The Democratic National Convention, culminating with an address from President Barack Obama on Thursday, September 6, already has nudged the first game of the 2012 season forward by a day. The Cowboys and Giants will square off on Wednesday, September 5, in order to avoid the embarrassment that would result from everyone watching the football game and no one watching a political speech.
The convention will have a separate impact on the team that plays at Bank of America Stadium, where Obama’s address will occur. Apart from requesting that they open the season on the road, the Panthers will be hitting the road to practice in advance of their Week One game at Tampa.
According to the team’s official website, the Panthers will practice at IMG Academies in Bradenton. The facility is an hour south of Tampa.
“We researched places on the West Coast, Midwest and East Coast in anticipation of the 2012 schedule release,” Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney said. “After the opener at Tampa Bay was announced, we scouted a few places in the Tampa area, and IMG made the most sense. The facility offers the privacy and infrastructure that we need to prepare for the season opener.”
“IMG is a great venue and it will offer us everything we need in our preparation for Tampa Bay,” coach Ron Rivera said. “We could have stayed here in Charlotte, but we see this as a great opportunity to get away, continue to bond as a team and focus on the opener.”
It will be a homecoming, of sorts, for quarterback Cam Newton, who is pictured at IMG Academies in June 2011. The first pick in the 2011 draft worked out there in preparation for and subsequent to the selection process.