As Carolina moved to leads of 17, 24, 31 and 38 points, most fans at Bank of America Stadium allowed themselves to believe the Panthers would win. It was part football and part festival and pure joy. The cynical turned optimistic. The mean turned nice. Interesting what a victory can do for a fan base, city and region.
• Kudos to whoever chooses the music the public address system plays. Heard three songs by Led Zeppelin; the Panthers do not allow points when they play three Zeppelin songs during a game. They also played Jump Around by House of Pain. I asked a DJ to play it on Bald Head Island once, at a restaurant overlooking the water. A guy bitterly complained when the DJ did. A good song immediately became better.
• Ryan Kalil on Carolina’s head coach: “I think you can recognize sincerity and I think that’s what you get with Ron Rivera. He’s somebody you respect. He’s played in this league, he’s done well as a coordinator and he’s put us in the right position to win. I think this is a good football team. And we just have to be able to be at our best when our best is needed.”
• In the final minute, Cam Newton stood with Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart hung out on the Panthers bench. Newton wore a towel over his head. I know that some of you are really into men’s headwear. But a guess is that on this day even you didn’t complain.