Saw a guy at Bank of America Stadium, big-time New Orleans guy. He wore the colors of the Saints and Bourbon Street Beads. He ate bread pudding and red beans and rice. He drank Jax beer and Abita. He yelled Who dat? I figured he was a side judge.
The NFL ought to be embarrassed. Brian Stropolo was scheduled to serve as side judge at the Panthers-Saints game. But his Facebook account shows him wearing Saints garb. When the NFL found out about the Facebook page, it booted him. The replacement official was replaced. An alternate official always accompanies the crew.
Stropolo already was in Charlotte. Love to know where he watched the game. The French Quarter is walking distance from the stadium.
The NFL is going to have to check the Facebook page, Twitter account and blogs of every replacement official. They were fans long before they became NFL officials. Since they didnt work league games, they were entitled to be.
• ESPNs John Clayton was in the press box. When I saw him, I didnt think of him the way I usually do excellent reporter. I think of him in a sleeveless black Slayer T-shirt, long hair dangling from the sides of his head, eating Chinese takeout, yelling at his mom. The ESPN ad is brilliant.
• I walked from the Charlotte Observer building to the stadium Sunday morning and ran into almost everybody Ive ever known. Most were worried about the game, of course. But they also were having a great time, eating and drinking and anticipating. Anticipation is one of the least appreciated qualities of sport. Its not merely the result that counts; its looking forward to it. I enjoyed bouncing from place to place. Theres nothing like a bottle of water.
• If the Panthers can rush 41 times every game, and average 5.3 yards a carry doing it, Ryan Kalil could be right.