a refreshing change to a pitiful roster.
The trades turned out to impact Buffalo hockey for the next decade, and maybe forever. Briere and Drury almost single handedly incited a hockey renaissance in Buffalo, rejuvenating a drained fan base with memories that will last a lifetime.
It’s easy to draw parallels to then and now. Maybe too easy. Of course, hockey’s existence in Buffalo isn’t in doubt like it was in 2003. But, for the first time since those early-2000 seasons, serious questions exist about the Sabres’ on-ice future.
Serious questions exist about Regier, too -- the man who orchestrated those magical post-lockout rosters, but the same man who seems to have lost his touch when it comes to constructing a contender.
For as much flak as media and Sabres fans alike sling toward Regier (and deservedly so), the Drury and Briere deals were both premier displays of hockey acumen.
Each required a certain level of astuteness to identify the emerging talent and the creativity to acquire said talent at a discounted rate. They’re the type of transactions you see consistently from the league’s top GMs, but not from Regier any longer.
Regier had an opportunity this past year to carry out the latest example of a potentially franchise-altering trade, the kind that could inject new life into the again-bitter fan base much like the Drury and Briere deals once did. Then Bobby Ryan was traded from Anaheim to Ottawa in a three-player swap on Friday.
The Sabres, of course, had been connected to Ryan through reports and rumors since the 2012 trade deadline. The price, once said to be anything from Ryan Miller to Derek Roy and the like, had obviously changed since then.
Somewhere along the line, for reasons unknown to anyone outside that front office, it appears Regier fell out of touch with the negotiations, all the while allowing a division rival to swoop in and acquire the potential star power forward at a very reasonable price.
The Senators stole Ryan for a pair of top prospects -- Stefan Noesen, a 2011 first-rounder, and Jakob Silfverberg, the 39th overall pick in 2009 -- and their first rounder next year. Both Noesen and Silfverberg come with limited NHL experience and offer nice upside, but were an easy price to pay for Ryan's services over the next decade.
You would think the Sabres could have more than adequately accommodated those demands, especially if Regier had the sense to get a deal done where it involved one of the team’s first-rounders in this year’s draft. I'm not going to play matchmaker, but any of Tyler Ennis, Joel Armia, Johan Larsson, etc. would seem to be equal to or better trade chips than what Ottawa surrendered.
It’s the latest and probably most profound example of Regier’s decline, a swing and miss that will likely haunt Regier and the Sabres at least five times per season until this front office changes over.
Admittedly, there is likely more than meets the eye to this that I have not yet alluded to.
Maybe Regier was heavily involved, and the Ducks simply felt the Sens offered the better package. Maybe the Sabres were never as involved as we once thought. Maybe Ryan simply wasn’t in Regier’s rebuilding plans.
But why shouldn’t he have been?
At 26, just over 10 years after Regier's defining deals for Drury and Briere, Ryan could have been as much a part of a rebuild as any prospect in the Sabres’ system. Like to former co-captains, he offers proven talent with immediate results, not the wait-and-see baggage that comes with an 18-year-old second rounder.
Would the team have been good right away? Probably not. But, perhaps in the same mold of the Sabres from 2005-07, it certainly could have expedited the process.
I’m in a strange place right now. The Sabres’ draft class last week gives plenty of reason to be excited, but we’ve been here before. How can we really justify maintaining patience with Regier until these kids develop into what their potential holds, if -- and it’s a big IF -- that even happens.
Time and time again other teams prove it doesn’t take years to rebuild a franchise into a competitor while Regier seems to insist on moving at a snails pace. Maybe it doesn’t work out for Dallas and Tyler Seguin or Ottawa, which essentially traded Daniel Alfredsson for Ryan.
At least they’re taking the risks. After all, isn’t that what the league’s best GMs do? Waiting on Regier to rediscover himself has proven to be a frustrating process, to say the least.
Who knows how many more Chris Drurys and Danny Brieres we might miss out on along the way.