A few Panther notes as everyone makes their 2014 resolutions -- and also, I want to thank all of you for making this blog part of your day.
I also know a few of you probably missed Sunday's story about what happens to all those footballs Cam Newton hands to kids in the stands (the great Jeff Siner picture above comes from that story -- it's a pic of Newton and 15 of the kids he has handed footballs to over the years).
That story ended up getting around 2,500 "likes" on Facebook, which is more than I've ever gotten on a story before -- here's the link if you missed it. Now onto some other notes from a New Year's Day I am spending partly at Bank of America Stadium:
-- The three-minute sellout of the remaining 7,000 or so Panther playoff tickets on Wednesday morning wasn't a big surprise to me -- I had predicted on Twitter it would take five minutes. What does surprise me considerably is that Green Bay is having monumental trouble selling out its playoff game against San Francisco Sunday (and Cincinnati and Indianapolis are having trouble, too). You can still go to the Panther game, obviously, but only if you're willing to pay several times face value for tickets.
If you are thinking about buying Panther tickets on the secondary market for their 1:05 p.m. playoff game on Jan.12th, buy your tickets from a site that guarantees the tickets to be valid, like the NFL's Ticket Exchange or Stubhub.com. There will likely be hundreds of counterfeit tickets floating around for a game of this magnitude -- don't get caught with one of those. I have heard too many sad stories of people who have had that happen this year.
-- The Panthers will wear the uniform voted the best in NFL history (in an unofficial online poll in 2013) in their playoff game. The black-on-black combo (seen at the bottom of this blog) was most recently worn in Carolina's win against the New York Jets. The electric blue socks, remember, were Steve Smith's idea. I feel confident Smith will play on Jan.12 in the playoff game, but it's still unclear how effective he will be. The Panthers are holding him out of practice this week.
-- Panther coach Ron Rivera said that if he could make one New Year's resolution for his entire team, it would be to "stay focused." Not real creative, but very true.
I certainly think Panther defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is ready to be an NFL head coach, but for his sake I hope he doesn't wind up in Washington (he interviews for the Redskins job Saturday). I wouldn't wish working for Dan Snyder on anybody.