Thursday, February 4, 2016

Experiencing A Super Bowl City #Panthers #SB50

By @B_Rock1978

Super Bowl 50 is just a few days away and I can't even tell you how much excitement has filled the city of Charlotte. I can personally say that growing up in Cleveland, I've never experienced a Super Bowl City and the joy of watching your states team represent the Super Bowl. I live about an hour north of Charlotte and everywhere you look, you catch a glimpse of the Panther blue, black, white and silver, whether it's yard decorations, car decorations, jersey's, shirts, hoodies or flags. You feel the excitement in everyone's voices as they talk about their Super Bowl party plans and how they will celebrate while the Panthers battle the Denver Broncos, in Levi's Stadium, at the yearly event.

I'm currently a third shift Team Leader at a well known department store in North Carolina and our store has so many Carolina Panthers decorations and items for sale, that you can't help but to really be given that positive vibe about the Panthers organization. I can honestly say that I'm really excited for this team and really hope they bring home the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday. It may not be my first and only love, the Cleveland Browns, but the thought of seeing and experiencing a championship parade in downtown has got me excited. The thought of seeing a winner for once and not being the yearly loser has got me excited too.

Many of my hometown friends consider that this doesn't count for me because I only recently moved to North Carolina this past November. Many of my hometown friends consider me just another bandwagoner, just because I cheer for the team that just so happens to have a shot at a championship. My hometown friends don't realize that I plan on living in North Carolina for quite awhile and have been studying the Carolina sports team history. If I was just going to be a bandwagoner than why would I waste my time reading about the Panthers finishing 7-9, an all time NFL high for an expansion team, in their 1995 debut? Did you know the Panthers played at Clemson, South Carolina their first year? Finished 12-4 in their second year and just missed the Super Bowl? Made it to Super Bowl 38 and almost upset the New England Patriots? The late great Reggie White played a season with the Panthers?  Ex-Browns QB's Jake Delhomme and Vinny Testaverde QB'ed with the Panthers? Former Cleveland Browns QB savior, Derek Anderson, is Cam Newton's current backup QB? I could go on and on with the Panther knowledge I've picked up since November, but I just wanted to prove the point that I plan on representing this team as my second love behind the Cleveland Browns.

Let's look at the current Panthers roster and I'll give you my top 5 to watch in Super Bowl 50.

- Cam Newton: Don't care what anyone says about this man, he deserves the MVP. Newton was the first Carolina Panthers jersey I purchased with my first official new job paycheck. I love this guy, Heisman Trophy winner, National Champion, Rookie of the Year. This season Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 30+ TD's and rush for 10 or more in a season, finishing with 35 passing and 10 rushing. Newton also was the only quarterback ever to have 300 yards passing, 5 touchdown passes, and over 100 yards rushing in one game. Newton also tied San Francisco 49er great Steve Young's record of most career rushing TD's in a season.

- Ted Ginn Jr.: Ohio State Buckeyes Alumni and Cleveland native. Two of the many reasons why I love Ginn. Ginn has been a huge WR threat for Cam to throw to this season. Ginn finished 2015 with 44 catches 739 yards and 10 TD's. Ginn is also always a threat on return teams too with his speed.

- Greg Olsen: Two time pro bowler TE Greg Olsen, has been highly underrated and not given the credit he deserves. The NFL needs to open their eyes at the bigger picture and realize there are other good TE's out there and not just Rob Gronkowski over in New England. In 2015, Olsen set the Panthers record for career receiving yards and receptions for a TE, passing another Panther for the record, Wesley Walls. Olsen capped off 2015 with 77 catches 1,104 yards and 7 TD's.

- Jonathan Stewart: If healthy and not fighting the foot problem he's had since Week 14, Stewart is a huge asset to the Panthers running game. Stewart was picked for his very first pro bowl this year, finishing 2015 with 242 carries 989 yards and 6 TD's. Again if not for the foot issues, Stewart conquers a 1,000 yard rushing season.

- Josh Norman: Every great offense needs a great defense too. Norman has been an outstanding CB for the Panthers this year, even being voted into his first Pro Bowl as well. This season Norman shut down DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, TY Hilton, Dez Bryant, and Julio Jones, in the first 14 weeks. Norman even went toe to toe with Odell Beckham Jr. in Week 15 and held Beckham to 4 receptions for 30 yards and a TD, in between Norman and Beckham trash talking each other throughout the game.

So those are my current top 5 favorite Panthers right now. Granted you should also watch out for Jericho Cotchery and Kelvin Benjamin at wide receiver and, of course, Luke Kuechly at Linebacker. 

So who are you rooting for in Super Bowl 50? Obviously I'm rooting for my new hometown team, the Carolina Panthers.

My final score prediction: Panthers 35 Broncos 24.

Oh and one last thing.....Go Panthers and #KeepPounding.

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