After 14 weeks we know two things about the Carolina Panthers: 1) they are really good at football; and 2) no team is having more fun than they are right now.
The Panthers improved to 13-0 on Sunday with a dominating 38-0 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Near the end of the game, in what has become a bit of a tradition for the team, Cam Newton and some teammates gathered on the sideline for a group photo.
In past weeks, that moment has included Newton and just a handful of teammates. This weekend, the size of the group grew leading to this fantastic photo by Streeter Lecka for Getty.
Well, it is not clear if Greg Olsen is having fun, but we are willing to acknowledge that this may be his “fun” face.
The Panthers are clearly having a lot of fun this season and that joy starts with their leader, Cam Newton.
A short time after posing for the photo above, the MVP favourite sprinted up and down the sideline encouraging fans to cheer, as described by Jodie Valade of the New York Times.
So in the final seconds of Sunday’s game, Newton sprinted along the sideline from midfield to the 10-yard line at one end of the field, held his hand to his ear and encouraged cheers. He nodded emphatically when the roars came.
Then Newton raced down the sideline in the opposite direction, laughing and grinning broadly, pausing only at the opposite 10-yard line to pantomime the same gestures. What was left of the crowd that had begun to thin in the blowout screamed its approval.
There was also this moment during Newton’s postgame interview with Pam Oliver of Fox in which Newton appears to get goosed on live television as a teammate chants, “MVP! MVP!”
Newton’s fun on the field has been present all season, reaching its peak in a Week 10 win over the Tennessee Titans, when he unleashed an extended version of his “dabbing” dance celebration. When several Titans plays confronted Newton, he just kept smiling and dancing.
After the win over the Falcons, Oliver asked Newton about all the wins and how it appears that the team is having a party every week.
“It’s fun,” Newton said. “You smile. You get a little extra oomph when you are winning.”
After the game, Newton went further, telling the media that the Panthers are just trying to seize the moment.
“Right now, it’s our moment, as Panthers,” Newton said. “We try to seize it as much as possible.”
It seems safe to say, the moment is being seized and the Panthers are enjoying every second.
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