Longtime Redskins fans in North Carolina rejoicing with win over Panthers

It’s been 25 years now since the Panthers presence in Charlotte took the Redskins off TV in North Carolina. Social media took off with vigor as Redskins’ fans in North Carolina rejoiced and blew off some steam following the Redskins 29-21 win over the Panthers in Charlotte. For those of you newer to the Triangle area, you might not know about the history of the Redskins in North Carolina. The Redskins were on local radio for more than 50 years and on each week on local TV for more than 30 years. In addition, Redskins players used to make appearances […]

It’s been 25 years now since the Panthers presence in Charlotte took the Redskins off TV in North Carolina.

Social media took off with vigor as Redskins’ fans in North Carolina rejoiced and blew off some steam following the Redskins 29-21 win over the Panthers in Charlotte.

For those of you newer to the Triangle area, you might not know about the history of the Redskins in North Carolina. The Redskins were on local radio for more than 50 years and on each week on local TV for more than 30 years.

In addition, Redskins players used to make appearances in North Carolina during the offseason to sign autographs and help sell cars at dealerships, for instance. Many people don’t know that the words to the fight song originally ended with “Fight for Old Dixie” and not “Fight for Old DC.” The Redskins were The Team of the South before there were Falcons, Dolphins, Bucs, Jaguars or Panthers.

The NFL and the Redskins cultivated North Carolina as Redskins country. Not only were the games on local TV, trains and buses were chartered to take Redskins fans in North Carolina to the games.

Each year there used to be a “North Carolina Day” in Washington where a high school band from NC played at halftime of a game and the governor of North Carolina was in attendance. Those on each team from North Carolina were singled out and photographed together.

The people bringing the Panthers to Charlotte lobbied the NFL to have exhibition games featuring the Redskins to prove North Carolina would support a team (they had historically supported the Redskins for sure). The games were successful and Charlotte was awarded a team.

They specifically named the team “Carolina” instead of “Charlotte” in order to stake a claim to fans throughout the wide state of North Carolina and all of South Carolina as well.

They also fought to be placed in the NFC rather than the AFC because, in part, they knew if Redskins fans could continue to watch their team on another over-the-air station, their ratings would suffer.

Had they put Charlotte in the AFC, which perhaps they should have, Redskins’ fans could root for the Panthers and vice versa. But they wanted to kill out Redskins’ fans. A radio station, which was tied to the TV station airing NFC games, even held a bonfire and gave Panthers t-shirts and jerseys to (former) Redskins’ fans who would burn their Redskins’ items in the bonfire.

They didn’t kill the Redskins fans out – although the teams’ woes have taken their toll.

Still, a DirecTV study a few years ago listed the Raleigh/Durham area as having more Redskins fans than any other market in the country (outside the DC market of course). Many older fans stayed true to the Redskins while their children grew up as Redskins’ fans. With a more mobile society and North Carolina a popular destination, many people have also moved down from Virginia, Maryland and D.C.

Redskins’ fans haven’t had a lot to cheer about but, but considering the history, there is some satisfaction that the Redskins beat Charlotte’s Panthers – and they got to watch it on regular TV right here in what they still deem Redskins’ Country.
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