tv ET Entertainment Tonight NBC January 23, 2016 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
could have predicted when kelvin benjamin went down in training camp. e are 16-1 and a win away from a trip to the super bowl. the eyes of football fans all over the country will be on charlotte, north carolina, tomorrow night. >> it's only four teams left. usually the butter is spread out a little thinner. but now, when you got two games left, all attention is going to be on those games. just imagine, you know, if we are lucky enough to be in the one game left. >> guys understand that these games now are faster, more physical. each play matters more. thankfully, we have had experience in the past that will benefit us at this point right now.>> it took 10 years to get back here. who longs -- who knows how long it is going to take? the opportunity that we have
brad: thomas davis thought carolina would get back to her quicker than they did. he certainly doesn't want to let the other team in the game was called by many all season long as the best in the nfc. carson palmer leads the second highest scoring offense in the league behind carolina. >> these guys are very unique in the way they play offense. very potent defense. so, it's going to be a great challenge for us. >> i mean, they have a ton of well -- weapons. greg olsen, jonathan stewart, ted ginn with the deep shot. the important thing this week, everyone wants to talk about cam and what he does. we have to stop the run. >> if we are going to charlotte for a vacation, this is not the right time. really nice there in april, may, june. this is a business trip.
reason, to try and win a football game. brad: welcome in marc dopher. when we looked ahead to the season in august, there is no would go 15-1 in the regular camp. previous season. they ended on a pretty prop -- pretty positive note. they had been in the playoffs for about two months. before that, they played terrible football. you were wondering, what is this team going to be? they opened training camp, looking pretty good, and we were th benjamin tore his acl. it is one of those moments you look at and go, where does the team go from here?you knew immediately it was not good. brad: kelvin benjamin was arguably the best wide receiver, best rookie wide receiver, in
rookie lasincredible training camp. cam newton talked about someone else this week that i think ishe said stephen hill. remember in training camp, stephen hill went down with a knee injcam newton said stephen hill was having the training camp of life. they expected big things out of stephen hill. former georgia tech widehe'll goes down. benjamin goes down. it's difficult to see how they go 15-1. marc: it's remarkable to look at the guys who stepped up. some people thought ted ginn's career was in the twilight. greg olsen has had the season of a lifetime. he has been cam's vote to guy and provides the safety valve when cam newton needs to get the ball: the team is one win away from the super bowl and they were asked a lot this week about super bowl 50, talking about
let's bring in the third member, ricardo lecompte. they didn't want to talk about the super bowl quite yetricardo: that's right. they did not want to talk about that game because they are not at that game yet. with this team, one win away, they can see the finish line. it is right in the reach. nobody wanting to talk about it. the players, the coaches did not want it mentioned because they are not in that game yet. >> didn't do me any good to talk about the next game if we don't get there. we will focus on the game we are about to play. that's the most important thing, that we understand this game is a big game. this is an opportunity for us to move forward. you've got to win. that's what we've got to focus on.>> one play, one quarter, one at a time. we can't get ahead of ourselves.
we have gotten this far because of who we are and we are not going to change it. we will continue to be who we are, keep our personality, and have fun doing whatever we are doricardo: the carolina panthers, of course, the number one seed in the nfc. it is not guaranteed they will win this game and head to the super bowl.the cardinals are coming into the game, road warriors. 7-1 on the road this year. tied with carolina for the best in the league. brad? brad: thanks so much. we can't talk about this football game without talking about what's going on over the last 24, 48 hours. chris justus joining now, resident meteorologist. fans that are going to the game tomorrow, what can they expect? hopefully the bad stuff is behind us. chris: i can tell you nothing will be falling from the sky tomorrow, but it will be cold. what did fall from the sky the other day really hits the bank
three inches of snow and ice. the national weather service issued a winter weather advisory for what has already fallen. roads are still slick out therewith some of the slush on the roads, roads can be slick. the weather advisory stretches down i-85, greenville, asheville. you want to be careful if you are traveling that way tomorrow. the forecast does call for dry conditions by game. 36 degrees to start. 30 i the end of the game with mostly clear skies. brad, we have been talking about this panther history. they have had much worse games they have had to deal with for the nfc championship. they have been there three other times. the worst, 1997 versus green bay. nine degrees at kickoff. wind chill was -27. brad: this will obviously not be the coldest nfc championship game they have pla in, but it is almost a warm weather team coming into the cold weather environment. it is january, by the way.
what team is cold weather favorites in this game? chris: it would be the panthers. they have been there and played these cold games. they won when it mattered. they had rain at the start of one game and it changed by snow jazz -- changed to snow by the second half. they have played in the cold games. they have proven. the philadelphia game -- marc: they won that game. kickoff is what? ricardo: -- chris: 36 degrees. marc: that's the price you have to pay if you play in january. time to take a break. we will talk about players returning to their roots for the biggest game of their careers. the cardinals and panthers have many players who called the carolinas home. we will look at the local connections in the nfc title
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afraid of the spotlight. he loves the big eight. -- stage. it is worth the price of admission this year. the start, the big screen debut wasn't what you would expect frl star. >> staying on the couch. didn't have a room or nothing. >> there's always a defining moment that shakes -- shapes a player's career. for norman, it came staying on his brothers counted during his college years. at the time, he wanted to play major college football and the greenville named -- native was willing to do whatever it took
>> the mindset, my brother helped me. >> he became a standout here at greenvilh school, recognized by his coaches as a freshman. during his senior year, he was the on player to play both ways. when he wanted to continue in college, none of the major schools came calling. >> it is frustrating to a young man who has worked hard and feel like he has a ers, enconway while staying on his brother's couch. after a season playing there, he transferred to coastal carolina as a walk-on. norman would make his mark as a shot to clear. -- chaunticlere. >> slacking off a little bit, trying to get him to come his way. you might get him one time, but it would be hard to get him
he tried to major in theater, but knew how much time it took. the football field now is his stage. >> norman eventually got the role of nfl order back for the carolina panthers. now in his fourth season, he is becoming one of the best in the league. >> we always had -- always knew he had the talent to play in the nfl. he has worked hard from the time he entered the high school and his improvement every year with the panthers. >> hard work, that talent level, you try to match that is much as you possibly can. great things happen to you. >>'s defining moment has landed him here.trying to help the panthers -- [audio skipping]
josh norman is a huge piece of the defensive puzzle for this carolina panthers marc: here is a guy that has clicked along, making his way in a coastal carolina. that is what he has done for the pahe used to get beat quite a bit and you don't see that much by the time the game was over, he had one of the top wide receivers in the league out of his mind.norman is an interesting guy because he always talks about how he has to go to this dark place to get ready for these games. the dark place has led him in a great direction. brad: remember this. this is a contract year. a great here. he is going to -- fitzgerald said josh norman is probably going to be the highest-paid free agent in so you think about that for just a second. a guy that comes out of coastal carolina, not a highly recruited guy, not a highly drafted guy, and he might be the highest-paid
what a special campaign it has been for them the first fo: here's a guy that is taking advantage of his position. cornerback is one of the positions in the draft, in free agency. they are not just stocked on the shelves at walmart. when you get a guy who is a lockdown corner, which is what he has become, it is a good commodity. i liked what he did this season. here is a guy who bet on himself and won. he is the tip of the local iceberg. even with the carolina panthers, a lot of guys on the panthers have ties to the carolinas before they were ever a member of that organibrenton bersin, the wide receiver, mike tolbert out of coastal carolina how big has he been this season? there is of course josh norman out of coastal carolina. and to mere bird -- and damiere byrd. at some point, he works his way
that is what another player did, on the practice roster, then workedbrad: bersin and byrd are the unsung heroes of the team because they have been ready each time their number seven called. don't let those guys go unnoticed your guys like that are the glue for the team. you have to have guys like that if you're going to make a run like the panthers of made. usually 20% of arizona's roster have ties to the area. justin bethel, propyl corner out of presbyterian college. town of tigers in the desert. jaron brown, chandler cap zero -- catanzaro, chris clemson, andre ellington. dj swear injured also with the -- swearinger also with
practibrentson buckner and levon kirkland are on the coaching the panthers may be the carolinas team, but just because you're from carolina doesn't mean you pull for carolin>> growing up and going to college, did you pop over to panthers games? >> i was never a fan of the panthers. i'm still not a fan of the panthers. i'm all about arizona cardinals. that's what it's aband they love to go deep. that's their thing. they have teddy ginn, the main, deep threat. i think as long as we can take that away and force them to run, we can do it by stopping the run, we will be good to go. marc: it really is remarkable that such a high percentage of an nfl roster has so many players from our area. even just the clemson guys alone. 5, 6 guys all ending up on the same nfl team.
these teams are built through the draft, through free agency. remarkable how many local guys get to come home and play in the biggest game of their career: most of those guys played in the acc championship game with clemson. they are very familiar with the stadium to your coming up, we turn attention to the panther that gets the most attention, quarterback cam newton, top pick in the 2011 nfl draft. now the top player in professional football. we take a closer look at the league's most valuable play the "panthers playoff
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" our mantra as a franchise is our mantra as a franchise is, keep pounding. i think we have displayed that in many different ways. >> one of the sport's biggest stars ready to take his talents on one of the football's biggeststages. cam newton embodies criqui pounding mantra. there's little doubt carolina would be one win away from the super bowl without number one leading the way. let's talk about the player that is the most polarizing player in the matchup. he has been the most polarizing in the nfl all season long. : he is one of these guys, i'm not sure if i can put my finger on it, but people either love him or they hate him. it never goes with the middle ground. people are not luke warm on cam
newton. he is what he is and sometimes that can be a little bit childish.at other times, he can be a little standoffish. he never changes his tune. cam newton is always cam newton. brad: especially in this part of the country, i think a lot of people's opinions date back e was -- he is still really in the southeast. he has played in the sec -- scc and he played in the championship at a lot of opinions of cam newton go back way beyond his years in carolina. marc: ring the national championship year, cam newton play south carolina, and clemson, and played south carolina again in thepeople specifically in south carolina have gotten a good look at this guy for a good number of years. i think that does affect people's opinions. you can't argue with what he has done. he is clearly the most valuablbrad: we will talk about him off the field in a minute.
unique quarterback in the nfl. over 35 passing touchdowns. over 10 rushing touchdowns. the first one ever to do that.he is the biggest reason the panthers are where they are rinewton attributes his growth on the field too much of whathappened off the field. it started with a car accident the year ago and him being a new father. ricardo lecompte rejoins us live in charlotte with more on newton and the growth he is experienced as a carolina panthericardo: that's right, brad. you know all those things that happened off the field of really shaped what cam newton has been able to do oeverybody has seen the growth and maturation this season as the panthers call him. he put up all these stats. you asking what his biggest a cobbler cement year, it is all the w's -- biggest accomplishment is this year, it is all the w's. if you talk to all the players
his definitely the leader in that locker room. >> people will be talking about the 2015-2016 carolina panthers for years to come. shame on us if we don't capitalize on it. that's what is pretty much important for us as a team.we know what we have in front of us and if we don't maximize our opportunity, then we are going to be looking at it as, we left something that could have been so closely the way through our ha>> i mean, any man has to grow as a human being, as a football player, as anything. he's a man. he's going to mature every year. you are going to see a difference in him, no matter whall the things some but he could say about him, good or bad, he has put up, shut up, and played football. ricardo: ted didginn jr. says no
newton is good at being hymns health. you like how he celebrates or you don't. he will always ask the same way on the fie fun. he can be offputting at times and celebrations, but he still will be the leader of the carolina pan: ricardo lecompte live tonight. cam newton said a lot of interesting things this week when he was asked about him as a leader in what matters to him he talked about the mindset of the locker room when he showed up in 2011. he said that championship mind that he was used to, remember, he won the national championship playing junior college, the national championship at arbor, and when he showed up, the panthers went number one in the draft. culture was not really there. what he said is, you guys that are left did have the championship mindset. thomas davis, the guys on -- that were on the team back than that are still around.
pulls in the same direction. marc: here is a guy at times that, so early in his career, they were not playing well. this year, they were cranking out the winds. a lot of that is a result of what happened a year ago. his perspective was completely changed when he had a horrr accident just outside of bank of america stadium late last swhen we first saw this video the day that happened, you look at this and you say, how does somebody walk away from it? he went on to play that season. newton still wears his hospital bracelet from that day as a remif how weekly everything can be taken away. i think here is a guy that is celebrating football, celebrating life. some people don't like that. they don't like what he does. is just being cam newton. he is sure to keep everything in perspective and the order it should: there are a lot of things
since the accident, they have won won playoff game and one regular season game. his life was put in perspective after the accident. he does not drive to work anymore. he actually walks to work, rides a bike, rides a segway. he will not drive to work anymore after that car accident. a lot has changed in his life. he is a new father, something else that gives perspective in every man's life. cam newton is not the same guy today he was in 2011 and he is a big reason why the panthers have won. marc: you look at what has happened to the franchise over the last yea accident, the house catching fire, the run on the season 14-0. you wonder, what's the next chapter? it has been a pretty strange read over the last couple seasons. brad: time to take a quick break. when we come back, we go one on
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don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who have had a drug or alcohol problem may be more likely to misuse lyrica. fibromyalgia may have changed things but with less pain, i'm still a doer. ask your doctor about lyrica today. lyrica, move forward with less fibromyalgia pain. welcome back to panthers pbrad: every team has beat writers that spend every day following just one team. joseph person of the charlotte observer spends more time with the football team than he does his family.
with joseph person. ricardo: joining us is the panthers beat writer, joe person. joe, this carolina panthers team is not nervous. you would think they would be uptight the nfc championship game, but they play relaxed, loose, and have fun. joseph: ron rivera has pushed that. it started in training camp. you look at this team, the big personalities, nobody has a bigger personality than cam newton and he really sets the tone. in practice he is goofing around some, running around, sprints, and after they get done stretching he sprints to the first nation. the around, they know when to get serious. but ron rivera also knows that he does not want an uptight group. they have not been all year, and this not look like it's going toricardo: you just talked about
carson palmer. these players are going to be probably the real re why one of these teams will advance to the super bowl. : no doubt, it is ultra important for both teams to try to protect those quarterbackwe know that cam can get out of the pocket and escape, but he's facing a cardinals defense that blitz is more than any other team in the league, coming at you from all angles. they sometimes blitz as many seven players, basically living their secondary and man-to-man coverage. that will be something to carson palmer, luke praised him today, saying he was not a statue. well, he is a statue, and the panthers just got done facing russell wilson and all the problems he provides and presents. not so much with carson palmer. talented quarterback, sees the field, has all these weapons, but if their line gets to him, that will really help the
one of the concerns, one of the weapons they have to watch out for from the cardinals is larry fitzgerald.i'm interested to see the larry fitzgerald-josh norman matcis that what you are looking at? joseph: they will match up some, but fitzgerald plays so much out of the slot, i think half the time, the panthers have not pushed josh norman inside. he is traditional outside corner. i want to see that matchup, but i think really what might end up deciding the game is how cortland finnegan, the panthers nickel corner, fares against larry fitzfinnegan did not have a good game at all against the seahawks. he will have to play a lot better or the could be a trouble spot forricardo: the carolina panthers advanced to super bowl 50 if -- joseph: cam newton has a big game. i don't think he can be a game manager like he did last week with the big lead. he needs to run around a little
i think it is cam's time, it feels like his time. he will win the m.v.p., he won the national championship at auburn. the big stage is not new to him. it will be fun to watch. ricardo: it will be fun to watch as we see who will be the nfc representative, either carolina or aribrad: joe person is the best in the business for stopped love catching up wi have a fun segment, called crash the boards. we will jot down a few things. the first thing that comes to our mind. one word to describe the panthers' season full stop one word or phrase. marc: my freeze, my word is unreal.
thought this team would be to this point, talking about ning camp. my o people and sprman up. down, and the guy behind him comes in and they don't awhether jonathan stewart, off ozzie whitaker, or the wide receiver famarc: ok, the player that will have the biggest impact nobody isbrad: i'm going to break this down, too, we will do this together. nicknames are ok, right? marc: i guess so. brad: i'm going withtwo, i'm cheating. the first is fun fun. i think: short c --olon short will get after carson palmer.
i think he is another big game. i think his first play from scrimmage last week, that 59 yard run set the tone for the offense.i think jonathan stewart has a big game and needs to have a: rushed for over 100 yards last week against the seahawks.the cold weather favors -- i think we are together on this.i think old weather favors the panthers. i don't think it'they play in a dome in arizona. marc: there were decades where warm weather teams could not going to cold weather situations and won a playoff game.it would be the early 2000's before a warm weather team won in under 40 degree weather, michael vick with the eagles. brad: final score for the game? marc: does that mean we have to pick a winner? brad: of course.
marc: go ahead. brad: 37-24 panthers. marc: i have 35-31 panthers. i have a hard time believing this will not exports towards a high score since we are talking abe two top offenses. brad: it has been a lively week in the locker room. it was muscle before media for josh norman. media means a locker room sound check.
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brad: welcome back to our "panthers playoff special." open mic in an open locker room is reality tv. here is the best of the best. here is the locker room sound check. >> really, i'm ready for this game to start. >> we have a chance right now in front of our home crowd to punch our ticket to the super bowl, but it's not going to happen >> we are still not afraid of the panthers. . >> we are just trying to execute, get everything in order, and have the proper protection on our head.>> we have to step out and play, regardless of a championship game or not.
like a hair in my aface. >> it was chalked out already, like we were erased. >> where is he going? brad: you have to love that. marc: the end was the best, were you going? brad: we have all done that. the cardinals and panthers produced more points than any other temarc: they are the only two teams the league that average more than 30 points per game for arizona gains a few more yards per game, but that is splitting hairs when you talk about the league's top two offensive units. think this game is going to be high-scoring, but maybe not. the cardinals and panthers both rank near the top of the league
>> numerous guys in the secondary, when the ball is in the air, they are not trying to bat it down. they are trying to create turnovers. pressure looks. marc: it's remarkable, especially with carolina. so many people think of their defense first, but this has been a potent offensive unit.brad: they have been explosive. coached by ron rivera, built from defense to special teams and ofthat is how they drafted and built the football team. but to think that a ron rivera-coach team is the best offense in the league scoring-wise is something to behold. it's because of the weapons in the x factors. marc: when you talk up the x factor, cam newton, you're talking about his ability to throw the football and run the footbathe thing we have seen the last two seasons is him having a
go and when he needs to stay in the pocket. his rookie year, his second season in the league, he had this thought, have to prove him a pocket passer, so he was hesitant to take off. you don't see that anymohe seems to know what to go. brad: carson palmer, the way he has revived his career, is incredible. he was left for dead in cincinnati. the bengals cast him off. with the injury he goes to oakland. nah, kind of, sort of gets healthy. marc: it's the raiders. brad: all he did was get healthy. he is stepped into arizona and has been of been what kurt warner was when he got to arizona. it's phenomenal to see what has happened. they have a ton of weapons, wide receivers all over the field. people think larry fitzgerald is done, and he's not. i don't know if they cbmarc: you talk about carson palmer, the other thing you have
nfl, he has one win in the postseason, and that was last week. that was a strange ending with the hail mary in the overtimhe has little playoff experience, only one playoff win. this game tomorrow may turn on carson palmer. brad: two explosive offenses. football is a game of numbers. we like to find fun wants to talk about.
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marc: welcome back to "panthers playoff special." it's time to go by the numbers come up secure figures that at little color to the cobrad: fair warning, he likes to cook these up. our first number is the number one. seems appropriate. it is the jersey number of cam newton. he has picked up one m.v.p. award from the pro football writers of america. he will pick up one more february 6, when the league names its most if we can extend one to first, the panthers are preparing to host the nfc championship game for the first time in franchisemarc: the unlucky 13 represents the number of nfl franchises the cardinals and panthers are both on that list. brad: and they both made it to the big game. they just not won it.
will get an opportunity to play themselves off that list of te never won the super bowl. marc: the next number, 3654, a decade of days, the number of days since the panthers last played for the nfc chajanuary 22, 2005, the panthers play the seahawks for the right to g: seattle won that game. it has taken 3645 days for the panthers to return to the conference champiothe decade-long drought ends tomorrow night when the carolina panthers and arizona cardinals squimarc: coast, stadium to stadium, it is 2681 miles from bank of america stadium in charlotte to a clara, california, the site of super bowl 50. it's a trip the panthers will gladly make if they can get past the cardinals. 2681 miles is a short distance
brad: we will be traveling those 2681 miles if they go. we google mapped the trip. a little over 40 hours by car. marc: road brad: we suggest jumping on the airplane. marc: sunday's match up his historical between heisman : this is fascinating. for the first time in nfl will square ercarson palmer won the heisman trophy in 2002 after his senior season at southern cal, the fifth trojan to win college football's top individual honor. marc: cam newton won the heisman in 2010, guiding the auburn tigers to the nanaonal championnew was unstoppable during his onlyeason, accounting for more than 50 touchdowns and one of
in college fooorcardinals-panthers, newton-palmer, heisman-heisman, sunday evening when ariz meet in the champion ship game. brad: neither wanted to talk about that. coming up, the final word from the two men who have their teams for quarters from super bowl 50. we'll hear from the coaches in a few minutes. another day, and i'm still struggling with my diabetes. i do my best to manage.
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marc: welcome back to our "panthers playoff special." we are getting you set for the nfc championship game. a are taking the next step to get bank of america stadium ready. they have clear the snow frothe tarp is still on the field. a will take the tarp often a, let the field breed, and continue preparations. good news, the snow is gone from the inside of bank of americit has been a wild couple days in charlotte. brad: three inches of snow and ice. you expect that in green bay and new york, charlotte, north carolina, not so much. met bloomberg, charlotte, still under the winter weatheradvisory. it is not for what is going to fall but what is already falling and re-freezing. the winter w advisory is all the way back down i-85, spartanburg and greenville countyif you are traveling that weight will be cold. there is the chance of black ice on the roadways.
into the overnight, freezing temperatures for about 15 hours. because of that, that allows the d will get icy lalaan hold off until 10:00, that is probably the best to avoid the slick roadways. low temperatures tonight will be frigid, especially the mountains in the teens. 26 greenville. we want to talk to the tailgate forecast. it will be some diehards. marc: this may be the most important information. chris: 36 degrees to start the game, 30 to end it, but a lot of people will be out there early. i will be here, not tailgating. if you brave enough, 10:00, 26 degrees, 1:00 36. 42 high. marc: i'm liking that. chris: then it gets cool again as soon as the sun goes down.but we are given the advantage
they have played in this together. arizona has, too, but they have the comfy dome. marc: this is the later game, so people do not have to ruru to chthey can wait a little bit and still a plenty of time to tailgating get rchris: absolutely. bundle up if you're heading that way. marc: brad? brad: the coaches in this game are two of the best. ron rivera and bruce arians have both built championship games, but only one of them will be coaching in the super bowl two weeks from tomorrow. he's two teams met in the playoffs a year ago, but ron rivera says it's not a rematch. a final word on what this is all about from the guys running thcoach: the same type of offense, similar personal, but they are different. it is really about what they do and how they do it. coach: i would think that cam is at the level now that he has been in some shootouts in new
brad: stopping cam newton will be key for the cardinals. here is the lineup for championship sunday, the afc kicking off just after 3:00 tomorrow afterthe new england patriots against the denver broncos, followed by e game at bank of america stadium, the euros on a cardinals, -- the arizona cardinals, the carolina panthers, 6:40 kick off in charlotte. this will be a fantastic game the place will be rockinit was packed. it was that way a week ago. i expect panthers fans to show up in full force. marc: as many times as this franchise has been to the nfc championship game, they have never hosted the championship game. you have to think that charlotte will be very alive tomor you will probably feel that energy as soon as you get to the stadium. brad: no question, and a chance to celebrate going to the super bowl with a panthers win.