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Old 02-06-2005   #1
Jagsbch
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Thumbs up OT/ A Big Time City Is Born~!!







We can finally like our sister city

Ed Hardin's column:
2-6-05

News & Record


The Devil went down to Georgia,

He was looking for a soul to steal.

His foot got caught in a drainage ditch

And he landed in Jackson-veal.


CHARLOTTE -- And so the NFL's silliest little spat ended.

Charlotte got to the Super Bowl first, but Jacksonville will host it the following year. During the annual State of the Game speech on Friday, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue all but promised Jacksonville another Super Bowl in the next 10 years which seals the deal.


Jacksonville will be a player in the next phase of NFL opulence, and Charlotte will remain a small-market enigma. That's not a bad thing. That's just the way it is.

For those of us who were there in the opening seconds of this saga, today seems strange. Those first dizzying seconds of the Panthers' existence foretold a contentious start to something that ended in almost nothing.

The commissioner's announcement in 1993 that the Carolina Panthers were the only team invited to join the league set off a fight between two television *****s -- they actually rolled around on the edge of the stage while Taliabue looked on in bewilderment -- and between two markets that seemed equal in every way.

Charlotte and Jacksonville, the new sisters of the New South.

From the very beginning, there was animosity. The initial announcement that Charlotte would join the league, and not St. Louis, Memphis, Baltimore or Jacksonville, didn't go over well with the Jacksonville group. In the hallway outside, the jilted owners stood red-faced in a controlled rage that spilled over in comments made to the media that included both anger at Charlotte and grudging congratulations.

Those comments made their way into the North Carolina papers, thus on the day the league delivered a franchise to the Carolinas it also delivered a rival. Jacksonville was invited into the league a few months later and the two began their existence with a game in Canton, Ohio, that kicked off a seven-year series in which the league arranged a meeting between the sister cities every season.

The Panthers hated the Jaguars, and the Jaguars hated the Panthers and while part of the league agreed with both the large majority of the other NFL franchises sided with Jacksonville. Charlotte got everything it wanted. Charlotte got all the attention. Charlotte wanted to host a Super Bowl. Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte.

The Panthers' mark on the game will always be that of the most arrogant expansion team in the history of the NFL. Carolina won early, talked about dynasties, then started going through coaches and free agents and criminals like something out of the SEC.

All these years later, the Panthers have been made to pay for transgressions real and perceived. Charlotte, as a city, ended up with a black eye and a reputation made worse by the immoral Hornets, who were banished to the City of Tombs.

The final toll came at Carolina's finest hour. The agonizing loss to New England in Super Bowl XXXVIII ended the run and aged the Panthers and their fan base. This season, the last of the opening decade, Carolina started over without any pretense, without arrogance, without Jacksonville.

What seemed like a rivalry for the ages is over. Jacksonville joins all the NFL cities of the Southeast, all except Charlotte, in a club of Super Bowl municipalities. Until the league decides to risk weather factors (ice, snow, sleet and freezing rain all befell North Carolina during this Super Bowl week), a Super Bowl will never be played here.

Funny how that's so clear now. It seems almost bizarre that the Panthers actually announced they were building their stadium with 73,000 seats so they could one day host the Super Bowl. That was the arrogance talking.

The games against Jacksonville were heated, sometimes dirty affairs that are hard too remember now. Here's a numbing thought. They were mostly exhibitions. Of the eight games the teams have played (six Jacksonville wins) only two even counted.

Barring a playoff game, Carolina will not play the Jaguars again until 2007.

Jacksonville, it turns out, isn't in Georgia after all. While upstart Charlotte went through all the growing pains as a major-league city, its sister city grew up. That probably explains why all the negative talk this week about Jacksonville makes us so angry now.

We like her more than we realized.



Contact Ed Hardin at 373-7069 or ehardin@news-record.com


http://www.news-record.com/sports/ha...din_020605.htm
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Old 02-06-2005   #2
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and your point is... or why your posting it here?
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Old 02-06-2005   #3
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T-bu will say anything to cover up the NFLs screwup by giving Jac the SB in the first place!
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