Jaime Moreno and Luis Moreno Jr. may be enjoying the Carolina Panthers’ 15-1 season more than anyone.
After six years and 120+ broadcasts as the Spanish-language radio broadcast team for the Panthers, Jaime and Luis have seen their big play calls shared on social media channels all season. Some have even landed on TV. Cam Newton’s flipping touchdown in the second week of the season against the Houston Texans saw over 1.1 million views across online platforms, and even landed them on ESPN.
“That play opened the door for us,” Jaime said.
Jaime, who does the play-by-play, and his nephew Luis, the analyst, are both native to Mexico. Jaime played college football in Mexico, then ended up in Charlotte, where he began covering the Panthers during the team’s inaugural season.
Luis moved here in 1992 from Mexico City, attended Charlotte Catholic High School, where he lettered all four years in football, and got his start in Spanish-language sports radio in 2006. “Jaime introduced the sport to me,” said Luis, adding that his uncle got him into football because they used to play football video games together. “It’s ironic we’re working together 30 years later.”
Their radio broadcasts can be heard locally on Latina 102.3 FM, as well as on Spanish-language radio stations in Columbia, Greensboro, Raleigh and two states in Mexico, a number that will increase next season. A mobile app gives fans all over the world an opportunity to listen to the broadcasts.
Social media has given Jaime and Luis the chance to connect with these people as well. It’s special to hear from not only fans in Mexico, but from Spanish-speaking fans in Europe, or even Australia. “We are the bridge between the Panthers and the Hispanic community,” said Jaime. “That’s the mindset we have in everything we do.”
The arrival of Panthers team president Danny Morrison in 2009 gave Jaime and Luis the opportunity to start working with the team. Morrison had helped bring about something similar during his time at Texas Christian University, and he brought the idea to the Panthers.
Morrison and the team believed in the duo. When asked who is most responsible for the success of the broadcasts this season and the increase in popularity, Jaime mentions three people: Coach Ron Rivera, Quarterback Cam Newton, and Morrison. With the success of those three comes the success of Jaime and Luis. “It’s about timing, there’s a correlation,” said Luis. “We’re starting to see people becoming fans of their local team, both in the Hispanic and non-Hispanic market.”
It’s one thing to have a captive audience or a team that has embraced what Jaime and Luis do, it’s another for the two in the booth to deliver week after week. Their best work has come during the Panthers’ biggest moments. Said Luis: “The beauty of this game is that all preparation goes out the window as soon as the game is played.”
Take, for instance, his call after Graham Gano kicked a 52-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Indianapolis Colts in November. Luis screamed, “¡GANO LO GANÓ!,” which translates to “Gano won it!” in English. It works in Spanish, and Luis knew he had something. It took off.
The passion heard in so many of those moments this season comes from a history of playing the sport as well as the passion Jaime and Luis’ native Mexico has for soccer. They know their audience is soccer-oriented, and that comes out in their broadcasts. Never was it more apparent than in a call from 2013 when the Panthers defeated the New Orleans Saints to clinch their first playoff berth since the 2008 season.
If you’re counting, Jaime screams “touchdown” 19 times before mentioning Domenik Hixon. “Whatever I do, I do it the best I can, and I do it with a connection to my heart,” said Jaime. “That’s where it comes from.”
Jaime and Luis have at least one game left to call this season from their studio at Bank of America Stadium. They’ll prepare for their next broadcast this week, just like they always do. They’ll keep enjoying the ride until it’s over, whether that ride ends here in Charlotte or in Santa Clara at Super Bowl 50.
Until then, Jaime will throw in his signature, “Good-good-good, pretty good-pretty good-pretty good, very-very-very good!” after a big score.
They’ll call the players by the nicknames they have given them, like Josh Norman, Bandolero, and Thomas Davis, El Capitán.
“We’re no better or worse than other announcers,” said Jaime. “We’re just different.”