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London's calling Carolina Panthers in NFL International Series
2019 game vs. Tampa Bay in London
 
Published Monday, January 21, 2019 3:00 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

FILE PHOTO
For the first time in franchise history, the Carolina Panthers will play outside the U.S. when they take on Tampa Bay in London next season.

The Carolina Panthers are going transatlantic in 2019.

They’ll play overseas for the first time in franchise history when they play NFC South rival Tampa Bay in London. The date and location will be announced with the release of the NFL regular season schedule in the spring. Carolina was one of three teams – Green Bay and Houston are the others – to have never played in London as part of the NFL’s International Series, which started in 2007. Houston is also playing there next season.

“I’ve had the chance to play and coach in London before and those were unbelievable experiences,” said Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who played in a preseason game with the Chicago Bears in 1986 and coached there with the Chargers in the 2008 regular season. “The fans are outstanding and they have such fervor for the game. It’s a great opportunity for our franchise and for our players and coaches to get international exposure.”

Three NFL games in London last season averaged over 85,000 fans per game. The league also plays a game in Mexico.

The game has extra significance for Panthers defensive end Efe Obado, who grew up there and is the first player to graduate from the NFL’s international player initiative to an active roster. 

“It’s amazing the Panthers are going to play in London,” he said. “One of my goals, beyond making the roster, has been to play in London, be in front of the English fans and get a sack. It would be coming full circle to be on that field. Now I have to make the team again. It’s added motivation.”

The game is a home date for Tampa Bay, so Carolina will still play eight regular season games at Bank of America Stadium.

The Panthers-Bucs game is one of five international games announced by the NFL, with four in the United Kingdom. In addition to Carolina-Tampa Bay, the other UK games are Chicago-Oakland, Cincinnati-Los Angeles Rams and Houston-Jacksonville. Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers will square off in Mexico City. Two UK games will be played at Tottenham Hotspur’s new 62,062-seat stadium, with the others at 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium, which opened in 2007.

 

 

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