CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers placekicker Graham Gano didn't think he was going to be a part of NFL history on Sunday when he and the rest of special team players ran through the tunnel for pregame introductions instead of the offense or defense.
"I usually try to go around the tunnel," Gano said after kicking a 63-yard field goal with one second left to give the Panthers a 33-31 victory over the New York Giants. "I don't want to run through it and be in the spotlight like that.
"That was pretty fun, the fire and the smoke. I felt like Cam [Newton] a little bit."
Newton was among a sea of players and coaches thanking Gano after the field goal that tied the record for longest game-winner in league history in addition to setting a franchise record for the longest.
Matt Prater continues to hold the NFL record for longest field goal, a 64-yarder in 2013 for Denver.
"I'm happy that we got a kicker like that," Newton said of Gano. "A wise man once told me a great quarterback is only as good as his kicker. Graham put the whole team on his back. Well, on his toe."
Gano's kick washed away a subpar performance from Newton, who threw two interceptions, and the defense as Carolina improved to 3-1 and tied with New Orleans for the NFC South lead.
The kick also broke the team record for longest field goal in a regular-season game. It previously was a 56-yarder by John Kasay, the first kicker in team history.
Gano had a 58-yarder in the playoffs last season.
"I don't even think it's hit me," Gano said. "I didn't think it was that far when I went out there."
It wasn't the longest kick of Gano's career. He successfully connected from 64 and 65 yards at J.J. Tate High School in Cantonment, Florida. He also had a 71-yarder negated by a penalty in high school.
Gano said the ensuing celebration was "crazy madness."
"I kind of wanted to get away from the swarm of guys, so I took off and started running," he said. "Then I realized there was one second on the clock and I had to kick off."
Coach Ron Rivera, showing little emotion during his postgame press conference, called Gano's game-winner a "piece of cake."
Linebacker Luke Kuechly simply said, "I've seen him kick it before, and it's one of those things."
But that didn't get nearly the reaction of Gano's kick that the former Florida State star celebrated by pointing up and giving a No. 1 sign to his wife as he's done since college.
"I didn't have any cool 'Superman' celebration like Cam," Gano said of Newton, who celebrates touchdowns by pretending to reveal the "S" on his chest. "I just tried to keep it classy."