Leicester City Backing For Carolina Panthers
- Like the Foxes, Carolina are their league’s surprise package, ending their regular season with a league-best 15-1 record
- Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Josh Norman and Graham Gano all given personalised City jerseys
- City stars Jamie Vardy and Christian Fuchs offer their support to the Panthers ahead of their NFC Divisional Play-Off meeting with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday
As Leicester City continue to upset the established order in the Barclays Premier League this season, across the pond there’s another team taking their own league by storm – the Carolina Panthers.
Ron Rivera’s side came within a whisker of securing a fabled unbeaten record in the National Football League’s regular season, with their 15-1 record seeing them enter the postseason as the NFC’s no.1 seed.
It’s a record that mirrors closely the Foxes’ own remarkable rise, which saw them spend Christmas Day at the top of the table for the first time in the Club’s history - giving Claudio Ranieri’s team the platform for a truly special season.
Both City and Carolina have become one of the most feared teams in their respective leagues through a combination of hard work and ability. For the Foxes the goals of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have sent opposition defences into a spin, while for the Panthers, quarterback Cam Newton has staked a compelling case for the NFL’s MVP award with some irresistible play.
So with a huge matchup for Carolina against the Seattle Seahawks now on the horizon, the Foxes showed their support for the Panthers by sending out personalised Leicester City jerseys to four of the team’s stars – Newton, Luke Kuechly, Josh Norman and Graham Gano.
Leicester no.9 and top scorer Vardy said: “What the Carolina Panthers have done this season has been fantastic, it’s a really great story. They’ve shown what can be achieved with hard work.
“I also saw that their kicker, Graham Gano posted a picture in a City shirt on Twitter, which was fantastic to see, especially as he wears no.9 too. He’s got a great right foot!
“We’ve got quite a few NFL fans in the squad so I’m sure the lads will be supporting the Panthers for their big game on Sunday.”
City left-back and NFL fan Christian Fuchs added: “Carolina have had an incredible season. Like us they ended last season really well and again, like us, some people didn’t expect them to do what they’ve done this season, even after the great start they had.
“They’ve done it in style too. Cam Newton has been unstoppable again but I’ve enjoyed watching Josh Norman too – he’s been fantastic. I guess as a cornerback, his position is as close to mine as you can get in the NFL.
“Me and the lads wish them all the best for Sunday against Seattle. It’d be great to see them make the Superbowl.”
Panthers cornerback Norman wore his new Foxes jersey this week as he told media: “It’s kind of crazy. They just wanted to show support and I’m showing support by wearing it for them. It’s pretty cool we’ve got support over there in England.
“They were just like us. Nobody was giving them clout or anything. They had to come up and get everything they’ve got. Pretty much earn everything. Now they’re No. 1.”
Panthers fans are now dreaming of a shot at the Vince Lombardi trophy at Superbowl 50 next month, while Ranieri too has encouraged the Blue Army to dream of what might be possible if their side continue their form.
And while within the squad the mentality remains a winning one, it’s also one of calm, with ‘one game at a time’ a regular line heard in City’s post-match media. It’s a mantra not dissimilar to the Panthers’ own motto – Keep Pounding.
Sunday will see the Panthers take on the Seattle Seahawks in Charlotte in a tough NFC divisional clash, with the winner earning a shot at either the Green Bay Packers or the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.
So from one underdog to another, Keep Pounding, Carolina.
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