Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera has publicly admitted that his job is on the line in the second half of the season. Many of the Panthers players will be let go, too, if they don't turn things around.
You'd think that would be enough motivation to get a win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday, but Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams said another factor really got him going. The Panthers were the opponent for the Redskins' "Homecoming Game." Say what?
"I have to say this, because it's been bothering me all day, and it's probably going to bother me for some time," Williams said after being asked an unrelated question Monday, according to Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post. "I got up this morning, I was feeling pretty good. Got my breakfast, got something to drink, got on the bus. Business as usual. I get over and I pick over the game day (program), and I'm looking at the (program), it's customary.
"And I look on there and it says homecoming. And I'm thinking to myself, like, this is the National Football League. Are you serious? Homecoming? Homecoming. And it's not like you tried to hide it. You blatantly put it on the front of the game day (program). And you're talking about somebody fired up today? I was pissed."
"I think it was their homecoming, which was kind of embarrassing for us to be in," quarterback Cam Newton said, via The Associated Press. "And that was a challenge. I think some of the guys took that and put it as a chip on their shoulder."
Williams definitely was leading the charge.
"It was the whole team," Williams said. "It was the whole team. That was definitely motivating. I mean, you don't say you're gonna have a homecoming in the National Football League. I mean, you do it in college. It's (against) one of those teams that's just terrible. You don't book a good team for homecoming... I don't know if they had a dance or anything; I just know you don't give a team extra motivation by putting that on your program, just blatantly coming out and saying you're our homecoming game."
Going into Sunday, the Panthers would have been a logical homecoming opponent. They had one win.@greggrosenthal.