Checking out the Carolina Panthers’ game-day scene in Covid-19 era

Checking out the Carolina Panthers’ game-day scene in Covid-19 era
How many ways can we say strange, odd or unusual in this bizarre year? Let’s skip the adjectives and get to what happened at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday afternoon, where the Carolina Panthers beat the Arizona Cardinals, 31-21. (MELISSA KEY/ CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL)

CHARLOTTE — How many ways can we say strange, odd or unusual in this bizarre year? Let’s skip the adjectives and get to what happened at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday afternoon, where the Carolina Panthers beat the Arizona Cardinals, 31-21.

The game and the score were secondary — to CBJ’s Erik Spanberg, anyway. This marked the first time the Panthers played a game in front of their fans in 280 days. The last time before Sunday was on Dec. 29, when the New Orleans Saints pounded the home team, 42-10, in what wound up being the last game of Luke Kuechly’s career. Paid attendance was 72,203.

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A few other things have changed since then, including the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in March. It wiped out the preseason this summer and an executive order by Gov. Roy Cooper kept BofA Stadium and other major venues in North Carolina without crowds until this weekend, including the Panthers' home opener on Sept. 13.

As expected, this was a different sort of football experience. Start with the walk to the stadium.

Read Spanberg’s first-hand account of game day and check out photos inside the stadium here.

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