Who do you want to lose more on Super Bowl Sunday? – Chris via Twitter
Good question. Well-worded one, too. I'll further explain why I appreciate the wording in a minute.
Super Bowl LI isn't exactly an ideal matchup for Panthers fans (of course, the only ideal matchup would include the Panthers). On one hand you have the Atlanta Falcons, a division rival that can leave Carolina as the lone NFC South team never to win a Super Bowl (though that would be far from a fair comparison). On the other hand you have the New England Patriots, everyone's rival and the franchise that edged the Panthers off the podium in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
So, how many overtimes will they allow to be played before just calling it a tie?
Looking at just my personal situation, I grew up along Tobacco Road and - for the most part - grew up rooting for the Atlantic Coast Conference to shine come March Madness. Same with football, where I found myself pulling for Clemson in the recent College Football Playoff. Another reason I was pulling for Clemson? I've always been a big fan of the underdog. When it comes to teams I don't have allegiance to, I basically never cheer for the favorites. And, of course, the Patriots have enjoyed quite a run as favorites.
So that might seem to add up to me pulling for the Falcons, but remember how I said I pulled for ACC teams most of the time? Well, the exception as a diehard N.C. State fan growing up was, of course, North Carolina (my alma mater as things turned out). The Panthers-Falcons rivalry hasn't had the time to mature like the Wolfpack-Tar Heels one, but that is a factor. Also, taking the lead from Panthers players, Pro Bowl picks Thomas Davis and Mike Tolbert made clear their Super Bowl thoughts about someone in their backyard potentially winning it.
So I'm back to stating that it's a good question and that I don't have a good answer. I suspect a feeling will come over me early in the game that makes it clear who I want to see win, but – like the person who asked the question - I'm guessing I'll focus my energy on the pain endured by the team that loses. Been there, done that.
Bryan, what should I do this Sunday since I am not recognizing the existence of the Super Bowl? – SalesMan via Twitter
Another potential approach for Panthers fans to Super Bowl LI is to follow SalesMan's lead and try to wish it away by finding something else to do. Panthers Insider Mike Craft plans to go to the movies, but for those who want to stick to the small screen yet steer clear of the big game, here are some thoughts.
Sure, there's the 13th Puppy Bowl (Animal Planet) and the fourth Kitten Bowl (Hallmark Channel). Continuing down the pet food chain, did you know the Fish Bowl (National Geographic Wild) is also in its fourth season? Riveting.
While those are obvious choices, let's venture outside the box for a minute. Bravo will broadcast a mini-marathon of "Real Housewives of Atlanta." I had trouble finding a Patriots equivalent. The best I could come up with was "Hoarders: Family Secrets" on A&E. You know, as in hoarding Lombardi trophies? I'll reserve comment on the "Family Secrets" portion of the title.
As for me, I plan to watch the game, but perhaps with a twist. Even with live sporting events on television, I sometimes DVR them and don't start watching them until a few minutes after they start so I can fast-forward through the commercials. Maybe I'll do that Sunday, but flip it and focus on the commercials while fast-forwarding through the game.
Are all these mock drafts saying Carolina will draft Leonard Fournette legit? – Sean via Twitter
Are any mock drafts legit?
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good mock draft as much as the next guy, and earlier this week Panthers.com began breaking them down with the start of our Mock Draft Report series. Mock drafts can be great tools for getting educated on some of the presumptive top picks in the actual draft, and who doesn't like a spirited debate over who your favorite team will pick?
The biggest problem I have with mock drafts also happens to be something that I totally understand. Nearly all the "mockers" come up with what they believe are the position of greatest need for the given team, then they forecast a pick that fits that need. The approach makes sense for mapping out a compelling fake draft, but most teams – the Panthers included – don't actually draft that way. In some ways, the draft experts' list of top prospects might be a more useful tool, but it isn't nearly as much fun to talk about.
I have a question…Can you buy a whole chess set in a pawn shop? – Harrill via Twitter
I see what you did there, and yes you can. But only during knight hours.
View the top photos by photographers Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez and Kent Smith from the game between Carolina and Denver.