“They Are Booing Him In The Bible Belt?”: Baker Mayfield Is Not Writing The Gospel For The Carolina Panthers

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Baker Mayfield is tanking in Carolina. After freefalling once the Cleveland Browns chose Deshaun Watson, Mayfield was looking forward to becoming the guy that could potentially return the Panthers to a late postseason run. However, now sitting at 1-3 after losing to the Arizona Cardinals during Week 4 and en route to a home game against a red-hot San Francisco 49ers team with Jimmy Garoppolo, Mayfield is looking like bad goods.

“Do you understand that they are booing him in the Bible Belt? I’m going to repeat that,” Stephen A. Smith said on “First Take.” “They are booing Baker Mayfield in the Bible Belt; Bible-toting individuals are booing the quarterback; I mean, hey, that says something.

“They prayed on it and still decided to boo; that’s what the hell that means. I went to school at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina; I know the Bible Belt. I ain’t asking you; I’m telling you. You’ve got to be bad to get them to turn on you like that so quickly. That’s how bad Baker Mayfield has been.”

When Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was asked about his plans for Mayfield and at the position in general, Rhule’s point-blank response said a lot about his feelings.

“I think Baker’s our quarterback,” Rhule said to the media post-Cardinals loss. “We have to continue to find ways to help him.”

The Panthers gave the Browns a 2024 conditional fifth-round draft pick and are paying only $5 million of the quarterback’s salary, while Cleveland pays $10.5 million. Cleveland was trying to get Mayfield out of their lives, even if it came at a cost. With Jacoby Brissett holding it down during Deshaun Watson’s suspension, the Browns are 2-2, and the backup looks better than Mayfield as the starter.

For the Panthers, you know it’s awful when the Carolina faithful wishes to return an injured Sam Darnold at the helm. Darnold suffered a high ankle sprain in late August. However, according to the team, the 2021 starter is at least another week from being ready to return from injured reserve.

“Not close right now,” coach Rhule said on Monday of Darnold. “Not this week. Maybe he starts the window maybe the next week. This was a doctor thing. He’s not going to be practicing this week.”

Mayfield’s total quarterback rating is the lowest through four weeks in the NFL at 15.4. He has a 55.4 completion percentage, the third-worst in the league. The only two quarterbacks with a lower percentage rate are the 2021 first-round draft picks Justin Fields (50.7) of the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers’ Trey Lance (48.4), and he is out for the season with an ankle injury.

In Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Mayfield committed three turnovers — two interceptions, and a fumble — during the 26-16 loss, the 10th time since he entered the league in 2018 that he had three or more turnovers in a game. That is also the most of any quarterback.

Mayfield is in a weird space with the fans and his team, and unless his performance drastically improves, the NFL tends to be unforgiving.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.