|Established 1993 |
Play in Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina
|Team colors||Black, Panther Blue, Silver, White
|General manager||Marty Hurney|
|Head coach||Matt Rhule|
|League championships (0)
|Conference championships (1)
|Division championships (3)
The Carolina Panthers are a professional American football team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are the current members of the South Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Panthers, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, joined the NFL as expansion teams in 1995. In their existence, the Panthers have compiled a record of 125–141, and appeared in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, Texas, when they played the New England Patriots.
In December 15, 1987, shortly after it was decided that Charlotte would receive an expansion National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise (the Charlotte Hornets, now known as the New Orleans Hornets), former Baltimore Colts player Jerry Richardson met with a group of potential backers to discuss the possibility of bringing an NFL expansion team to the Carolinas region.
In 1992, the NFL released the list of 5 areas open to a potential NFL football team: Baltimore, MD; St. Louis, MO; Memphis, TN; Jacksonville, FL; and the Carolinas, represented by Charlotte, NC. After the vote was delayed, because of a dispute between the players and the football league, the race began again in 1993. In June, Richardson Sports announced that they would finance the stadium through the sale of Permanent Seat Licenses, club seats, and luxury boxes. In a stunning show of fan support, all seats were sold out by the end of the first day.
On October 26, 1993, the league announced that the owners had unanimously voted for the Carolinas to receive the 29th franchise, the first new NFL team since 1976 (Jacksonville was named the 30th team a month later). Fans all over the region celebrated with the fireworks display show. In a memorable moment, during the expansion announcement conference, Richardson spoke directly into the camera to thank 40,000 people who had purchased the PSLs and allowing the stadium to be built without a burden to the taxpayers.
Dom Capers era: 1995–1998
The Panthers signed Dom Capers, former defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as their inaugural head coach. In their inaugural season, he led the Carolina Panthers to a 7–9 record, setting a record for the most victories by an expansion team. The following season, Capers led the team to a record of 12–4 and a division title; they advanced to the Conference Championship, but fell to the Packers 30–13, who went on to win the Super Bowl. After the Panthers success in 1996, Capers led the Panthers through two disappointing seasons: a 7–9 season in 1997, and a 4–12 season in 1998; this resulted in Capers being fired after 4 seasons with the team. During his career with the Panthers, Capers finished with an overall record of 31–35 (including the playoffs) and one division title.
George Seifert era: 1999–2001
After Dom Capers was let go following the previous season, George Seifert was hired as the second head coach in Carolina Panthers history. In his first season with the team, Seifert helped the Panthers improve 4 games to finish the season with a record of 8–8. He then led the team to a 7–9 record the following year, before leading the Panthers to their worst record in franchise history. In 2001, the Panthers won their season opener 24–13 over the Vikings, but set an NFL record by losing 15 consecutive games to finish the season 1–15. Seifert was fired shortly after the season ended, finishing with an overall record of 16–32 as head coach of the Panthers.
John Fox era: 2002–2010
After George Seifert was fired following the disastrous 2001 season, the Panthers hired New York Giants defensive coordinator John Fox as the team's third head coach. Fox was known for defensive discipline and it would be needed to improve a team that had finished in the bottom of the defensive rankings the previous year.
In 2002, Fox's defense-first philosophy worked well as the Panthers improved to 7–9 (a six-game improvement over the previous year) and posted the second-best overall defense in the league after having the second-worst the previous season. In the 2003 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Panthers were losing 17–0. Jake Delhomme replaced Rodney Peete at quarterback by halftime, then led the Panthers to a fourth quarter comeback, thus winning the starting job. Delhomme eventually led the team to an 11–5 record, the NFC South Division title and a playoff berth.
In the NFL playoffs, they easily defeated the Cowboys in the wild-card round before facing the St. Louis Rams in the divisional round. Carolina had an 11-point lead in the last 3 minutes of play, but the Rams tied the game and sent it to overtime. In the first play of the 2nd overtime, Jake Delhomme hit Wide receiver Steve Smith with a 69-yard touchdown pass to win the game 29–23. In the NFC Championship game, the Panthers faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Panthers shut down the Eagles offense and, with a victory, headed to their first Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. The multiple close games, won either in overtime and/or with a slim margin, gave way to a new nickname for the Panthers: the "Cardiac Cats." In the end, the Panthers fell 32–29 to the Patriots in the Super Bowl XXXVIII.
In 2004, the Panthers have suffered major injuries early on, and the Panthers finished the season 7–9. In 2005, however, the Panthers finished 11–5, securing themselves the NFC's #5 seed. They began their post-season play by shutting out the Giants 23–0. They then defeated the Bears 29–21 in the Divisional playoffs, before falling to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship, losing 34–14.
After finishing the 2006 and 2007 seasons with records of 8–8 and 7–9, respectively, the Panthers rebounded in the 2008 season, finishing the season with a 12–4 record, claiming the NFC South title and a first round bye in the playoffs. However, on the Panthers' season came to a disappointing end, as they lost to the Arizona Cardinals 33–13 at Bank of America Stadium in the NFC Divisional playoff game. The Panthers' offense was plagued by Quarterback Jake Delhomme's 6 turnovers (5 interceptions and a fumble).
In 2009, the Panthers finished with an 8–8 record, before finishing 2010 with a disappointing record of 2–14; following the 2010 season, Jerry Richardson decided not to re-sign John Fox, whose contract had expired. After nine seasons with the Panthers, Fox finished with a record of 78–74 (including the playoffs), two division titles, and one Conference Championship.
Ron Rivera era: 2011–present
After a disappointing 2010 season, John Fox's contract was not renewed and most of his coaching staff were let go. Shortly after, the Panthers hired Ron Rivera as the 4th head coach in Carolina Panthers history. Rivera was previously the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and the San Diego Chargers before being hired by the Panthers.
Logos and uniforms
The Panthers logo consists of the head of a black panther outlined in blue. It is shaped to resemble the combined borders of North and South Carolina. The helmets are silver, and in 2003, they changed the helmet color slightly to a more metallic shade. The team normally wears silver pants with their black jerseys, and white pants with their white jerseys. Both the black and the white jerseys have blue stripes over the shoulders. The team introduced an alternate jersey in 2002 that is blue with black shoulder stripes. Carolina debuted the alternate light blue jersey for one game at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002. The alternate jersey has been worn twice a season beginning in 2003. The Panthers have worn the light blue jersey a few times on the road when the home team has chosen to wear white due to the heat, as the light blue uniforms are more comfortable in the heat than black. Carolina prefers to not wear black when the temperature is hot and/or not mild enough. With the league rules permitting teams to wear their third jersey twice in the regular season and once in the pre-season, the Panthers reserve the use of their alternate light blue jersey for a home game when there is one and/or two games that they don't wear them on the road.
Like many other NFL teams located in temperate climates, the Carolina Panthers traditionally wear their white jerseys at home during the first half of the season — forcing opponents to wear their dark ones under the warm autumns in Charlotte. When it gets to the second half of the season, the Panthers will start to wear their colored jerseys for home games as the temperatures will be more milder.
The team's uniforms prompted a 2003 lawsuit by the Oakland Raiders, who claimed that the NFL and the Panthers had infringed upon key trademark elements of the Raiders' brand, specifically the silver and black colors. In the same suit, the Raiders challenged the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1997 uniform design, including the pirate logo. The Raiders wanted the courts to bar the Buccaneers and Panthers from wearing their uniforms while playing in California. However, since the lawsuit was filed in a state California court, the lawsuit was tossed out, because only federal courts have jurisdiction over intellectual property issues. The Raiders have yet to appeal the ruling.
The Panthers have played in 10 post-season games, wearing the white jerseys in all, but their most recent playoff game. Two of those games were at home against the Dallas Cowboys, making the Cowboys wear their "unlucky" road navy-blue jerseys, as the Cowboys are one of three teams who routinely wear their white uniforms at home.
The rivalry with the Atlanta Falcons began in the first season of the franchise when both teams were members of the NFC West. Carolina played Atlanta in its first ever game, losing 23-20 in overtime. From 1998 to 2002, Atlanta dominated the series, winning 9 out of 10 games, including 6 straight from 2000 to 2002. The rivalry has been much more competitive since then, with both teams being split at 7 wins since 2003. As both teams are located on I-85, travel is relatively easy between home and away games. Atlanta currently leads the series 18-12.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Although the Carolina Panthers first played at Tampa Bay in 1995, their rivalry did not start until 2003, when Brentson Buckner claimed Kris Jenkins was the best defensive tackle in football, angering Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Since then, the rivalry is known for its trash talking and occasional timeout fights. Notably, Carolina defensive lineman Kavika Pittman essentially had his career ended after getting leveled by a block from the Bucs' Kenyatta Walker,. Also, in 2006, Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms lost his spleen on a hit, and in 2009 Carolina cornerback Dante Wesley laid into punt returner Clifton Smith before he had caught the ball, knocking Smith out and getting Wesley ejected. There were some disputes also between Bucs former kicker Martin Gramatica and Panthers former punter Todd Sauerbrun. Carolina currently leads the series 10-7.
New Orleans Saints
Carolina also maintains a rivalry with New Orleans Saints, with both teams playing in the NFC South division. Carolina currently leads the series 17-15. Former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme was a backup in New Orleans before signing with Carolina in 2003.
Outside the division, the Panthers biggest rivals are the Dallas Cowboys. In both 1996 and 2003, the Panthers were responsible for eliminating the Cowboys in the playoffs. In a key game late in the 2005 season, Steve Smith was ejected for touching an official. Late in the game, a blocked field-goal was reversed by a suspicious penalty and Dallas scored the winning touchdown two plays later. This late-season loss kept Carolina from winning the division and forced them to enter the playoffs as a wild card team. Dallas leads the series 8-3, with Carolina being 2-0 in the playoffs, but only 1-8 in regular-season games against Dallas.
Carolina had several rivalries within the NFC West from 1995 to 2001, before Carolina moved to the NFC South in 2002. Due to current NFL scheduling, Carolina has infrequently played many of their former division rivals, and the rivalries have thus dulled.
St. Louis Rams
Carolina had a rivalry with St. Louis during their time in the NFC West, but since moving to the NFC South in 2002, the rivalry has faded. It is most known perhaps, for the 2003 Divisional Playoffs matchup between the two teams, which Carolina won 29-23 in double overtime. Carolina leads the series 11-7, with a 1-0 lead in the playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers
Carolina was the rival of San Francisco 49ers when they were in the NFC West together. Former San Francisco coach George Seifert also coached the team from 1999-2001. They no longer maintain a rivalry, as Carolina was moved to the NFC South in 2002, and the two have played rarely since then. Carolina currently leads the series 9-7.
Carolina Panthers draft history
Single Season Records
Players of note
Carolina Panthers current roster
Rookies in italics
AFC rosters → NFC rosters
- Michael Bates - 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
- Kerry Collins - 1996
- Eric Davis - 1996
- Kevin Greene - 1996, 1998
- John Kasay - 1996
- Lamar Lathon - 1996
- Sam Mills - 1996
- Wesley Walls - 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
- Steve Beuerlein - 1999
- Muhsin Muhammad - 1999, 2004
- Todd Sauerbrun - 2001, 2003
- Steve Smith - 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
- Kris Jenkins - 2002, 2003, 2006
- Stephen Davis - 2003
- Mike Rucker - 2003
- Mark Fields - 2004
- Dan Morgan - 2004
- Julius Peppers - 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009
- Jake Delhomme - 2005
- Mike Wahle - 2005
- Jon Beason - 2008, 2009, 2010
- Jordan Gross - 2008, 2010
- Ryan Kalil - 2009, 2010
- DeAngelo Williams - 2009
Hall of Honor
The Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor was established in September 21, 1997 to honor individuals for their contributions to the Carolina Panthers franchise.
|Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor|
|Name||Position(s)||Date of Induction|
|Mike McCormack||Executive Consultant, General Manager, President||September 21, 1997|
|Sam Mills||Linebacker, Coach||September 27, 1998|
|PSL Owners||n/a||September 13, 2004|
Pro Football Hall of Famers
- Reggie White - Played for the Panthers during the 2000 NFL Season, inducted in 2006
10th anniversary team
- Source: 10 Year Anniversary, Panthers.com (URL last accessed December 26, 2008)
- Quarterback - Jake Delhomme
- Running Back - Stephen Davis
- Fullback - Brad Hoover
- Wide Receiver - Muhsin Muhammad
- Wide Receiver - Steve Smith
- Center - Jeff Mitchell
- Tackle - Jordan Gross
- Tackle - Todd Steussie
- Guard - Kevin Donnalley
- Guard - Jeno James
- Tight End - Wesley Walls
- Defensive End - Julius Peppers
- Defensive End - Mike Rucker
- Defensive Tackle - Brentson Buckner
- Defensive Tackle - Kris Jenkins
- Linebacker - Kevin Greene
- Linebacker - Sam Mills
- Linebacker - Dan Morgan
- Cornerback - Eric Davis
- Cornerback - Tyrone Poole
- Free Safety - Chad Cota
- Strong Safety - Mike Minter
Coaches of note
|Dom Capers||1995 –1998||31||35||0||.470||1–1|
- Joe Pendry (1995–1997)
- Gil Haskell (1998–1999)
- Bill Musgrave (2000)
- Richard Williamson (2001)
- Dan Henning (2002–2006)
- Jeff Davidson (2007–2010)
- Rob Chudzinski (2011-Present)
- Vic Fangio (1995–1998)
- John Marshall (1999–2001)
- Jack Del Rio (2002)
- Mike Trgovac (2003–2008)
- Ron Meeks (2009–2010)
- Sean McDermott (2011-Present)
Carolina Panthers staff
|AFC East: BUF · MIA · NE · NYJ • North: BAL · CIN · CLE · PIT • South: HOU · IND · JAC · TEN • West: DEN · KC · OAK · SD|
NFC East: DAL · NYG · PHI · WAS • North: CHI · DET · GB · MIN • South: ATL · CAR · NO · TB • West: ARI · STL · SF · SEA
When the Carolina Panthers started in 1995, fans would sing the official Carolina Panther Fight Song "Stand and Cheer" (composed by Duane Evans) every time the team would score a touchdown and/or a field goal. As the first season was played at Clemson University, many fans felt that the song was reminiscent of the collegiate atmosphere those football games had.
The fight song only lasted a few years before being officially retired. Officials with the Panthers organization said that they received a large number of fan complaints regarding the fight song. The fight song was revived, although in an abbreviated version, during the first pre-season game of 2006. It was used throughout the remainder of the season. Currently, "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond is played and sung by fans after every home victory.
Growl Towel (called the "Prowl Towel" from 1996–1997) is the nickname adopted by fans that refers to small, terry-cloth towels that are waved or spun in the air during Panthers home games. The towels are similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers' Terrible Towel, but are in Panthers team colors (also white in more recent years).
Radio and television
The Panthers' flagship radio stations are WBT in Charlotte and WBT-FM in Chester, S.C. The announcing team consists of Mick Mixon, Eugene Robinson and Jim Szoke. Most preseason and regular season games are locally broadcast by Charlotte's Fox affiliate, WCCB channel 18. The exceptions are when one of their preseason games gets nationally televised on a network other than Fox, in the regular season when they host an AFC team in the afternoon (in which case the game would be on WBTV, the CBS affiliate), or when one of their regular season games is in primetime.
Notes and references
- "Carolina Panthers fire Coach John Fox", LA Times. December 31, 2010.
- Carolina Panthers (1995-Present)
- Helmets, Helmets, Helmets
- Sports: Bucs free to use pirate logo after Raiders suit is tossed
- Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor
- "NFL Coach of the Year Award". Hickok Sports. http://www.hickoksports.com/history/nflcoy.shtml. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Panthers.com - Multimedia
- http://shop.panthers.com/officialgrowltowel.aspx Carolina Panthers Official Growl Towl
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