There's something special about the Carolina Panthers. A relatively new franchise, the Panthers just finished one of the best seasons they have ever played. I'm writing this before the Super Bowl, so I don't know yet how this all ends. But win or lose, I bleed black and blue for the Panthers.
The Panthers have heart. That is what makes them one of the most likable teams in the NFL. They are a close-knit, kind-hearted group of guys that fights like hell every time they're on the field. We do have a star player, NFL MVP Cam Newton. But on this team, it takes every guy to do their job to come out with a win. Newton, Kuechly, Brown, Ginn Jr., Olsen, Norman, Cotchery: We need them all, and they all make us the team that we are. Not only do the Panthers have heart on the field, but they have heart off the field as well. Our players aren't troublemakers or making headlines like a certain Cleveland Browns quarterback. They're involved in charity work, and they always make their fans a priority. Many of them have even founded their own charity organizations and are extremely involved in their success.
The team has incredible dedication. Leaders have stepped up within the franchise, and that is what has made them so great. When Luke Kuechly joined the team, one year after Cam Newton, he became a student of the game. He studied plays and film almost constantly, and then made sure every player on the defense knew what they were doing. Cam, seeing this, felt pressure to step up and be this person for the Carolina Panthers offense. Now, Cam and Luke have competitions to see who stays later watching film. They said they each win about half the time. Not only are they dedicated, but their dedication makes them talented. We have the NFL MVP, who is also offensive player of the year, and the best coach in the league. Not only that, but we have three star recruits like Kuechly that have trained to become superstars, and a walk-on from Coastal in Josh Norman, who has now become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
The fan base is unbelievable. I know a lot of them are bandwagon fans, but if they're supporting our guys, then I couldn't care less. Every away game, there were hundreds of people gathered to send off the team, and hundreds waiting for their arrival back home. Everywhere you look these days in Charlotte, North Carolina, someone is decked out in Panthers gear or holding a Panthers flag or yelling, "Keep Pounding!" And now, Charlotte is buzzing with excitement for the Super Bowl. Keep Pounding, boys. You'll always be winners in my eyes.