In north Charlotte, 7-year old Dane Howard turned an iPad toward the TV so his dad could see.
It was 3 a.m. in the Middle East, where his father, Mick MacDonald, has been deployed for close to a year with a National Guard unit, but they weren’t going to miss the chance to cheer the Panthers on together.
“Are you excited?” MacDonald asked Dane, a second-grader who said his favorite player is Thomas Davis, because he didn’t let a broken arm stop him.
“Yeah,” said Dane. His dad asked if the Panthers were going to win. Behind him, in fuzzy pixels, other soldiers milled about, one in a Luke Kuechly jersey.
“Yeah. 24-14, Panthers,” Dane predicted. He said he wanted the Panthers to score so he could dab. “You gotta keep pounding!”
As the Broncos scored the first field goal, Dane and MacDonald talked about how late it was and how MacDonald had to get ready for duty in an hour.
“I miss you,” said MacDonald.
“I miss you too,” said Dane.