By Danny Cox
As the Carolina Panthers prepare to welcome their opponent into Bank of America Stadium, they are looking at everything they possibly can to be ready.
The Panthers want to be the team that brings fear to the eyes and hearts of whomever steps on the field against them.
One of the things they’ll be doing is breaking out a uniform that is very popular, but also very rarely used. The black-on-black uniform has been used just once in each of the last two regular seasons, but the Panthers will wear it for the NFC Divisional Playoff on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014.
“It’s sweet,” defensive end Charles Johnson said. “Anytime we wear the all-black, it’s all good.”
For the first nine playoff games in franchise history, the Panthers wore white jerseys and white pants. Those uniforms brought about six victories. Their most recent playoff game in 2008 saw the Panthers wear black jerseys and silver pants, but that ended with a home loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
So far, they are one-and-one in the blackout uniforms.
The players know their fans are prepared as well, and they are highly anticipating the first playoff game in years for the Panthers. Earlier this week, playoff tickets went on sale and fans were ready to snatch them up at lightning speed.
Around 7,000 playoff tickets sold out in just three minutes. The fans are looking forward to the game, but they are all hoping that one of their key offensive players will be healthy enough to be on the field.
Tight end Ben Hartsock reinjured his knee in the final regular season game and he missed all of last week’s practice. The star tight end is going to be re-evaluated this week, but the hope is there that he’ll be well enough to play.
Three other big names have suffered injuries in recent weeks but head coach Ron Rivera is more confident that they’ll be ready for practice this week and the game next weekend.
Wide receiver Steve Smith, running back Jonathan Stewart, and defensive tackle Colin Cole are all expected to be ready for practice leading up to the game. Rivera said that treatment has been given to them all and “things are very positive.”
Barring any setbacks, the Panthers are looking rather healthy and they are looking prepared. They’re ready to face off with anyone in the playoffs and not show fear, but produce it.
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.