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My home team, the Carolina Panthers, are in Super Bowl XXXVIII, having defeated the Philadelphia Eagles tonight. Whatever happens in the Super Bowl, they've had an amazing season, and watching them progress has been a real privilege.

One thing that impressed me about the Panthers-Eagles game tonight was the sportsmanship on both sides of the ball. I saw players helping opposing players up, players patting opposing players on the back, players laughing with opposing players... it was a great display.

Now come the New England Patriots, a devastatingly efficient team. Panthers coach John Fox has come up with great game plans to win three playoff games, two of them on the road. He'll need his best game plan yet to stay competitive with the Patriots.

The opening line on the Super Bowl has the Panthers as 6.5 point underdogs. If I was the type of person to bet on sports games, I'd take the Panthers and the points. Will the Panthers win? It will be a real challenge for them. But will they keep it close? I have to believe that they will.

To the players and coaches of the Carolina Panthers, congratulations on your accomplishments to date, and good luck in the big game two weeks from today. And to the residents of the 48 states other than North and South Carolina, yes, the Panthers are for real.


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