To celebrate the undefeated Carolina Panthers, here are a dozen gifts fans should consider putting on their holiday wish lists this month.
(1) 2015 NFC South Division Champions T-Shirt: It’s still too early to talk about the Super Bowl, but some pretty good bragging rights have already been secured. This limited-edition black Nike short-sleeved tee features the team logo; “The South Is On Lock” in big blue letters; and “2015 NFC South Champions” in smaller type. $28 at www.fansedge.com.
(2) Carolina Panthers Patches Ugly Sweater: You should be seeing a few of these around town this holiday season, since NFLShop.com, Macys.com and other retailers sold out of this particular style in a matter of days last week. It’s blue, black and white, it’s tacky, and it’s awesome – perfect for ugly-sweater Christmas parties. Amazon and a few other online sellers have limited sizes available; Google it. $70-$90.
(3) Panthers “Dab On ’Em” T-Shirt: Also liable to be a popular holiday gift is this blue cotton long-sleeved tee, adorned with a “#KeepPounding” on the left breast and “Dab On ’Em” in big, bold lettering on the right forearm. You’ll find the placement of that slogan to be most appropriate when Cam scores a touchdown (as long as you’re not bashful about celebrating). $22 at www.etsy.com.
(4) Luke Kuechly Tanks, Tees and Hoodies: Not to be outdone, No. 59 gets more than his share of love when it comes to fan-made shirts. Among the slogans decorating tops on NFLPA-licensed site FanPrint.com: “All I Need Is Sweet Tea and Luke Kuechly,” “Your Workout Is Luke Kuechly’s Warmup,” “Luke Kuechly Has More Hits Than a Jukebox,” and “I’m With This Guy Until Luke Kuechly Shows Up.”
(5) Personalized Highway Distance Sign to Bank of America Stadium: Ideal for a game room, a home bar or a man cave, these signs – which are green with white lettering – replicate the look and feel of real U.S. highway signs. When you order, it gets emblazoned with “Bank of America Stadium” and the number of miles between your house and the Panthers’ home turf. $20-$35 at www.etsy.com.
(6) Panthers Prints and Wall Art: I originally was going to pick a favorite image, but everyone’s tastes are different. What I can say is that my favorite site to browse is the NFL Photo Store, which mainly features the work of sports photographers from the Associated Press. The catalog currently includes (fantastic) shots from games as recent as the Thanksgiving Day win in Dallas.
(7) Panthers Minifigures and Field Sets by Oyo Sports: If you like Legos – or at least things that are Lego-ish – Oyo offers the following posable mini-figures: Cam Newton, Kelvin Benjamin, Luke Kuechly, Greg Olsen, Shaq Thompson and Colin Cole, plus Sir Purr, for $13 each. The company’s “Game Time Set” ($150) includes a 210-piece buildable field with 3.5-inch goal posts, 11 Panthers mini-figures and a referee. www.oyosports.com.
(8) Carolina Panthers M&Ms: At $35 plus $10 for shipping for 2 pounds of candy, these are ridiculously expensive and frivolous – but also undeniably novel and cool if you’re a hardcore fan of both Panthers and sweets. They come in blue, gray, white and black. For $10, you can get the M&Ms in a glass bowl with the team logo (and 50 percent less candy). www.amazon.com.
(9) Carolina Panthers Fan Brands: Looking to ingest more foods bearing the Panthers logo? These 2-by-2-inch metal alloy brands can be used outside on the grill or inside with a frying pan to add team spirit to steaks, grilled cheeses and more. $20 at www.fanzz.com.
(10) Madden NFL 16 Video Game: Come on. You know you want to play out a season as many times as you can until the Panthers go undefeated. Right? Me, too. Available for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3. $60.
(11) “100 Things Panthers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die”: Observer sports columnist Scott Fowler’s book was published more than two years ago, but it still holds up as required reading for fans of our NFL team. That said, after this season, it’ll for sure need to be updated. $15 at Amazon.com.
(12) Carolina Panthers Playoff Tickets: Hmm. Best of luck on that one!