(Al Tielemans/SI)
(Al Tielemans/SI)

Still Not Over It

Former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme on not being able to quit football and the eternal sting of losing Super Bowl XXXVIII

Robert Klemko
· More from Robert·

1. Sometimes I think I’m going to quit following football, but I still follow every single minute of it.

2. I think one of the hardest things about being retired is missing the camaraderie. [Panthers offensive tackle] Jordan Gross told a story the other night about putting a young tight end in a head lock. What if you went to your office today and put some intern in a head lock?

3. I think I’m proud to be a full-time dad to my two daughters. Plus I get to take on my first love—horse racing. Training horses has been a family tradition here in Louisiana for a long time. Now my brother and I train, breed and race them—and I’m proud to be president of the board of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

4. I think if I did have a son, I’d be honored for him to play football. The game brought me great memories, and I have no qualms about head injuries. I feel confident in the strides being made in technology and the rules.

5. I think [Chargers head coach] Mike McCoy is a hidden gem. It was very evident in the one year that I didn’t have him as my QB coach in Carolina—2009—I sucked. There’s no other way to put it. He played the position, he understands it, and he’s going to bring a family atmosphere to the team, and believe me, that does wonders.

6. I think if I was going to start a franchise today, and I had my pick of quarterbacks, I’d go with Aaron Rodgers. He’s still so young and can be deadly for years to come. On defense it’s J.J. Watt, hands down.

7. I think if I could change anything about my career, I wish I could have had the opportunity to start a little younger. Getting that first chance with the Panthers, at 28, I truly missed the prime of my career physically. You start to feel those nicks and bruises at 30, and they become issues. You can’t ever get back that youth.

8. I think it’s difficult to ever truly get over losing a Super Bowl. You understand how hard it is to get there and how hard they are to win. The way we lost it in Carolina, on a field goal, that’s even worse. Yet at the same time, we made it to one, and so many people don’t.

9. I think Cam Newton is a kid who wants to win, and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He knows he caught some flak over that. He’ll learn; the scrutiny level gets higher and higher every year. But it’s nothing a few wins cant cure. Mike Shula will be great for him. But I also think the Panthers need to go back to running the football; that’s the key to success. Then watch Cam run play-action with Steve Smith.

10. I think if I had to choose a Super Bowl winner right now, it’s Seattle. Their quarterback is coach Carl Smith, a dear friend of mine. The way he speaks of Russell Wilson and what I’ve seen from Russell Wilson, this is a kid who is only going to get better.


Class act. Wish there were more like you in the NFL


Here's what I still want to know about the Super Bowl?

Who decided to call the (deleted) time out after you guys hit the big play into the red zone just before the tying touchdown? There was over a minute left at the time. Y'all should have run down the clock and not left the Patriots time for a winning drive! We won some great games in OT that year, starting with the Tampa game in week 2.

Was there any kind of intentional directional kicking involved when kasay put the kickoff out of bounds?

Most importantly, why didn't anyone talk Fox out of the (stronger deletion) two-point conversions? If not for that, the scores would have been 17-21 instead of 16-21, then 24-21 instead of 22-21, 24-28 instead of 22-29, then 31-28 instead of 29-29. Then even with the final NE FG, we would have had overtime.

Hey though, Jake, all that being said, you're still our family's all time favorite Panther, and still by far our most successful qb ever. Enjoy your prosperity and freedom. You've earned it. Thanks for the great memories, especially in '03, "05 and '08


As a Saints fan, wish you had started a year or two earlier in your career too. It was painful watching Brooks play over you those last two-ish years before Carolina.


Jake - you were a solid QB with even better character.  Great read - and best of luck with your future.