My beloved Panthers are being dragged through the melodic mud this week. Their sin? Reverting to their old rar-rar-ra-rar fight song, “Stand and Cheer for the Panthers.” The slightly revamped 2006 edition made its debut during Carolina’s preseason tuneup against the Buffalo.
I like the song. It takes me back to any day I’ve ever spent in Ericsson Stadium (I have yet to set foot in the BOAS). Granted,
Rick Dees Ryan Seacrest ain’t gonna be spinnin’ it as a hit, but come on! It’s an NFL fight song. By that very definition it’s supposed to be as low-rent and cheesy as the Green Bay offensive line.
Just about every NFL team has one. Hardcore fans embrace them. A Dolphins fan in my office needs only to hear “Miami has the Dolphins …” to bust out with “the greatest football team!” She says it with the pride of Ashlee Simpson actually hitting a note. I don’t have the heart to tell her that great Miami theme song is a blatant ripoff of Snoopy vs. The Red Baron. (Kind of appropriate, no?)
SACFTP has it all – a peppy beat, melodically-rhythmic chorus, a spelling test and a shoutout to a Carolina classic. I’d put our song up against any other. In fact, I’ll do so now. Here’s my outline for the Panthers’ 2006 season based on songo y songo! The best ditty wins.
Here we go:
Week 1 – Atlanta.
How do you know you have a bad fight song? One, no audio copy exists anywhere within Google’s reach. Two, you get a country music singer to cut you a new one. Welcome to the team Home Depot built, the Atlanta Falcons, whose official fight song “Go You Falcons” could be mistaken for a UPN sitcom. I can’t find any actual audio, but reading the lyrics helps one appreiciate the logic of hiding any .wavs. I mean come on, “Let’s win a victory.” Is there any other way to get one?
The song is so bad Travis Tritt volunteered a new one in 2004 called “Falcon Fever.” Only in the South does it make sense to affiliate your team with a sickness. Then again, witnessing Michael Vick at QB go 8-8 would make me want to throw up.
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 34, Falcons 17
WEEK 2 – Minnesota
It’s not a good sign when the title of your fight song includes what sounds like a tobacco product. Yet there it is – Skol Vikings. According to its wikipedia entry (yes, there is one), skol “is the Norwegian/Swedish word for a salute or a toast, as to an admired person or group.” Makes sense really, cause no team has been as toasted as the Minnesota Vikings. Which leads me to wonder – how great would it be to celebrate a Brad Johnson TD with the theme from Love Boat?
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 33, Vikings 9
WEEK 3 – Tampa Bay
“Hey, Hey Tampa Bay” sounds like “We Will Rock You” if composed by the Backstreet Boys and Pat Benatar. The dubbed-in crowd noise is just sad. It does drown the lyrics out a bit, which is a good thing, cause they are dreadful. “Let’s scream and shout, set the sail. Tampa Bay is about to wail.” Wail? As in “to grieve or protest loudly and bitterly; lament?” Do you really want your fight song to carry a threat to whine?
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 24, Bucs 21
WEEK 4 – New Orleans
“When the Saints Go Marching In.” You can’t go wrong embracing a classic. This is a great tune and it sweats Naw’Lins, but it’s not really a fight song. Not for football. Where’s the originality! This is the birthplace of jazz. The definition of cool. Party City USA B.K. (Before Katrina). Atlanta has Travis Tritt. New Orleans has Allen Toussaint and Fats Domino. Hell, give Anne Rice a call. She could write a wicked hit (Just remember to edit out the suggestive homoerotic imagery. Aaron Brooks is gone now).
Five minutes have passed and still I’m humming this song. That must mean something. Besides, the Saints own the Panthers in BOA. *sigh*
FINAL SCORE – Saints 30, Panthers 24.
WEEK 5 – Cleveland
It’s called “Hi-O-Hi-O for Cleveland.” The seven dwarfs should sue over copyright infringement. Or maybe fans could pursue false pretenses. The song describes Cleveland as “the greatest team in the land” that plays “the best football” and is “the greatest pro team of all.” A 15-33 record over three seasons suggests otherwise. In the song’s limited defense, there’s no actual singing, but that may be due to no one being talented enough to recite those lyrics with a straight face. Combining “greatest team in the land” with “starting quarterback Charlie Frye” should be a felony.
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 44, Browns 13
WEEK 6 – Baltimore
Their song has no title. It’s called simply “Baltimore Ravens Fight Song.” There’s no singing. No spelling. No drumming. No clapping. No cheering. Nothing. The lyrics consist primarily of words that rhyme with “high.” That, and the obligatory reference to “Nevermore.” With the exception of George Plimpton and Terrell Owens, football and great literature don’t mix (and yes, I should be shot for typing that, moreso than the grossly unfair Brooks dig). The Panthers know cheese and embrace it. Baltimore becomes it. There’s a difference.
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 18, Ravens 12.
WEEK 7 – Cinncinnati
What is the name of Hobbs is this?! Go on. Click and give listen to the “Bengal Growl.” What in the hell is that noise? A kitten doing pushups? Chad Johnson passing gas? Sure, the Panthers’ rar-rar-ra-rar could drive a diabetic to Jolt Cola, but at least it’s an actual growl. Somebody please give Carson Palmer a mic and a swift quick in the knee. Now cut and paste. I’m begging you. This is a college fight song yet to mature. No one can hear it then take a Bengal seriously. Wait. It just may be reverse psychology! It has to be!
FINAL SCORE – Bengals 35, Panthers 24
WEEK 8 – Dallas
“Go Dallas Cowboys,” meet the theme from Airplane!. (Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit ignoring TO). I’m sure Jerry Jones wrote the lyrics. It’s less a song than an order::
Ride ’em Cowboys hit that line
Keep that ball control
Run the ends and throw that pass
‘Til you cross that goal line
Allow me to add – “Then line up for the kickoff. Kick it hard. Bring out the defense. Line up and wait. Stop them. Them line up again.” Inspiring. And I can’t pass on the use of “Yippee-Ai-Ay.” They could have at least John McClained it up a bit.
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 34, Cowboys 21
WEEK 9 – bye
WEEK 10 – Tampa Bay
You want to wail, we’ll give you a reason to wail.
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 21, Bucs 18
WEEK 11 – St. Louis
If John Philip Susa ever composed a theme for the Miss America Pageant, it’d sound a lot like the Ram’s Marching Song. Not fight song mind you, but march song. No lyrics needed. They’re too busy marching. March. March. March. March. March. March. Sack. Fumble. Game. That about sums it up.
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 34, Rams 14
WEEK 12 – Washington
Uh-oh. I’m treading into dangerous face paint here. This is the second oldest fight song in the league, behind Green Bay. There’s history here. Honor. Prestige. Let’s listen. Hmmmmm. Is it just me, or halfway through the song do you suddenly finding yourself thinking of Bugs Bunny? Didn’t he dance to this once?
Here it is with some singin’. It’s kind of catchy, in a white-man-with-no-rhythm-trying-to-clap-on-beat kind of way. The cadence stutters so bad Mel Tillis would blush. It’s similar to the Cowboys song, but without the unintentional humor. It’s meant to be funny. I like it.
FINAL SCORE – Redskins 14, Panthers 6
WEEK 13 – Philadelphia
Unlike the Saints who went with a gimmie and the Falcons who went with a star, the Eagles fought the urge to embrace Steve Miller. Good for them. They stuck with “Fly Eagles Fly.” It has the feel of an old movietone reel. You know, the old black and whites which sound like “DATELINE – Austria. Our boys push toward the front lines!” It’s just not as well written. How can you “fly” while on the “road” to victory? Or can one “drive” while in the “air” to a win? It makes no sense.
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 27, Eagles 14
WEEK 14 – New York Giants
Now I’m confused. This trusty dusty website says there is a song, but there are no lyrics or title. You click to listen to what’s there and .. I don’t know. I didn’t expect that. It sounds like 76 Trombones performed by 76 Barry Bonds. I google further. I find lyrics and a title – “Fight, You Fightin’ Giants!” It instructs the Giants to “fight,” “roll,” “march,” “sing,” “rack,” “stack,” “go” and “show,” but neglects to request blocking, rushing, scoring or tackling. It shows.
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 24, Giants 13
WEEK 15 – Pittsburgh
The Steelers have more songs than Randy Newman, and many are just as silly. That’s the result of a modern day Super Bowl title. You OD on Super Bowl Shuffles. Here’s the Steeler original, which has that old school big band feel appropriate for a football game. The lyrics are repetitive. And for the sake of keeping its rythmn it uses the word “ev’ry,” a spelling which belongs only in a hymnal, not at a football game. Take note – “Oh, nothin’ could be finer than to be in Carolina .. For a Panther …. football …. game!” Now that’s rhythm!
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 24, Steelers 21
WEEK 16 – Atlanta
Yeah I know who Travis Tritt is, but can anyone name two Tritt songs? I can’t. Neither can Warrick Dunn (or can he?).
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 31, Falcons 20
WEEK 17 – New Orleans
It’s tradition – they get to win in Charlotte, and the Panthers get to win at their place (wherever that place is.) Plus, I can’t get that friggin’ song out my head. March on, will you. Geez. It’s like a new girlfriend – cool at first but quickly annoying. Just stop already.
FINAL SCORE – Panthers 27, Saints 18
That’s the season. 13-3 Playoffs for sure! (fingers crossed).
And just to tweak mjd, here’s the mighty theme song for his beloved Chargers. Wow! Disco lives! And get this, “The song has made a comeback in popularity and is now played again after scores.” Cause nothing inspires LaDainian Tomlinson more than “With thunderbolts and lightning We’ll light up the sky, We’ll give it all we’ve got, and more With the Super Charger try!”