CHARLOTTE N.C. -- More than a hundred fans crowded the gate behind Bank of America Stadium Sunday night, to let the returning Panthers know how excited they are about their playoff-bound team.
“I love it, I think it's great,” said Mark Tait, who said he and his wife “Qit Qat” have greeted the team after every away game. This time, she brought a box full of football-frosted donuts to give Cam Newton.
Dressed like a cat – complete with make-up and ears, and a Panthers jersey -- she munched on one of them from a second box.
“They needed a lot of people to welcome them home,” said Tait.
“They seemed to be impressed. They seemed happy about it,” chimed in “Qit Qat.”
The team appeared to appreciate the response, too.
As the tour busses pulled into the back gate, Cam Newton was dancing at the front of one bus, while some players took pictures and videos out the windows.
Many stopped to shake hands and sign autographs on their way to their cars, some even videotaping fans along the way.
“It's great to come back to this reception,” said Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. “Knowing the fans really appreciate it and we did it for them.”
Newton was so excited he “photobombed” another player’s interview in front of our NBC Charlotte cameras and ran off.
Fans continued to cheer as the players made a slow parade out of the stadium driveway onto Graham Street in their cars.
They’ll play again in two weeks, on Sunday, January 12, at 1 p.m., at Bank of America Stadium. They’ll expect a much bigger crowd then.