Cam Newton.

Cam Newton.

I will readily admit that you are not reading an article about the Superbowl by an avid football fan. I’m not. I will also readily admit that you are reading an article about the Superbowl from an avid Panthers fan—that I am.

Ever since my youngest brother Josh was four years old, he has embodied everything Panthers. He has represented the hometown team faithfully and fanatically ever since he was old enough to think for himself. Where this undying love and devotion came from we’re not entirely sure, as each of the Harvey boys grew up loving a different team. But it is there nonetheless, and his devotion has completely transformed our family into life-long, die-hard Panthers fans.

For the entire span of Josh’s life, I have watched the disappointment on his face, Sunday after Sunday and season after season as the Panthers continued to disappoint, often resulting in tears and cries of “will we ever be good?” It was heartbreaking.

I have seen him organize the “Panthers club,” a club consisting of our family and one or two close friends (though we really didn’t do anything other than “be” a club and watch games together). I have even served a term or two as the “Panthers club” president, an honor I hold in high regard.

I have watched way too many interceptions thrown by an aging Jake Delhomme, way too many runs up the middle called by John Fox, a couple years of disappointment in a rookie Cam Newton, and a heartbreak in the Panther’s release of the iconic Steve Smith.

But this year was just a little bit different.  

The Panthers will face the Denver Broncos in the fiftieth Superbowl on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. A young, smiling, fifth-year quarterback in Cam Newton will take on veteran fan-favorite Peyton Manning, while the calls on the sideline will come from “Riverboat” Ron Rivera for the Panthers and Gary Kubiak for the Broncos.

This is only the second time that the Panthers will be playing in a Super Bowl while the Broncos have played in six. Likewise, this will be Cam Newton’s first Superbowl appearance and Manning’s fourth.

For Panthers fans around the nation, this is what we’ve been waiting and hoping for for far too long. For fans of the Broncos and Peyton Manning, it has been an unlikely road to the Superbowl, but they have made it this far.  The contrasts are stark and the stage is set. One Carolina! #KeepPounding.