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Game Quotes: Panthers vs. Cardinals


On Panthers' approach out of halftime: "I like the energy they came out with. What was really nice about it was they owned it and by that I mean when we were getting ready to come out for the second half. I didn't have to say anything. The players said it, and then Cam Newton stepped up and really challenged everybody. They took ownership. To me the really neat thing was they stepped up. I didn't have to get up and say anything. It was really on them."

On aggression in second half versus the week before: "We talked about it. We looked at things that we needed to talk about doing. One of the things that when we got into the third quarter, I just told (offensive coordinator) Mike Shula and (defensive coordinator) Sean McDermott to call their game, be yourselves, use your personality and they did a great job. I really love the things that Mike did. We had some opportunities early on in the third quarter that we didn't convert. We dropped a couple passes. We had some opportunities to move the ball. Defensively we had that one quick strike by them, but you have to give credit to them. They are trying to score points as well. But I really liked the way we were aggressive at the end."

On defensive approach to Arizona's aerial attack: "You know to not get too much into detail, we knew who they were. They are a very good team. They have a lot of talent on that team. They have a lot of playmakers around that quarterback who is a very good quarterback with a great arm. But we felt if we could mix it up and do a good disguising, move guys around, we felt we could give ourselves a chance."

On forcing seven turnovers: "They are an explosive team. We were able to put ourselves into position to make plays. Our guys flew around, they hustled. I thought the game plan, things that Sean and his staff did, him and (assistant head/secondary coach) Steve Wilks and the rest of the guys, compiling a game plan as far as coverage. Again, (defensive line) Eric Washington and his guys talking about how to rush the passer and how to do different things, I thought our guys came with really good plans. I thought the linebackers, (Coach) Al Holcomb and his guys, did a nice job today."

On responding when Cardinals pulled within 17-7: "I think that was one of the things that kept the momentum going our way. Then we made it 24-7. But probably to me the play of the game was the missed throw that Cam Newton made to Ed Dickson going up the seam. He overthrew him, and Patrick Peterson had an opportunity to return it. Lo and behold, Ted Ginn Jr. caught him from behind. That gave us the opportunity to make the next turnover so again, it was all about effort and attitude. It was great to see Ted make plays today."

On Kurt Coleman's value: "He is a ball hawk. He has done a great job for us. He had another great play today. He made some outstanding plays all season, but the play he made just before the half with the big interception, keeping the momentum from swinging. I thought that was huge, and I thought that was a play that was tremendous at that time."

On Luke Kuechly: "Luke has done this all season. He and Thomas Davis are a heck of a tandem inside as far as our linebackers are concerned. What these guys do is special, and when you get an opportunity to watch these guys play and see the things that they do, it is outstanding."

On coaching in Super Bowl after playing in it 30 years ago: "It is kind of neat, personally. I've had an opportunity to be a player, an assistant coach and now a head coach in the Super Bowl. I think that is really neat. I really do. I'm just kind of excited about the opportunity. More so than anything else, I'm very excited for this organization, this team, the players, coaches, everybody else involved, Dave Gettleman, our general manager, who has been tremendous. The last three seasons with him has been a tremendous experience for me. Personally, it is the culmination of what you work for as a football player, as a coach, and so it's going to be exciting and I look forward to it."

On Kawann Short and the defensive tackles: "The biggest thing that KK has been is that constant inside push that you look for. He has done a heck of a job for us, he really has. He has been the workhorse for us on the inside. He makes a lot of impact plays, but to me it is also about the unit more so than anything else. Star Lotulelei has played tremendous. Dwan Edwards has stepped up at the right time. Kyle Love had a big day as well. I thought the defensive ends did a nice job for us. To me it's really about the unit and it just happens that KK is the one that is making the splash."

On what he can share with team from his Super Bowl experience: "We share a lot actually. We have talked a lot about what the goal is. We talk about what the vision is and the direction we are heading with this vision. We are a step away. We are going to play a very good football team. We watched them play today, and they played tremendous. They have a Hall of Fame quarterback, and some players that are playmakers around him. This is a team we will have to get ready and prepare for."


On how he feels after winning NFC Championship: "Super."

On reaching his first Super Bowl: "We came out and had a pretty successful game, but I know there are a lot of people who feel just like me – we're not done yet. We're going to live in the moment right now. Happy for not only the teammates, but happy for the Carolinas, happy for the organization and Mr. (Jerry) Richardson, and I'm just thankful for the process."

On his approach to game: "Just find ways to win the football game, and I knew today was kind of going to be a tricky thing. I didn't want to do too much. I just wanted to get the ball to right guys and give them opportunities as well. For me, with facing a defense that had so much firepower and so much talent and athleticism as the Cardinals; you know those guys show so many different looks I just wanted to stay on the plus side of the pendulum on down. That made a big difference, being third-and-three and second-and-short rather than third-and-long."

On his journey to this moment: "Long time it feels like, but yet we've still got a long way to go. I said it then and I'll say it now, I'm excited. It was a process. It wasn't going to be – what did I say – instant grits, quick grits. It was going to be process like long-cooked collard greens. I think those collard greens are brewing right now. You can smell it from 100 miles away."

On wearing jersey No. 1: "It's a responsibility in wearing it, and for everybody who takes subliminal shots at me for character reasons, showboat reasons, anything, it just happened that way. From a number I wear with so much pride being that no one has ever worn that number in franchise history and yet number one means so much, but I don't want to get out of pocket with that. So many people may think 'He's number one, wants everyone to look at him' do this, that and the third. There's a lot of people behind the scenes that make a big difference in my success. You'll never hear or see these names in the paper, from Andrew Norwell to Ryan Kalil to Michael Oher, even Ed Dickson, Trai Turner, Mike Remmers. Those guys played their tails off today, and I'm just the recipient of running or throwing with unbelievable protection."

On whether he surprises himself: "Not really, because so much of what I do is already I want to say pre-determined. I've thought of this moment way before this moment. It happens because of an unbelievable supporting cast from family members and close friends to teammates and coaches. When you're put in a situation like this, a big game, you played it out so many times in your mind, so for when you run a touchdown, when you throw, when you're flipping into the end zone, it's kind of like that dream has now become the reality. Yeah, it may be a surprise to so many people, but that's how I envisioned it in the dream. May not be one of those same circumstances, but the outcome is the same, you know?"


On what this victory says: "Good things happen to good people, to guys that do things a certain way and guys that work hard. It's a simple formula, but sometimes it's harder to execute. But we do a pretty good job at it."

On Cam Newton's continued effort: "I don't know if you ever expect it, but we have gotten pretty used to it. This is what he has been since he got here in 2011. To all share this journey together since then, with Coach (Ron Rivera) who drafted him and adding guys like Luke (Kuechly) and Star (Lotulelei) and these draft picks over the years. We have a great mix of older and younger guys, it comes together for a really good team."


On Newton's performance tonight:"It's been fun watching Cam (Newton), every year he's improved, each and every year. We knew from the get go when he first got here, he broke all those NFL rookie records, we knew we had someone special. The continuity that we put in place, and being in the same system, the same scheme. Watching him grow each and every year, it's been incredible and this has been a big year for him"

On dealing with injuries and adversity:"A lot of people can't figure out where a lot of this offensive success comes from, given that there is not a bunch of big name guys on the roster. I think that's changing now, I think you're going to start recognizing these guys as big name guys and guys that can make plays in this league, I'm very happy for them."

On how rewarding it is to reach this point:"It's a rare opportunity, the thing I admire about this organization though is that we have stayed the course and stuck with our philosophies. It starts with Mr. (Jerry) Richardson and their process and the guys that they have brought in for leadership; in Coach (Ron) Rivera and Dave Gettleman. They have just done an incredible job bringing in good character guys, and guys who work hard, who obviously are very talented. All those things together have been a great recipe for us and it's just been incredible all season long."


On advancing to Super Bowl 50: "It's crazy, man. My first two years have been surreal. Going to the playoffs the first two years, I know is something that I can't take for granted because it doesn't happen every day or every year. I'm excited, I'm ready to go man. We still have one more thing to do."

On what makes this team special: "We're a complete team. We're not like a bunch of these other teams. We play as a team, it's not about one person, it's not about two people. If one guy goes down, the next man steps up. We are a complete team."


On fans at Bank of America Stadium: "They brought it tonight, and they wanted it. We wanted it. Charlotte, the Carolinas wanted it. Just a great atmosphere to play in, and it's always great to sing the song at the end."

On momentum heading into Super Bowl 50: "We beat a great team last week. We truly beat a great team last week, and people were able to see what type of team we played last week. They were championship guys, so each week we just try to go out and play Carolina ball. Everyone can try to find something when they doubt us, but we just try to go out there and put our ball on display and see where that leaves us."

On Ted Ginn's role with Panthers: "The great thing about Arizona not wanting him was he came back to this place he was wanted and we know his skill set, and we truly believe in him here. When you have someone who truly believes in you, you can just go out and play. That's why he was able to showcase his talents all year long."


On Kawann Short's value: "He's disruptive, he causes problems up front, he gets to the quarterback and he's done an excellent job for us this year, and he's made big plays when we needed him. That was a big time play for us, getting us the ball back at midfield and giving the offense the ball back with the ability to go score. He's done an excellent job, he worked his butt off this offseason to get better, and it's really shown."

On facing Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl: "When I was growing up, it was Peyton Manning and the Colts putting up big numbers. He was the guy and still is the guy that everyone looks at, it's going to be a lot of fun. It's a guy that I grew up watching, and it's going to be fun to get a chance to play against him on that stage, so we've got to be ready to go because they're going to bring their A-game."

On memories of Panthers' Super Bowl 12 years ago: "I remember the touchdown that Steve (Smith) had, a game or two before. Right down the middle, what was it the Rams? I remember that play, I remember watching that play at my buddy's house, he caught it right down the seam and took it all the way in. That was my memory right there. I don't know how much I remember from the Super Bowl, but I remember Steve catching that pass and going right down the seam for a touchdown."

On message to Thomas Davis after his injury: "We had his back, and he's one of my best friends on the team, he's taught me so much and it's tough to see him not playing. He's worked his butt off his whole career, and for him to get dinged up is unfortunate, but if you guys know Thomas, he's a fighter and he's going to come back and do the best he can. It feels good to go out there and win a game for Thomas because of how much he's meant to me and how much he's taught me and how much he's brought me along. Thomas Davis, I think, is one of the best players on our team, but an even better person and I think that's an important thing to know with him is who he is, what he represents and what he stands for, and it's awesome to play with a guy like Thomas."


On going to the Super Bowl in his rookie season: "It's sunk in right now. The only thing I can think about is we won this game, we took it game by game in the playoffs. We focused on Seattle, had great preparation. This game, had great preparation throughout the week. We are going to let this sit in for 24 hours and then get back to work on Wednesday."

On what he's learned in the NFL this season: "I have learned a lot. From Al (Holcomb), Luke (Kuechly), TD (Thomas Davis). It's all about technique and really technique can put you in the right area for the play. Technique is big around the Panthers organization."

View game action photos from Carolina's 49-15 win over Arizona in the NFC Championship.

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