The Carolina Panthers had an unlikely opportunity to make the NFL playoffs and now they have another to win the first round. The team beat all of their last four opponents to win the weak NFC South division and made the playoffs, despite a losing record. None of those opponents finished the season with a winning record.


NASCAR's championship race is this weekend. It's the first time the sport will crown its champion using a new playoff system that concludes with a winner-take-all final race.

The new format makes NASCAR's playoffs much more like other pro sports – the emphasis is now on winning rather than just racing consistently. The change has led to more excitement on and off the track, with wrecks, fights and higher TV ratings.

Michael Tomsic

NASCAR is overhauling its playoff system to create a winner-take-all final race. The sport's executives announced the changes Thursday in Charlotte. It'll make NASCAR's postseason simpler and more similar to other professional sports.

Bring On The Playoffs!

Dec 29, 2013
Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer

Cam Newton ran the whole game, so the Panthers’ quarterback wasn’t about to stop Sunday after the Panthers clinched their first division title in five years.

After finishing a TV interview minutes after the 21-20 win against the Atlanta Falcons, Newton ran along the wall of the Georgia Dome, slapping hands with some of the thousands of Panthers’ fans who made the drive down Interstate 85.

Newton worked his way to the visitors locker room, where he was greeted by the blaring notes of “I’m a King” by T.I. and by teammates wearing black “division champions” hats.