The Carolina Panthers are going to be an interesting football team to watch this season.
But they won’t be more interesting than the new mixed-reality mascot that they have jumping around their stadium in Charlotte.
I’m not going to lie seeing that semi-fake panther jumping all over the place was both incredibly cool and incredibly weird. Every day I’m reminded that the evolution of technology will continue to be one of the scariest things we’ll face in the future.
There should be no reason why I tune into a football game and fear for my safety because of an animated cat. I’m joking, of course, but that cat was pretty lifelike. And if you’re telling me I’m going to have to watch out for fake jungle predators just because a bunch of nerds got fancy with some code, well, forgive me, I’m not signing up for that.
As for the football team, the Panthers are looking pretty solid right now but they are playing the Jets so there’s not much you are going to be able to tell from this game. Quarterback Sam Darnold looks like he’s going to get some much-needed revenge on the team that traded him earlier this year.
We knew this would be a long season for New York because of how inept their roster was with talent. The Panthers are dominating early and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson has failed to engineer any points for his team in the first half of the game. They’ll likely be drafting back in the top five picks again in 2022.
It’ll be fun to see how long the Panthers organization will stick with their augmented-reality feline for their pregame activities. It was a nice surprise to see the animated creature marking its territory.