This is the Panthers’ 14th season, but Charlotte is still Redskins country, sort of. Driving in the neighborhood surrounding Bank of America Stadium, I saw fans wearing the jerseys of Sonny Jurgensen, Clinton Portis and Jason Campbell among others.
It’s hard to remember now, but the South used to belong to the Redskins before the NFL expanded to Atlanta in 1966, New Orleans in 1967 and then to Charlotte and Jacksonville in 1995. Redskins games were broadcast on radio and then on television for decades. Those audiences were a factor in Redskins owner George Preston Marshall declining to hire a black player until ordered to do so by the federal government in 1962 since D.C. Stadium — later RFK — was built on government land.
The Redskins are 8-4 against the Panthers, 7-1 in the regular season, 1-3 in preseason. Washington is 2-1 in Charlotte in the regular season, 1-2 in the preseason.
The most memorable moment of those six trips to Charlotte was the first one and it didn’t occur on the field. It happened the night before the 1997 opener in the hotel. I was in the bar with Duce from The Virginian-Pilot and my college buddies, the Ming and the Schmev when the TV suddenly blared with the news that Princess Diana had been seriously injured in a car crash in Paris. Of course, she would soon die from those injuries.
— David Elfin