Columns & Blogs

If Panthers at Seahawks were a horse race, who would win?

Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (24) has twice been fined $8,681 after an interception for a touchdown. Hey, at least his celebration is original.
Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (24) has twice been fined $8,681 after an interception for a touchdown. Hey, at least his celebration is original. AP

Welcome to Tom Talks, the sports talk show of the printed page. You ask, I answer. I’m a little distracted today. I’m in a hotel concierge lounge 27 floors up from Seattle’s streets, and there are two guys five tables down performing on their cell phones. Their unnecessarily loud voices fill the spacious room. The subject is containers. They make their living doing something with containers. You know, I always wanted to play the container game, but lacked a requisite skill – my voice isn’t loud enough.

Tom, Walt from Walla Walla, Wash. Do you really believe the Carolina Panthers will beat the Seattle Seahawks Sunday?

I’d never make a pick for effect. OK, I would, but this isn’t one of them. The Panthers have yet to play a complete game, a game with superior offense, defense and special teams. To beat Seattle, they’ll have to. I think they’re in position to play such a game.

Tom, Glenna from Greenacres, Wash.

Greenacres is the place to be, farm living is the life for me. It’s the theme of an old TV show.

You couldn’t cut it on a farm.

You are correct.

Josh Norman has twice been fined $8,681. Against Jacksonville he waved at the quarterback he’d intercepted and rode an imaginary horse in the end zone. Against Tampa Bay he was fined for riding an imaginary horse in the end zone. I’m tired of it.

The league surely can’t fine him if he goes for an end zone ride Sunday. Excuse me, NFL, but have you ever heard of Seattle Slew?

The NFL has lots of rules. Players are prohibited, for example, from engaging in choreographed celebrations with other players. They also are not allowed to use “foreign or extraneous object(s) that are not part of the uniform during the game or on the field or the sideline, or using the ball as a prop.”

First of all, the ball is not a foreign object. NFL footballs are made in Ohio from cowhide gathered in Ohio, Kansas and Nebraska. Also, the celebration is classy. Norman grew up with a horse named Strawberry and owns horses in two states. I bet he rides as gracefully as he runs. He even dismounts. Young equestrians can learn from him.

You know what? If the NFL continues to fine Norman, it should send the money it collects to the Horse Protection Society of N.C., Inc. It’s a 501(c)3 non-profit..

Tom, Jill from Granite Falls, Wash. So I guess you think any player should be able to celebrate any way he wants any time he wants.

If a player is so safe and predictable that he celebrates the way everybody else does he should be fined. After he’s fined, he should be kicked out of the game. I’m sick of players who lack creativity doing their Deion dance as they sashay into the end zone. If a player does a derivative celebration he’s out of the game. But if he invents one he should be commended.

Tom, Bill from Black Diamond, Wash.

Oh, man, Black Diamond was my nickname.

People called you that?

No, I called myself Black Diamond. But it never caught on.

Do you like Seattle?

No. I love Seattle. I love the way it looks and the way it feels. I love the water and the food and the pace. Also, drivers in the Northwest are more likely to use their turn signals than drivers in any other part of the country.

If you like it so much why don’t you move there?

Charlotte is home, and going home makes me happy.

Tom, Wanda from Wilber, Wash. Was Wilber your nickname, too?

Not that I’m aware of.

You think Norman will continue to ride his imaginary horse?

He told me this week that he would. He said he would talk to the NFL about the fines. I’m on Norman’s side. Georgia has a bulldog, whom I’ve met. Texas has a longhorn steer, Bevo, who passed away Friday. I met one of his predecessors. The Panthers have an imaginary horse. I hope his ride is long. And I hope he neither trots nor gallops for anybody but the Panthers.