Teams generally schedule an opponent they think they’re going to beat for their homecoming game, that way they can look good in front of fans they want to impress. That point was not lost on Carolina Panthers players DeAngelo Williams and Cam Newton.
Williams said after the Panthers beat the Redskins 21-13 that he was pretty upset when he woke up Sunday morning and saw that Washington dubbed the matchup with Carolina a “homecoming” game.
“I get over and I pick over the game day [program], and I’m looking at the [program], it’s customary,” Williams said, per D.C. Sports Bog. “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. And you’re talking about somebody fired up today? I was pissed.”
Williams says he mentioned the slight during the team’s pregame meeting and that the entire squad was fired up by it.
“It was the whole team,” said Williams. “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.”
After the game, Cam Newton seemed to indicate he felt the same way.
According to FOX’s A.J. Perez, Newton said it was “embarrassing” to be the Redskins’ homecoming opponent.
Maybe that was the type of motivation Carolina needed. They won the game 21-13 and beat the Redskins well enough to make Mike Shanahan practically give up on the season.
The Redskins had more than 150 former players back for the game, and they honored the franchise’s top 80 players. The best way to cap a day like that? With a big fat L. Williams and Newton probably couldn’t have been happier to hang it on them.