In the year 2017, all entities must have two distinct but intersecting identities: one as a flesh-and-blood person/company/football team and another on social media.

And so millions of hours of brainpower are spent every day trying to turn mindless musings into likes and retweets, for the sake of brand-building or just for the yuks.

And that brings us to the Carolina Panthers’ Twitter account, which spent three days crafting a thoroughly ridiculous gimmick.

Spoiler: The big reveal was that the Panthers’ account had subliminally tweeted out the words to the beginning of the “Fresh Prince of Belair” theme song.

We won’t subject you to all 40 tweets, but here’s a taste:

Many people on Twitter seem to find this gag amusing, which is fine. Feel free to be amused. You’ll be happier that way. But I’m a cynical grouch, so I’m left with many questions. Was there any occasion for this remembrance of a TV show that went off the air 21 years ago? As far as I can tell, no. Do the Panthers have any connection to Will Smith, Fresh Prince or that song? Again, not that I know of. Was there any other special reason for these tweets? Only the fact that it’s the offseason and NFL social media managers must be bored as hell.

This is a joke without a punchline, a brand overwhelming your brain with nostalgia that has nothing to do with the product its actually selling. It’s like if Coca Cola aired a commercial full of orange cassette tapes, beanie babies and Aaron Carter and then told you to buy soda.

Imagine how much thought went into this. They must have planned their tweets days in advance. The were probably forced to adapt on the fly when something new came up that required tweeting. They had to forgo reasonable syntax and hope no one would complain.

I’ll admit that as I scrolled through the tweets to see how far back the gimmick went, I did begin to wonder how the Panthers would handle the word “Belair,” a proper noun with no connection to football. Well, turns out they basically cheated.

And the worst part is, for all that effort they only got through the little intro. They didn’t even make it to the iconic, “In West Philadlephia born and raised” part. The short version of the song contains 192 words. The Panthers made it through 39 of them.

Of course, for all my cranky complaints, the Panthers got more than 6,300 retweets in the first hour after posting their tweet and are now over 44,000. So yeah, mission accomplished, I guess.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.