It’s been eight days since the Panthers lost the season opener at Denver, and they’re still waiting for a chance to take a bow in front of their home fans after a 15-1 season and a trip to the Super Bowl.
And Panthers coach Ron Rivera is still complaining about it.
Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Rivera continued to lament the fact the Panthers had to open the season on the road last Thursday night during his Friday press conference.
“The hard thing about what happened to us this year, and I guess the reason I have such an issue with it is — you play the Super Bowl, you lose the Super Bowl. Then they tell you you’re going to open up the season against the team you just lost to in the Super Bowl,” he said. “So for the next five months, I’ve got to put up with it, deal with it, answer the questions, relive it constantly, over and over and over. Honestly, it becomes a drag. You guys know it cause I got tired of answering the questions and our guys got tired of answering the questions. . . .
“We asked for certain things to help us out. We didn’t get any of it. So I’m disappointed, let’s be honest. I’ve got a group of men in there that have done nothing but do the things that we’ve asked for the last five years. It’s been a battle to get to where we are and sometimes I feel disrespected.”
Asked why he thought that happened, and whether the Panthers mid-market status was a factor, Rivera fired up the black helicopters, even if in a joking manner.
“No. It’s one of those things we’ll have to wait till everybody’s dead after 80 years and then we’ll find the answer,” he said. “Conspiracy theory. Who knows?
“I’m just airing my frustration about that. I really feel it was a great opportunity for us to be able to honor our fans. I really feel that for my five seasons here, they’ve been great. I can’t be grateful enough.”
Rivera suggested that opening against Arizona at home might have been preferable, a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game. And after seeing the way the Cardinals played against the undermanned Patriots at home last week, he probably feels even more strongly about it.
At the same time, this has been the schedule for months, and continuing to gripe about it serves no purpose, especially since he gets to open against a team that played until after midnight on Monday, and has to fly across the country to play an early kickoff against a team on 10 days rest.
If only there had been a way for him to guarantee a home game in the opener, . . .