Yep, I finally left a game before the end, and while I had a fairly solid rationalization about my ride deciding it was time to go, I wasn't the only one who opted out at the end of the 3rd quarter of the Panthers-Saints game this weekend. Matter of fact, Stonewall St. was pretty well filled with those who also saw no reason to brave relatively chilly weather to watch a toothless, and more accurately, unimaginative offense.
On Monday morning it was no surprise to see that Dallas coach Bum, errr, excuse me, that was Daddy's moniker, Wade Phillips just seems to be getting tagged with that descriptive as the franchise sank to a humbling 1-7, which is the same record as the Carolina Panthers. While Dallas' Jerry Jones has never been known to suffer fools (or even righter-thinking persons) gladly and the Panthers Jerry Richardson has always been a paragon on virtue in that regard, is the only difference that Dallas has been paying new coach Jason Garrett "head coach money" and figured it was time to let him earn it, or don't the locals have anyone with the imagination to do something more fan cheerable than run John Stewart into the line and throw dink passes?
It's probably the latter, but since watching Sunday's game was the greatest exposure to watching this offensive (now thats accurate!) display, it better not be whoever is game-planning the current operation when Richardson probably/eventually sees the writing on the wall with Coach Fox.
It was generally conceeded that Fox needed to produce a winner this year after getting some positives going last year. Running backs DeAngelo Williams and John Stewart both gained over 1100 yards in 2009, but when Panthers marquee players Jake Delhomme and DE Julius Peppers were cut or allowed to leave for muuuuch greener pastures in Peppers case, there was a fear that Fox wouldn't be able to coach the remaining personnel to any great success. That has certainly proven true, and those fans I walked out with Sunday should have been informing Richardson that change was necessary. While I have frequently dogged the 'wine (or whine) and cheese' attitude of many Charlotteans who left wide swaths of blue seats visible after halftime, finding myself among the dissatisfied movers for the first time at any athletic event in recent memory didn't actually feel wrong.
Oh, I remember the last time I left early. When the Time-Warner Arena was christened by the Bobcats about 4 years ago. I had a decent excuse though--while I took my nephew Ryan because my brother was out of town, the eight year old was about asleep in his seat by the end of the 3rd quarter. He had been sooo excited about the game, he didn't sleep well the night before. That doesn't appear to be a problem anyone is going to have with going to a Panthers game in the near future.