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The one where Bryce Young and Andy Dalton start a (hypothetical) podcast


CHARLOTTE— Jonathan Mingo and Cam Gill were in the final minutes of a one-possession Madden NFL game. In a match that could only be played on a simulated field, the 2004 Carolina Panthers faced the 2004 Carolina Panthers. Jake Delhomme versus Julius Peppers, Steve Smith Sr. and Dan Morgan making plays for both teams. And Mingo scoring touchdowns from his spot in the black armchair facing the massive screen, in the waning moments of the game.

He lined his iteration of the 2004 Panthers up for an extra point when, from the back of the room, a voice coached, "You should be going for two right now."

On the screen, the offense elected instead to kick. It was no good. When the next possession rolled around, and an obvious field goal for the win situation arose, Mingo hesitated for a second, contemplating running a play.

The same voice, from the back, "NOW is the time you're not going to kick?"

The play selection on the screen changed, the field goal team trotted out, and as fake cameras focused on the holder, Andy Dalton quietly asked, "Bryce, is that you holding?"

In the NFL quarterbacks rarely, if ever, act as holder like they do in college, but the question was enough to break Bryce Young, who abandoned his role as Mingo's coach and doubled over in laughter that echoed around the room.

Bryce Young Production Day

Young was in the midst of his second NFL production day, his first as returning starter. There was a marked comfortability as he walked from station to station, posing for pictures and acting for the camera while walking elaborate sets. When the repetitiveness threatened to bring the mood down, Sam Franklin Jr. jumped to the side of the set and coaxed (read: demanded) his quarterback to dance.

But the day was more than just flashes of a young passer coming into his own. It was a tonal shift in Young's confidence in the building as both the voice of his team and one that isn't insular, playing off his teammates.

No where is that clearer than when he's with Dalton.

"Tell me about 2005," Young asked Dalton, his voiced laced with humor that caused the question to veer dangerously close to a "tell me about the old days Grandpa," tone. "How did you look stuff up before Google?"

In deference to Young, who was quickly educated on when the internet first became readily available, even if it meant dealing with the headaches of dial-up, the Panthers' starting quarterback was only four years old in 2005. The world was a different place

How old was Andy Dalton in 2005?

"I was a senior in high school," he scoffed, sending Young into a fit of laughter.

Bryce Young and Andy Dalton Production Day

Before diving into what can only be described as an impromptu podcast, Young and Dalton played their own version of Madden with the 2004 teams. Young sacked Dalton's Delhomme as Peppers on one play, then fumbled with the controller on another, trying to figure out how to jump a ball on a Nintendo GameCube.

Dalton coached Young through the game when he could, reminding the new-age quarterback, "this is 2005 Bryce, a running back is a big part of the offense." (Especially when it's Stephen Davis).

And once the game was over (a 6-6 tie), they took advantage of the mics in their faces kept the conversation going. They ran down the list of top songs in 2005 and Oscar Best Picture winners, which Young had never heard of. Young wanted to know how MapQuest worked, somewhat shocked when Dalton explained the process of printing off directions.

The "podcast" lasted all of 15 minutes, not covering a single topic of importance. But it was a microcosm of who these two are and what they've become to each other. The old-head who has been in the league for 14 seasons, and the young buck in his second year, becoming more comfortable, but still learning the game. The former a coach and safe place for the latter to realize his place in this league.

Dalton did find his line though, when he asked if Young remembered Blockbuster. Young promised he did…but his heart belonged to Redbox.

"I hated going to the store with my mom, but I'd go just in case she said we could rent a movie," Young wistfully shared. "Now that was technology."

Dalton shook his head and wordlessly got up, walking out to the sound of commiserating groans from everyone else in the room over the age of 30, as Young bent over his chair snickering.

Before the day was over, they did have one more request. If anyone has ideas for what to name their (hypothetical) podcast, they're taking suggestions.

Check out Panthers players and coaches during their visit to Hendrick Motorsports headquarters and Charlotte Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Racing Experience.

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