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London Calling: Panthers Headed Across The Pond

Carolina will face Tampa Bay in London in 2019

Jason Huber
January 21, 2019 - 11:27 am

The Carolina Panthers are headed to London for the first time in franchise history to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I’ve had the chance to play and coach in London before and those were unbelievable experiences," head coach Ron Rivera said.

The team will become the 31st NFL team to play in London since international games began in 2007.

Rivera played in London with the Chicago Bears in the 1986 preseason and coached in London with the then-San Diego 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," Rivera said.

The matchup between NFC South rival Tampa Bay will be an away game for the Panthers, meaning Carolina will still have all eight home games.

There are five scheduled games set to take place overseas next season, with four of the games in the United Kingdom. 

Two of the UK games will be played at Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium, with two at Wembley Stadium. The dates and venues will be announced in the spring. 

The Kansas City Chiefs and Chargers will play in Mexico. 

It'll be a homecoming for Panthers defensive end Efe Obada, who joined the team through the NFL's International Pathway Program in 2017. 

Obada would become the first player from the program to play in the city he grew up in if he makes the team's 53-man roster again. 

Born in Nigeria, Obada was open last season about how he and his sister were victims of human trafficking in London. 

"It’s amazing to hear the Panthers are going to play in London," Obada said. "One of the goals I set, beyond making the roster, was 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."

Last year, the Panthers traveled the fewest total miles in franchise history in a season at approximately 4,060, while in 2019, they will travel the most miles in franchise history in a season at approximately 11,022.

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