The bye week for Super Bowl 50 moves on and the Carolina Panthers await their chance to bring home a championship for the first time in team history. With Cam Newton garnering much of the attention, and Luke Kuechly proving to be a force to reckon with throughout the playoffs, odds-makers have the Panthers favored to beat the Denver Broncos. With the Super Bowl just over one week away, here is a look at the Carolina Panthers news as they reach the midpoint of their week of Super Bowl preparation.
Luke Kuechly Passes Cam Newton in Popularity
While Cam Newton is the biggest name on the Carolina Panthers football team and the man who garners almost all the attention, he has actually fallen behind a teammate when it comes to some fan support. Heading into the Super Bowl, Newton actually sits outside the top 20 when it comes to merchandise sales in the NFL. What is more surprising is that Luke Kuechly, the leader of the Panthers defense, has moved into the top 20 and sits at 18th in total merchandise sales for NFL players. He ranks second to Peyton Manning when it comes to players playing in the Super Bowl this year, and sits between Drew Brees and DeMarco Murray. This may come from his winning personality, which people love more than Cam Newton’s perceived arrogance. “He’s genuine,” running back Mike Tolbert said. “There’s not any fakeness with him. He’ll come sit and talk with us for 30, 45 minutes. Then you see him flip a switch and go on the field, and it’s all mayhem.”
Panthers Owner Rewards His Entire Staff
When the Carolina Panthers made it to the Super Bowl, head coach Ron Rivera said that he wanted the team to enjoy this opportunity and to take it all in. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson agrees with this sentiment and went one step further: He actually paid for every member of the Panthers staff, including interns, to travel to San Francisco to be part of the Super Bowl experience. “Mr. Richardson understands that this memorable season would not have been possible without harmony and a complete team effort,” team president Danny Morrison said. Richardson did the same thing when the Panthers made it to the Super Bowl in 2004.
Panthers Choose Black Uniforms for Super Bowl
The Denver Broncos head into the Super Bowl and got to choose what color of uniforms they would wear. While their home jerseys are the Orange Crush jerseys, they chose their white road jerseys. The reason was a case of superstition. John Elway pointed out that he wanted them in white because of their past record wearing the orange jerseys: The Broncos lost all four Super Bowls they played in while wearing orange jerseys. In the other three Super Bowls, they went 2-1, with one of those wins in the white jerseys. While Denver is superstitious, Carolina is just confident. In their black jerseys, the Panthers are 0-2 in postseason action and are sticking with their 17 wins this season as proof that superstition is just superstition.
Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. aExaminer.com.