Steve Smith was in no mood to talk about next weekend's NFC championship game.

Not after his Carolina Panthers just lost their chance to play in that game with a 23-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon.

But that didn't stop a reporter from asking the veteran receiver which team, the 49ers or Seattle Seahawks, he'd be rooting for in the game that will determine who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

What followed was probably the longest six seconds of that reporter's life as Smith struggled to come up with words to use in response to such a question.

And when Smith finally did speak, the reporter probably didn't feel much better.

"You really want me to thump you upside the head, huh?" said Smith, who had four receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown in the loss. "That was the dumbest question, that's the second-dumbest question you asked me.

"I only cheer for one team -- actually two teams, my team and my kid's team. Other than that I can give a bleep."

The fact that Smith flashed a big, toothy grin when he was done talking probably didn't make the reporter feel much better.

Can't even imagine what was the first-dumbest question the guy asked Smith. It would seem pretty hard to top this one, but I'll take Smith's word for it.

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charles.schilken@latimes.com