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Panthers use underdog status as — surprise — motivation

Hardy Getty Images

NFL teams look for any advantage when it comes to getting themselves motivated to play.  Real, perceived, or fabricated.

For the 49ers, the ball was on the tee the moment they beat the Packers.  Standing on the tundra (which by definition is frozen), quarterback Colin Kaepernick declared through his Martin Gramatica mask that the 49ers “owe” the Panthers for Carolina’s one-point win at Candlestick Park.

The Panthers have their own source of motivation.  The oddsmakers installed them as home underdogs, and the Panthers view that as a sign of disrespect.

“I can’t speak for everybody else, but personally, yes, I do [feel disrespected],” fullback Mike Tolbert said Friday, via Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer.  “To me, it’s absolutely ridiculous why we’re the underdogs at home when we’re 7-1 at home, when we beat teams that are in the same caliber as San Francisco, if not better.  Personally I got a bad taste in my mouth about it.”

Defensive end Greg Hardy shrugs at the notion that the 49ers are favored.

“That’s just people talking,” Hardy said.  “Naysayers, people jabbing, even old analysts and old players talking about a game that they’re too slow to play.  Congrats to them.  That’s what they get paid for.”

Actually, the betting line is a carefully-selected number aimed at encouraging equal betting on both teams.  That way, Vegas keeps the losers’ money and pays the winners only $10 for every $11 wagered.

That’s the business of betting.  Hardy know much better the business of football.

“If you don’t stop me, I’m going to break your quarterback’s face,” Hardy said.  “If he doesn’t throw it to your receivers, he’s not going to win.  It depends upon who’s in the position and who wants to make the plays. It doesn’t matter what team is hot, what team is up or down, what team’s feeling sorry for themselves, what team’s the favorite. … I ain’t been a favorite in 24 years. I’m doing great.”

He’ll be doing even better when he gets his new contract.  Especially if he breaks a few more quarterback faces over the next few weeks.

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9 Responses to “Panthers use underdog status as — surprise — motivation”
  1. whosyourdaddy2013 says: Jan 11, 2014 3:19 PM

    I’m a niner fam but the panthers are one hell of a team. I don’t know why all the experts are picking the niners that scares me. Should be a great game tho

  2. jakec4 says: Jan 11, 2014 3:20 PM

    Some bye team has to lose, and the Panthers look like the most likely one.

  3. jesusthinksyoureajerk says: Jan 11, 2014 3:24 PM

    Mr. Hardy, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  4. blacknole08 says: Jan 11, 2014 3:30 PM

    I like being the underdog. The pressure and expectations is all on the 49ers.

  5. rainmaker1982 says: Jan 11, 2014 3:44 PM

    They are the underdogs because the Niners are better. Crabtree is back and the Niners have been on role since. In fact, the Niners are better in all phases of the game.

    It will be close but the Niners will be in control the entire game and win. The analysts will spin this as an upset when it shouldn’t be as this is Cam Newton’s first playoff game.

    Also, Newton’s a mental midget. He’s more interested in wrapping a towel around his head and tucking it in his shoulder pads then looking at game photos.

  6. dirtysouthniner says: Jan 11, 2014 4:02 PM

    I dont think the Panthers said anything wrong but I dont think hardy should diss analysts eho retired,father time is undefeated

  7. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 11, 2014 4:10 PM

    Yeah, except there is no such thing as an “underpanther”.

  8. realfootballfan says: Jan 11, 2014 4:29 PM

    They’re reaching on this one. Vegas is going as a slight favorite with the team who’s been in the playoffs the last 3 years and won in all kinds of environments. It’s a toss up game otherwise and should play out as such on the field this weekk and next week in Seattle as well if they take care of business as expected whoever ends up winning.

  9. 1rockyracoon says: Jan 11, 2014 5:28 PM

    Wait, I thought pro athletes didn’t pay attention to what people said about them. I’m a teacher in an urban district and you know what motivates me– professionalism and a sense of duty to do the best job possible. I feel so bad when a pro athlete feels disrespected. It must be sooo hard for them.

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