The player-worn pants he scored by chance at the Carolina Panthers team store. The jersey he picks from a collection of 12 he’s gathered over the years.
And the bright, blue hair? It takes his girlfriend about 30 minutes of spraying to get it just right.
But three or four home games each year, before it gets too cold, you’ll find Jerry Pendleton in uniform.
The look is captured in a 2012 photo of him before the New Orleans game, and is the first winner in the Observer’s contest for Panther-ific photos from fans.
Pendleton, 47, gets up early on game days, driving 45 minutes from Shelby to start tailgating by 8 a.m. He’s not a PSL owner, but says he’s missed few home games in the Panthers’ 18-year history. He also sets his DVR for each game, dissecting the team’s play before he goes to sleep.
“I give everybody I work with a hard time because they pull for teams like San Francisco and Dallas that they never get to see unless they’re playing here,” he says. “I get a chance to see my team play every opportunity I can.”
A favorite memory came in 2007, when he flew to St. Louis for the season opener against the Rams. There, he met then-quarterback Jake Delhomme, who signed a jersey that now sits in a glass case in Pendleton’s “fun room” at home. He also has about 15 Panthers bobbleheads and 24 other figurines he’s collected since 1997. He has even more items at work.
Pendleton says he’s excited about this season. He thinks Cam Newton will have a breakout year, and DeAngelo Williams will come back strong. He predicts the team will go 12-4 and host a playoff game. “We’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
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