The New York Giants' win against New England last week in Super Bowl XLVI means the reigning Super Bowl champion will play the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium for the second consecutive year.
The Panthers will face the NFC East in 2012, with the Giants and Dallas Cowboys coming to Charlotte. Last year the Panthers hosted Green Bay in a wild Week 2 game won by the Packers 30-23.
The 2012 schedule will not be finalized until April, but the home portion includes several interesting matchups. Besides the Giants and Cowboys, the Panthers will face former coach John Fox and quarterback Tim Tebow (maybe) when Denver visits, and can prepare for the freak show/street carnival that accompanies Oakland's once-every-eight years stop in Charlotte.
The Panthers have sold out 93 consecutive home games. But the excitement generated by rookie quarterback Cam Newton, as well as the home schedule, can only help.
"A tremendously exciting schedule," ticket director Phil Youtsey said. "It adds to where we're going with this team. Everything's on the rise - excitement and interest is up. We're seeing increased PSL sales."
Youtsey said the Panthers are selling PSLs for this season, ranging from $2,000 to $7,500. He said ticket prices will remain unchanged.
Several games on the schedule could draw prime-time consideration, particularly the trip to Philadelphia when Newton could match up with Michael Vick, whom Newton followed closely while growing up in Atlanta.
Network insiders say the Panthers - coming off a 6-10 season - could be a year away before landing multiple prime-time games.