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Tom Talks: NFL is not out to get Panthers

Tom Sorensen
Tom Sorensen has been a columnist at The Observer for 20 years and has been at the paper for 25, writing about nearly every sport in the Carolinas.
PANTHERS_49ERS_18
Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell (21) questions the unnecessary roughness call he received for his hit on San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) during the first quarter. Some early calls went against the Panthers, but that doesn’t mean the NFL is out to get them.

Amazing to me how many Carolina fans think officials wanted San Francisco to beat their team. I saw NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before the game. I should have asked, “So, Roger, what will the final score be?”

Of course officials missed calls, and most of the early calls favored the visitors. But why would officials want the 49ers to prevail? If it’s because they come from a bigger market, where are the New York Giants and Jets, the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans this weekend?

If you are 14 or older and believe officials are out to get your team, you probably believe the government is out to get you, your employer is out to get you and the media is out to get you. Shouldn’t tell you this, but your cell phone is out to get you, as are your Star Wars figurines, especially Chewbacca.

•  San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks jumped offside when the Panthers had the ball on the San Francisco 1. He really jumped. He jumped over the Carolina offensive line. Brooks, who played at Virginia, is 6-3 and 259 pounds. I thought I was watching Swan Lake. Why Swan Lake? Because it, more or less, is basically the only ballet I can name.

•  The local team wins its division. Fans have two weeks to anticipate a home game. The drama builds and the excitement builds and the day will never come and then it does. Three hours before kickoff downtown (never uptown) Charlotte was alive. And then it’s over. The Panthers trailed only 20-10 when the fourth quarter began but the margin felt like 30. I wrote that San Francisco was the worst possible matchup for Carolina. But thought the Panthers would win anyway.

•  Not sure what the next major sporting event in or around Charlotte will be. I think I’ll call Ric Flair.

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