MMQB- The Panthers are 11-0, something I’m proud to have a small part in. At 32, I’m no beacon of wisdom in the NFL, though our team is so young and my hair is so gray my young defensive backs are calling me Uncle Rome in the locker room. These days guys are beginning to realize how rare it is to go undefeated for this long. As a veteran of the 2009 New Orleans Saints, a team that started 13-0 and won a Super Bowl that season, I get asked about success, and winning, and what an undefeated team looks like.
The short answer is I don’t know.
I thought I knew, before I joined these Panthers two offseasons ago. Now I’m not so sure. Back in 2009, after our 11th consecutive win, a fellow defensive veteran and I had our fair share of drinks on Sunday night to celebrate. After our 11th win in Carolina, I celebrated by playing two-man spades with defensive back Kurt Coleman.
As a team, the 2009 Saints embodied the party culture of New Orleans, and we embraced our role as celebrities of a small market. In short, we partied very hard. Here in Charlotte you’re more likely to see guys getting treatment and dancing around the locker room on an off day than you are to see them popping bottles. We came closer as teammates in New Orleans while off the field, and here in Charlotte we become closer on the field and in the locker room.
I have a lot of respect for Roman Harper. While he was eventually shipped out of New Orleans, in part because he was underperforming, he was a vital part of the most successful team in Saints history. A team whose members will always be celebrated by Saints fans both young and old. If you read the whole article it kind of reads like Roman Harper is taking shots at the culture of the Saints locker room in 2009, but in reality I think that's far from the truth. Sure, it kind glorified the situation he is currently in with Carolina, but who would expect anything different? He's on an undefeated team that looks capable of making a real push towards getting to the Super Bowl. He should currently be more complimentary of his team now than the one he played on six years ago, no matter the timelessness of what they accomplished.
All this article really did is highlight the difference in lifestyle between a 26 year old playing in the heart of New Orleans and a 32 year old playing in the middle of North Carolina. The reason why Panthers players aren't "popping bottles" is because the places that serve those bottles don't reside in one of the best party cities in the entire world. Take a look at Roman Harper above. I wonder if part of the reason that Roman Harper isn't out partying like he was in New Orleans is that, by NFL standards, he's pretty damn old? Pretty much the same reason I sometimes stay in on a Friday and write about how bad the 2015 Saints happen to be. I'm not saying that the Saints weren't more of cocky, brash bunch when they won the SuperBowl. Every locker room is different, and that clearly worked for them. Still, Roman Harper's age and home city might have had a lot more to do with how he perceives the differences in both teams then there actually being that big of divide in how both teams approached the game.
Either way, we'll never forget...