DeAngelo Williams was not pleased when he learned that the Carolina Panthers were deemed the Washington Redskins’ “homecoming” opponent.
He riled up his teammates by talking about it in a pregame speech, stashed a copy of the game program in his locker, then took to Twitter to rub it in after the Panthers’ 21-13 victory. His conversation with reporters on the topic was one of the best locker room moments at the Redskins’ stadium.
“You don’t say you’re going to have a ‘homecoming’ in the National Football League,” Williams said. “You do it in college. It’s one of those teams that’s just terrible. You don’t book, like, a good team for homecoming.”
So does he think the Panthers spoiled the homecoming dance?
“I don’t know if they had a dance or anything,” he said. “I just know you don’t give a team extra motivation by putting that on your program. Even just blatantly coming out and saying, ‘You’re our homecoming game.’ ”
But if the Panthers, 1-6 entering the game, weren’t the ideal homecoming opponent, then who is? The NFL has more than enough prime candidates to serve up for king and queen festivities between now and the end of the season.
• Buffalo at New England (Sunday): May be chilly, but knowing a ‘W’ is on the way should be warming all you Patriots. And by the way, if you have an ID showing your name is Bill, you’ll get a ticket to the concert after the game, where all the music will be played in a dull monotone by musicians who squirm and smirk. The worst part: Imagining your date really does look good in that hooded sweatshirt.
• Jacksonville at Houston (Nov. 18): Every day leading up the game has a dress-up theme. The Jaguars, for example, can put on their uniforms and pretend they’re actually relevant.
• Washington at Dallas (Nov. 22): Turnabout is fair play, Redskins. Having “homecominged” the Panthers, the same gets done to you on Thanksgiving Day. Clint Longley gets the prime seat on the featured float. And just imagine all the confetti they could tie to the bottom of that whopper of a scoreboard.
• New Orleans at Atlanta (Nov. 29): The Falcons certainly deserve a homecoming game if they remain the league’s only unbeaten team, so why not make it a Mardi Gras theme? Of course, the Saints make for a bit of an unpredictable opponent, one more than capable of ruining the day, so maybe Atlanta shouldn’t go overboard and fly those Super Bowl championship banners too prominently during the fun. Oh, wait a minute …
• Cleveland at Oakland (Dec. 2): Homecoming in the Black Hole. Need we say more?
• Kansas City at Denver (Dec. 30): Peyton Manning can supply the pizza for the final homecoming party of 2012. (We understand he has some connections.) One catch: If Kansas City’s players stay for the dance, it’ll have to be girl ask boy because the Chiefs don’t know how to take the lead.