CHARLOTTE – The Carolina Panthers are headed to London.
The Panthers will play overseas for the first time in franchise history this fall, taking on NFC South foe Tampa Bay. Intra-division matchups have been rare in the international series, as only three of the 26 games have featured a clash of division foes.
Carolina, Green Bay and Houston are the only franchises not to play in London since the NFL launched the international games in 2007.
Dates, kickoff times and venues for the 2019 international games will be announced in conjunction with the release of the full NFL schedule this spring.
"I’ve had the chance to play and coach in London before and those were unbelievable experiences," said head coach Ron Rivera, who played in London with the Bears in the 1986 preseason and coached in London with the Chargers in the 2008 regular season. "The fans are outstanding and they have such fervor for the game. It’s a great opportunity for our franchise and for our players and coaches to get international exposure."
The contest is a home game for the Buccaneers, meaning the Panthers will have eight regular season games at Bank of America Stadium per usual.
"It’s amazing to hear the Panthers are going to play in London," said defensive lineman Efe Obada, who grew up in the city. "One of the goals I set, beyond making the roster, was to play in London, be in front of the English fans and get a sack. It would be coming full-circle to be on that field. Now I have to make the team again. It’s added motivation."
Carolina’s contest will be a part of five international games the NFL announced today – four in the UK and one in Mexico. Two of the UK games will be played at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, with two at Wembley Stadium.
In addition to London, the Panthers will play road games at Arizona, San Francisco, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Houston, Atlanta and New Orleans. Last year, the Panthers traveled the fewest total miles in franchise history in a season (approximately 4,060), while in 2019 they will travel the most miles in franchise history in a season (approximately 11,022).