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Carolina Panthers

Quotes to Note: Opening Night

Quarterback Cam Newton

(on his Super Bowl dream growing up ) "Just to play in the Super Bowl, one, and to win a Super Bowl. That was the big dream of mine. I remember when the Super Bowl was in Atlanta and Steve McNair was there, one of my idols growing up, one of many idols. It just goes to show you that this is a game of inches. He threw the slant at the end and reached out and didn't get it, one of my all-time favorite Super Bowl moments. Yet that just makes you prepare even more so that you'll be on the winning side of the pendulum."

Running back Jonathan Stewart

(on Cam Newton and how his leadership has shaped the team) "He's been a leader his whole life. His first four years, through this he's found his edge. He has matured a large bit. He's been a hard worker, his work ethic has been tremendous over that amount of time and it's finally paying off and now he's able to kind of sit back and understand that he doesn't have to have everything on his shoulders, he has guys around him who are professionals too and we want to win too. I think that's been a large part of it, is that he doesn't have to feel like everything is on his shoulders. When you take his personality and mix it in with a bunch of grown men playing a game, at the end of the day it's something that you're always going to be passionate about, something that you've always loved, going out there and getting paid for it, so why not enjoy it? So, his personality is, 'I'm here, I'm going to do it my way because it's the right way," and we like that. I think as a team we gravitate towards that because it's the right thing.  I wouldn't have any other QB over Cam and it's been fun this year."

Defensive end Charles Johnson

(on how Rivera sets the tone for the team) "I think guys kind of rallied behind him because of his background and how he came as a player/coach. Some coaches don't really relate to players like that. They're just straight business, straight coaching, but he was a player also so he knows how it is in and out. We relate to stuff like that, and once you get guys relating to you and you have your leaders relating to you and you see what it does, people just follow you."

Center Ryan Kalil

(on foreshadowing with the full page ad and the letter) "Yeah, you know listen – I'm somebody who firmly believes that no one should define you, but you. And Coach Rivera's done an incredible job and front office did an incredible job putting together this football team and it's something that's been in the works for quite some time now. That particular season I took that ad out, you know a lot of people said we wouldn't win more than three games and I didn't believe that. And I don't have a problem with people having that opinion. But the problem I had was I felt a lot of our teammates were buying into that. So a lot of football teams every year, every training camp, they get together, they talk about listen, we're going to win the Super Bowl. This is the year we're going to win the Super Bowl. Now how many teams really believe that? That's the difference. So that was a team then, and I still believe now, I felt was very capable making a run at it. So I put something out there for my teammates just to make sure that they believed in it and had my back. So this season I think is not a fluke. It's been in the works for quite some time now and couldn't be more excited."

Linebacker Thomas Davis

(on what makes Carolina's defense special) "I think what makes this defense so special is because it's not about one man. When we go out, and we play the game, it's all about playing for each other. And we are truly unselfish in our approach, and we just approach the game plan week-in and week-out like we're just going to go out and dominate. That's what we feel, and that's what we believe in when we go out and play."

Cornerback Josh Norman

(on how the Super Bowl has exceeded his expectations) "You know what, expectations of this game and the magnitude of it is just ridiculous. I'm going to set something straight with you real quick. We are playing a game, so we are inside of it looking out. You guys are outside looking in. So it's a bit different from your perspective than it is from mine. For me, it's just like another game. You guys our here are creating the fun of it."

Defensive end Jared Allen

(on what makes this Carolina team unique) "It's a true brotherhood. I laugh, because it's basically every football cliché that you hear, but it's legit. You play for the guy next to you. It's very selfless. I think one thing – we have energy. Look at what Cam (Newton) does. Cam's totally different than what you think the prototypical franchise quarterback is going to be. That energizes our team – the youthful spirit, the childlike mentality – but when you take that away, he's still really good at what he does. The fundamentals of football he is really good at. That's just like our whole team. We have a lot of personalities and Coach (Rivera) is eager to let those show and encourages guys to be themselves, but at the end of the day, we're really good at fundamental football. I think that's what carries us to the next level."

Safety Kurt Coleman

(on how the secondary has managed to create such a special position group this season) "I would say, I mean, first and foremost it's love for one another and the trust factor that we have. The trust factor and our game plan with our coaches, the trust factor that we have in each other when we're out on that field, there's no really mental breakdowns. That's why no teams are really beating us with the big plays. Obviously, they get paid, so every team's going to make a play, but we're not beating ourselves out on that football field."

Fullback Mike Tolbert

(on if Quarterback Cam Newton likes to call his number in the huddle a little more than other players) "Well yeah, sometimes he comes in the huddle and he calls the play and then he'll hit me in the stomach, 'Here we go Tubby, lets get it.' At the same time man, it's fun. We're not selfish over that. Whether I score the touchdown, Cam or Jonathan (Stewart) or he throws a slant to Kelvin (Benjamin) or a slant to Jerricho (Cotchery) or over-the-top or what not. It doesn't matter, as long as we got in the box we don't care who is in, we're celebrating."

Wide receiver Devin Funchess

(on what it's like to play in the Super Bowl) "It's great, you know? It was my rookie year. I went in there and had a lot of fun. I had so much fun that I forgot that we actually lost one game this season. It feels like we went undefeated throughout the whole thing. Just getting here and being in this moment has been amazing and a blessing in itself."

Safety Roman Harper

(on the feeling of being back at the Super Bowl after experiencing it previously with the New Orleans Saints) "You know, I'm just excited, not only for myself, but for this team, this organization, this city. It is an opportunity to do something great, do something special. Nobody ever gave this team or this organization credit for how great they are and how good of people they are. For us to go out here and be world champs would be something special, something great."

Photos from the Panthers' appearance at the media day extravaganza.

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