Fan Spotlight Finalists

Finalist 1: The Voice


Finalist 2: #1McNutt Fan

"I have been a fan since I was buying beer in a store around 93-94. Register had Carolina Panthers bottle openers. I said, what the hell, we are getting a team? This was before the internet remember? So I buy it and have watched almost every game.

I've seen the highs and lows from beating the Cowboys just to lose to Green Bay to watching Beurleins amazing trot into the end zone to beat Green Bay.

Watching Rodney Peete stink it up thinking here we go again to seeing an unknown backup named Delhomme stage a comeback.

I've sat miserably in a chow hall in the Middle East watching us implode against Seattle in Seattle. I've walked miles to find a tv where I could watch Panthers games.  The only season I've missed was the Clausen year because I was in Afghanistan. Big loss right?

I've gone from screaming for Riveras head to being cautiously optimistic to proclaiming him the Panthers greatest coach!

I've had a Chris Gamble jersey stolen from me on a deployment, I was pissed, I've had people in sports bars ask me why I was wearing an 85 Walls jersey and who was he.

I've walked around Erricson/Bank of America stadium but have never been to a game there.

I flew my flag at half staff the day Steve Smith was cut.

Yes, I am a Carolina Panthers fan until the end!"

Finalist 3: Tammi Carr 

I've been a Panthers fan since the day Charlotte acquired the franchise. Through the ups and downs, the wins and the losses, my love for this team has never wavered. I'm emotionally attached and anyone that is a die hard fan of any team will understand what I mean. I cry when we win, I cry harder when we lose. I hate to see my favorite players leave but understand the bigger picture and that this is in fact a business.

I want nothing more than to experience a Super Bowl win and bring that Lombardi Trophy to Charlotte. And when we win, because we will, I'll add the corresponding Roman Numerals in ink.

As far as the tattoos, the panthers whiskers are self-explanatory. I got that one 5 years ago after we lost to Arizona in the playoffs (and yes, I cried after that loss... a lot). 

The Keep Pounding tattoo I got a week ago. Not only is it a great motto to live by in all aspects of life but it hits a little closer to home now. Recently I found out that my father has cancer (thankfully the doctor's are really positive about it). With that news, it only seemed right to add Sam Mills' mantra on my foot as well. It will be a constant reminder to myself, that no matter what life throws my way - I will always Keep Pounding and so will my family.

Finalist 4: Abbie Lewis 

Alright, so here’s my Panther fan story…..
If it wasn’t for the Panthers having a HORRIBLE season in 2001, I would have never met my husband. On 10/14/2001 a friend had an extra ticket to the Saints game and being that the season wasn’t going so great there weren’t many takers. (This was our 1-15 season) I decided to go. Sitting next to me was a man from Atlanta, he was in Charlotte on a business trip and was asked to stay though the weekend. Feeling sorry the company gave him a ticket to the game so that he would have something to do in his down time. We struck up a conversation & even though he wasn’t a Panther fan, he pulled for them along with me. We had a nice talk and exchanged email and phone numbers & he headed back to Atlanta. Over the next months we talked on the phone and then began dating long distance! (not fun) A year later we decided things were becoming more serious and I moved to Atlanta, the rest is history! I haven’t been a been able to fully convert him to a Panthers fan, even though I’m pretty sure secretly he pulls for the Panthers all the time- he wouldn’t admit it (bless his heart, he is a Jets fan) As for that 1-15 season, it was the only game I went to in person, but I did not miss one minute of any other game on TV….and actually held out hope most of the games were winnable
So that’s the sweet story, the other part is this. My background, born and raised in Charlotte. I was taught my love of most things sports from my grandmother & mother. We spent many weekends watching first ACC Basketball, and then when Charlotte made the big time and got our first Pro team we watched the Hornets, finally the Panthers. My husband often says nothing can connect generations together like pulling for a team. It’s so true! When I moved to Atlanta my connection to the Panther’s grew even more intense as it connected me to my city that I loved and my family even more. Many phone calls
centered on my Panthers and trips home were often met with surprise tickets to a game. 
This past weekend I was in Charlotte to visit my 93 year old grandmother who had just had a stroke. The one topic we were still able to connect on was the Panthers. I asked her what her favorite of all sports was and she said without hesitation it was football and the Panthers! Two years ago in July my mother was diagnosed with cancer and died just 5 days later. It was a huge shock and I struggled to get back to life. Panther season started and it was something to distract me. The Panther motto that I had always been proud of now had a new meaning to me, Keep Pounding became more than just football to me, and it really did inspire me to get back to life. Every time I heard it, it just reminded me to keep moving forward, and every day it got easier. I know my mother would have really loved last season and every time I got really excited about a game or play it made me smile, thinking my mother was smiling too! I truly am so proud of the organization top to bottom-on the field and even more off the field. 
I'm including a photo, not in Panther gear, but of four generations bonded together by our favorite team. There is 73 years difference in the youngest and oldest, yet they have so much to talk about and enjoy each other's company!
I'll leave you with this,share the love of sports with your children and Keep Pounding every day & everywhere! Here's to another great season!

Finalist 5: Jonathan Bishop 

It all started the the summer the Panthers came into existence. I remember visiting family in Spartanburg SC as a young wee child. Everything was grand in those days. My father would take me to the Panthers practices and even then I knew something was special about Carolina's team. As the years went by I grew and so did my love of the Carolina Panthers. In 2002 I became really sick. To spare you the horrific details I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the Age of 13. There were many long and hard fought years ahead of me, but always I could find joy in watching my Carolina Panthers. I remember my dad taking me to a game at the old Ericsson stadium and it was what felt like below freezing to a young sick child, I ended up throwing up repeatedly at half time. Afterwards my dad asked me if I wanted to leave and I said are you crazy, I am not going to miss this chance to see my team play, our team play. The following year I was in and out of the hospital . I remember watching the games like it was yesterday in the early months of 2003. With multiple Ivs in my arm and lacking the strength to even climb a set of  stairs I would cheer on my Panthers every chance I could from the hospital bed all the way to the Super Bowl! The years ahead only got harder as my body had no cure and the medicines wouldn't help. This was about the time I started reading more into the great Sam Mills story. With my faith in God and the way his story touched me and gave me hope. Today after multiple surgeries I am a healthy 25 year old man. Without the Sam Mills and the panthers I'm not sure where I would be. But I have learned life is always bigger than yourself and when times get tough there's only one thing you can do and that is Keep pounding!! I will always be grateful for what God has put me through because I am better for that. As going forward when I hear keep pounding to me it's more than a saying its a life style! Go Panthers!