CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It was a procession fit for Champions. Fans lined Morehead Road in Charlotte as the Panthers made their way to the airport bound for California a week ahead of Super Bowl 50.
The Panthers faithful showed up early and were loud to cheer on their NFC Champions. There's no way the team was not going to feel the crowd's love and enthusiasm.
"It's insane. I've never seen this many fans in my life," said Panthers fan Tammi Carr.
The environment around the stadium was electric and the masses cheered as their favorite players rolled in to Bank of America Stadium's staff parking lot. And even louder when the buses carrying the team emerged through the security gates.
"This is amazing. I'm so glad I woke up early on a Sunday to be out here today cheering these guys on," said Jessica Digiovanni, another Panthers fan at Sunday's send-off.
A few players took time to speak with members of the media before the team's departure. They said the support from the fans had been great.
"I mean the city of Charlotte, the whole entire Carolina community's been awesome and they've been a big part of our success this year," said Panthers center Ryan Kalil.
Five charter buses were used to transport the team and staff to the airport and departed the stadium around 1:00 p.m.
Through social media posts the team took the world into the locker room and buses, giving fans a peek at what they were experiencing Sunday afternoon.
Earlier Sunday morning, Head Coach Ron Rivera was sent off by his neighbors who lined his path out of his gated subdivision.
Neighbors dressed in Panthers blue and black held signs and cheered as the coach drove by. They even decorated the entrance to the neighborhood to say "Keep Pounding".
The team has been practicing and making travel arrangements all week for their trip out west. It all comes down to Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.