I am a bandwagon Panthers fan. I've watched a grand total of three Panthers games from start to finish in my entire life. The only players I know of are Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman. I know the head coach is Ron Rivera, but only because I researched it for a previous article. The only piece of Panthers "gear" I own is a pennant I got when I first moved to North Carolina in 7th grade. And even then I only bought it because I thought it looked cool. Yet when Carolina beat Green Bay thus making them 8 and 0, I started rooting for them.
In the eyes of most die-hard Panthers fans, these facts make me worse than Brutus, Judas, and Adolf Hitler combined. "How dare you ride the coattails of our success," some might say. Others may suggest I kill myself, since I clearly have no real devotion to "their" team. Whilst it's rather obvious these proclamations are silly, my job today isn't to prove that. Instead, I am making a bolder claim.
There is nothing wrong with being a bandwagon Panthers fan. Especially if you live in the Carolinas.
I can feel the coffee being spit in my face. "What?" die-hard Panthers fans are likely screaming. "How can you advocate a sin worse than pride?" Easy.
I believe all human behaviors and interactions stem from our tribal past. Everything from racism to homosexuality can be attributed to behaviors and attitudes learned by our great, great, great ancestors. Football is no different. While we may live in one nation as opposed to hundreds of tribes, football allows us to tap into that tribal spirit. Just replace hundreds of thousands of tribes with 30 tribes.
Each week, the mightiest warriors from each tribe face off in physical sport to determine who the dominant tribe is in the confederacy (the NFL). The lesser members of each tribe (the fans) then get to assert their dominance to the rest of the confederacy. Which in this modern era, means calling the others, "Cardinals loving pussy ass bitches".
If we were to take this model and throw it back to the 3.2 million years humans were actually organized into tribes, the followers of the lesser tribes probably would have been enslaved or slaughtered by the more dominant tribes. In other words, if you were a Titans, Browns, or Chargers fan, you would be forced to serve a Panthers, Cardinals or Bengals fan while they screw your girlfriend. Or be killed. Whichever you find worse.
Would you really want to watch a Cardinals fan mate with your lady while you serve him fresh cooked sabre-tooth tiger? Hell no. So you jump ship, start supporting the Panthers, and screw that Cardinal fan's girlfriend while he serves you a nice woolly mammoth steak. It's not called bandwagoning, it's called adapting. And those who survive are those who adapt.