Panthers coach Ron Rivera thinks his team’s Super Bowl appearance can serve as a unifying force for the Carolinas’ often fractious college sports fan bases.
“Whether we win or not, I think the most important thing about it is what we’ve brought to the Carolinas and to the community,” said Rivera. “Some people say we’ve revitalized it. We’ve united the Carolinas so they can really cheer for one group.
“When you go to the Carolinas, it is such a hotbed of college athletics. You have UNC. You have Duke. You have N.C. State. You have South Carolina and Clemson right down the road. There are so many great college programs.
“To be able to bring them together – the sports fans in the Carolinas – has been kind of neat. We’ve been able to have people have something to grasp on to and cheer for as a group. That’s really been neat to be a quote, unquote uniting force.”