In the NFC Championship Game on Sunday evening, the Carolina Panthers pounded the Arizona Cardinals, 49-15, to earn a spot in Super Bowl 50, which will take place on Sunday, Feb. 7, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, where they will take on the Denver Broncos.
Before kickoff of each home game, the Panthers have a “Keep pounding” drum ceremony during which they roll a huge bass drum out onto the field. A guest of honor pounds on the drum, and the crowd gets fired up, chanting “Keep pounding, keep pounding, keep pounding…”
For the NFC Championship game, the guest of honor was Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
Apparently the Panthers were listening to Richardson. In winning the NFC Championship, they improved to a league-best 17-1 record and pounded the Cardinals for 335 yards passing, 152 yards rushing, 4 interceptions (2 for touchdowns) and 3 fumble recoveries – all while holding Arizona to 225 yards passing and 60 yards rushing.
Throughout the season, head coach Ron Rivera has consistently emphasized focusing on attitude, preparation and effort.
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Panthers quarterback and MVP front-runner Cam Newton, paid homage to this leadership approach at the post-game press conference. He spoke about the team’s confident attitude, intense practice preparation, then said, “Coach Ron Rivera and everybody on his staff are not only great coaches and great role models."
He went on, "When you’re out there competing and playing, and coaches are asking you to give them every single thing that you’ve got, it’s easy to give unbelievable effort to a person who cares about you. They care about your family. They care about your friends. They care about your kids. They care about your personal life. They care about every single thing outside of just completing a slant route, and Coach Ron Rivera has done an unbelievable job of creating that type of atmosphere.”
Next up, Super Bowl 50.