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Dayton Engineer

Cameron Pierson holding football and wearing a Carolina Panthers jersey.

Senior engineering student recognized as Carolina Panthers Fan of the Year

Imagine being a lifelong fan of an NFL team. You go to a summer camp practice to watch the team gear up for a new season. Your mom and sister enter you into a contest while you watch players run drills, realizing there’s thousands of other entries — and then you find out you won.

That’s what happened for senior electrical engineering student Cameron Pierson, this year’s Carolina Panthers Fan of the Year.

“I've been a fan since as long as I can remember,” Pierson, from Salisbury, North Carolina, said, “My mom said I would stare at the TV watching games when I was really young, trying to figure it out.”

From a young age, Pierson was ingrained in all things Carolina Panthers. From watching games on TV to attending in person, he even began analyzing games and learning player stats.

“I'm just like a stat analytics nerd for that kind of stuff,” Pierson said, “I religiously study Panthers stats.”

But it wasn’t just his love for the game that solidified his nomination for fan of the year. Pierson has become an advocate for the welcoming Panthers fan base in foreign areas to the team — including Dayton. He spreads good news about the Panthers to his friends and classmates, showing that they’re a team of goodwill and a friendly spirit.

Each summer, the Carolina Panthers host Fan Fest, a celebration and open practice during summer camp for the team. A QR code displayed on the jumbotron inviting attendees to nominate someone for Fan of the Year, a contest each of the 32 NFL teams puts on each year.

Pierson’s mom and sister said they were going to nominate him.

“We thought nothing of it. We were sure there were thousands of other nominations,” Pierson said.

Later in the fall, his mom got an email from the Panthers asking to chat more about Pierson. A week after that, he gets an email asking to join a video call to talk more about being a finalist.

As Pierson joins the call, he is surprised to see Sam Franklin Jr., Safety for the Panthers, there too to share the good news. He wasn’t just a finalist, he was the winner. 

“It was just so unexpected to me. I wouldn't have thought in a million years that a form nominating me would warrant that,” Pierson said, “I was asking my mom and sister what they put on the form, because there was no way I won. They wrote about my out-of-state college experiences and how I bring Panthers football to people in a different part of the country.”

The next morning, he woke up to a package at his door with a custom jersey, a signed Bryce Young football and other Panthers gear. The Panthers marketing team had set up an impromptu photoshoot for Pierson at UD Arena.

“And the next morning, my photo was on,” Pierson said.

Now that the Super Bowl is coming up, Pierson will be recognized at the NFL Honors event, an annual award ceremony, and will have the chance to win NFL Fan of the Year. He will also be attending the Super Bowl game in Las Vegas.

Although his team won’t be one of the two this year playing for the Lombardi trophy, Pierson is excited for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend.

“My excitement for this opportunity is unimaginable, something I could never even dream of,” Pierson said, “Very few people get such an awesome experience of attending the Super Bowl, and I look forward to spreading the camaraderie of the Panthers fan base to Las Vegas as I have in Dayton. Keep Pounding!”

You can learn more about Pierson and vote online for him for NFL Fan of the Year.

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