As patrons streamed out of All American Pub in South End, one woman held a man in a Luke Kuechly jersey.
He leaned on the fence next to the light rail as he cried.
The disappointment was similar across the city. In uptown, fans began leaving the EpiCentre around 10 p.m. after a Broncos touchdown.
Andrew Voorhis, 27, of Charlotte brought his friend Shad Cristando of Wyoming to watch the game at Whiskey River.
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“We’re disappointed,” Voorhis said. “But I don’t think this is the end for Cam. Cam will get a Super Bowl (win) in his time.”
In the shadow of Bank of America Stadium, hundreds packed into Draught.
When it became clear in the fourth quarter the Broncos would win, Panthers fan Ayoub Ouederni said, “I’m sad. We had an amazing season.”
The Panthers’ offense “choked this game,” he said. And, he said, league MVP quarterback Cam Newton had perhaps his worst performance of the season.
“His one bad game turned out to be the biggest game of the season,” Ouederni said.
Ouederni and his friends traveled from Chapel Hill on Sunday to watch the game in Charlotte, hoping there would be a joyous celebration at the stadium after the game.
Now he’s looking forward to next year, he said.
“We can only get better from here. We’re still the best team in the NFL.”
Anna Douglas, Ely Portillo, Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
Charlotte City Club hosts Super Bowl party
Members of the Charlotte City Club, the NFL Retired Players Association and their guests enjoyed an upscale Super Bowl party Sunday night in uptown.
The City Club loosened its normal suit jacket or business casual dress code and allowed attendees to wear Panthers gear and jerseys. At least 300 people attended.
The night included access to retired NFL players such as Hess Hempstead, former offensive lineman for the Detroit Lions, and Mike Dulaney, former fullback for the Carolina Panthers.
7-year-old, deployed dad cheer together by iPad
In north Charlotte, 7-year-old Dane Howard turned an iPad toward the TV so his dad could see.
It was 3 a.m. in the Middle East, where his father, Mick MacDonald, has been deployed for close to a year with a National Guard unit, but they weren’t going to miss the chance to cheer the Panthers on together.
“Are you excited?” MacDonald asked Dane, a second-grader who said his favorite player is Thomas Davis, because he didn’t let a broken arm stop him.
“Yeah,” said Dane. Behind him, in fuzzy pixels, other soldiers milled about, one in a Luke Kuechly jersey.
As the Broncos scored the first field goal, Dane and MacDonald talked about how late it was and how MacDonald had to get ready for duty in an hour.
“I miss you,” said MacDonald.
“I miss you too,” said Dane.
60 homeless men join tailgate party
Panthers fan Robert Lee Brown, 59, stood and cried like a baby in the meeting hall of St. John’s Episcopal Church when the team fell behind early in the game. But the tears were only partly due to disappointment.
Brown was one of 60 men invited to the church for a tailgate party created specifically for homeless men, and the evening was one treat after another for the recently released prison inmate.
“Krispy Kreme doughnuts,” Brown said, pointing to a plate in his right hand that had five doughnuts. “I was in prison 15 years and it’s been that long since I had one. Thanks you Jesus.”
For most, the evening was not only a chance to watch their favorite team, but a rare instance in which they were invited to a party.
“We’re allowing them a chance to be regular guys for the evening,” said the Rev. Suz Cate, of St. John’s.
“There’s something powerful about sitting around a table, with everyone rooting for the same thing. Camaraderie like this doesn’t happen often.”