Panther Tracks

Cardinals’ red a rare sight in black and blue sea in uptown Charlotte

Mike Donnelly, center, the lone Cardinals fan at the Roaring Riot tailgate on Cedar Street.
Mike Donnelly, center, the lone Cardinals fan at the Roaring Riot tailgate on Cedar Street. The Charlotte Observer

Cardinals’ red has been a rare sight the seas of black and blue uptown ahead of Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium.

It’s likely because of the snowstorm that wreaked havoc on the East Coast Friday and disrupted many fans’ travel plans. For the Arizona supporters who managed to find their way to Charlotte, they say their reception has been generally warm.

Take Mike Donnelly, the lone Cardinals fan at the Roaring Riot tailgate on Cedar Street (the one that’s supposed to draw up to 600 Panthers’ fans.) This is his first time in Charlotte, and so far he said he’s been treated very nicely by opposing fans.

It’s true what friends back home said about Southern hospitality, Donnelly said: “You guys are a classy bunch.”

Donnelly was one of the lucky Cardinals fans who managed to fly into Charlotte Saturday from Phoenix. His connecting flight from Houston was one of the only ones he knew of that wasn’t canceled.

Then there were Jason Castaño and Eduardo Morales, brothers-in-law from Durham and Phoenix, respectively.

They said they were on the lookout for other Cardinals fans on South Tryon with whom they could tailgate, but were having a hard time finding any.

The two had just driven in from Durham Sunday afternoon. Morales’ original Southwest flight from Phoenix to Raleigh Saturday was canceled, and he had re-booked on a later Delta flight that evening.

“For the most part people here have been friendly,” Morales said. “But one guy booed at us. Another guy flipped us off.”

The Panthers play the Cardinals at 6:40 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium for the NFC Championship title.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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