HomeSportsWATCH: Carolina Panthers’ Giant ‘Mixed-Reality’ Panther is Now the Coolest Pre-Game Tradition in the NFL

WATCH: Carolina Panthers’ Giant ‘Mixed-Reality’ Panther is Now the Coolest Pre-Game Tradition in the NFL

by Suzanne Halliburton
Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

There can be no argument on this. The Carolina Panthers now possess the coolest pre-game introduction in the NFL.

Just watch it. The Carolina Panthers call it a “mixed reality panther.” But it doesn’t matter what it’s called because it’s cool and so very real. The giant feline jumps from the scoreboard to the field and then through the goalposts. He’s growling and his eyes are glowing green. And he’s ripped like a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers.

We know this panther is serious about his football. He grabbed a New York Jets flag in his mouth and took it to the field.

Take a look at this freaky, pre-game introduction. And remember, this Carolina Panther knows who its fans are. So you’re safe, so long as you didn’t cheer for the New York Jets.

With New Pre-Game Intro Carolina Panthers Rocked the Jets

The mixed reality intro surely got the Carolina Panthers pumped for their season opener. How could it not? The Famous Group created the super panther. The company, which specializes in fan experiences, has done work for 13 Super Bowls and the draft as part of its work with the NFL.

Carolina beat the New York Jets, 19-14 to kick off Matt Rhule’s second season as an NFL head coach. Rhule, a native New Yorker, wore an NYFD hat to honor them for the 20th anniversary for 9-11.

The main theme of the game was how new Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold played against the Jets, his old team. The new leader of the Carolina Panthers did well. He completed 24 of his 35 passes for 279 yards. He threw a 57-yard touchdown pass and also rushed for another score.

Plus, running back Christian McCaffrey returned. And you can tell he’s healthy again after missing all but three games last season with a slew of injuries. McCaffrey had 30 touches and gained a total of 187 yards.

“It felt amazing, just to get back out there with the guys and get a win,” the Carolina Panthers star said in his post-game comments.

Mixed Reality Cat Quickly Went Viral

But nationally, the mixed reality panther was getting all the love. The pre-game video tweeted by the Carolina Panthers quickly went viral, with more than 2.3 million views in four hours.

Fans were having fun with the panther on social media. A sampling:

“Panthers’ exec meeting; Exec 1; “We could try to keep Bridgewater..” Exec 2; “orrrrr.. put that money into ..stay with me.. a VIRTUAL PANTHER!” GM; “slams fist on desk* “gimme the damn Panther!”

Another wrote: “so you be like, what’s up Sir Purr?”

There was a Ghost Buster reference. “I’ve seen this movie. Is that Zuul or Vinz Clortho?”

And there were Carolina Panthers fans who thought the technology was old. “Looks like something I played on a PS2 in 2003.”

Of course, there were Black Panther comments. “What in the Wakanda is going on here?!?”

And, someone brought up the #HardRockCat. “This is just like the cat at Hard Rock stadium last night.” Actually, it really wasn’t like the cat from Saturday night. Did you see Miami Hurricane fans save the poor feline from possible death by using an American flag? Check out the story here.

We’re waiting for the next Carolina Panthers home game to see if the giant, mixed reality cat prowls more of the stadium.