Former Panthers Running Back, DeAngelo Williams
(Action Sports Photography / Shutterstock.com)
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Carolina Panthers compete in the National Football Conference (NFC) South Division of the National Football League (NFL). Established in 1993, it played its first season in 1995. The Panthers are controlled by the team’s founder, Jerry Richardson, a former NFL player with the Baltimore Colts who owns 48% of the franchise, the rest being owned by a group of 14 other investors.
The Carolina Panthers play at the Bank of America Stadium in uptown Charlotte and the franchise’s headquarters are there also. The Panthers are one of the few franchises to own the stadium that they play in and are the proud holders of the best first season record for an expansion team. Despite being one of the newer franchises in the NFL, the Panthers have played in two Super Bowls, although they have yet to win one.
- Full Name: Carolina Panthers
- Conference: National Football Conference
- Division: South
- Location: Charlotte
- Stadium Name: Bank of America Stadium
- Year Established: 1993
- Owner: Jerry Richardson
- Head Coach: Ron Rivera
- Manager: Dave Gettleman
- Nickname: The Panthers
- Mascot: Sir Purr
- Team Colours: Panther blue, black, silver, and white
Carolina Panthers vs Cleveland Browns
(Jeff Thrower / Shutterstock.com)
The Carolina Panthers were founded in 1993 by former Baltimore Colts player, Jerry Richardson, and a group of other minor investors. Announced as the league’s 29th franchise team, they played their first season in 1995. This was the most successful first season by an expansion team, the Panthers having a record of 7-9. 1996 was even better, a 12-4 record helping them win the NFC West, eventually losing to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.
The Carolina Panthers failed to live up to their early form over the next few seasons and they had to wait until 2003 for another winning season, where they won the NFC Championship Game 14-3 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Reaching their first ever Super Bowl, the Panthers eventually lost Super Bowl XXXVIII to the New England Patriots 32-29 in a close game.
Although the Panthers reached the playoffs in 2005 and 2008, it took them another five years to reach them again in 2013, which heralded the first of three consecutive NFC South titles. The Panthers lost in the divisional round in 2013 to the San Francisco 49ers and to the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 finally reaching the Super Bowl in the 2015 season in its 50th anniversary year. Unfortunately, in this second appearance at the Super Bowl the Panthers were once again unsuccessful losing to the Denver Broncos 24-10.
Despite being one of the youngest NFL franchises, the Carolina Panthers have a fantastic record. Playing their first season in 1995, to date the Carolina Panthers have won six division titles, have reached the playoffs seven times, played in four NFC Championship Games, and have appeared at two Super Bowls. With a settled ownership and management team, there is every reason to believe that the Carolina Panthers will continue to be a successful NFL team and may even record their first Super Bowl win in the near future.
Super Bowl Appearances
In their relatively short NFL history, the Carolina Panthers have appeared at the Super Bowl on two separate occasions.
2015 Super Bowl 50 Carolina Panthers 10 – Denver Broncos 24
2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, which this was the second time that the Carolina Panthers had appeared with their former Super Bowl appearance being in 2003 where they were beaten by the New England Patriots by 32-29. To many it was a surprise that they made it there as they were without both DeAngelo Williams and Kelvin Benjamin but amazingly they had their best season in regular franchise history.
Played in Santa Clara, California at the San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium, it was the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl and the Carolina Panthers faced the Denver Broncos. Over 71,000 people watched the game commence in the stadium after Lady Gaga sung the national anthem and Joe Montana performed the coin toss. In one of the most defensive Super Bowl matchups of all time, the Denver Broncos eventually won by 24-10, which was watched by over 110 million viewers – the third most watched TV programme in American TV history.
2003 Super Bowl XXXVIII Carolina Panthers 29 – New England Patriots 32
Played at the Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas, home of the Houston Texans, Super Bowl XXXVIII was the first Super Bowl appearance for the Carolina Panthers, coming just eight years after their first NFL season. At the time, this was the most watched Super Bowl ever with over 144 million viewers. After Beyoncé’s performance of the National Anthem, the crowd was treated to one of the most thrilling Super Bowls in history with both the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots playing at their very best.
The Carolina Panthers eventually lost the match 32-29 but the Super Bowl is best known for Janet Jackson’s controversial halftime show in which her breast was accidentally exposed in what can only be described as a ‘wardrobe malfunction’.
Bank of America Stadium (f11photo / Shutterstock.com)
The Carolina Panthers play at the Bank of America Stadium, located in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Previously known as the Panthers Stadium and the Carolinas Stadium during planning and the Ericsson Stadium from 1996-2004, it has a capacity of 75,412 and is also the headquarters of the team. Now known as the Bank of America Stadium after they purchased the naming rights for 20 years back in 2004, fans refer to the stadium as ‘The Vault’ and ‘The BOA’. One of the most unusual and unique stadiums in the NFL, to many it resembles a fortress more than a football stadium.
Hosting home Panthers games since their inception, the stadium has also hosted seven playoff games. Additionally, it has hosted a number of college football games although it is not the home stadium for any college football team. Thanks to its size, the Bank of America Stadium also holds several soccer games, including the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship in 1999 and 2000, a friendly match between Mexico and Iceland, as well several International Champions Cup games, involving such big soccer teams like Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
In addition to sports games, the stadium has hosted a number of sell-out gigs, such as The Rolling Stones during their Bridges to Babylon Tour in 1997 and Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw’s Brothers of the Sun Tour in 1996. Preacher Billy Graham also held a four-day crusade at the stadium in 1996.
Sam Mills (1995-1997)
Sometimes great players have an abundance of talent and some have a great heart. It’s the latter that defined Sam Mills’ career. Others may have had more talent but the sheer heart and passion of Mills made him one of the best and most popular players ever to play for the Carolina Panthers. The fiery line-backer is currently the only playing member of the Panther’s Hall of Honor – a testament to the impact he had on his team.
Steve Smith (2001-2013)
Many considered that Steve Smith was too small to make the NFL but despite his lack of size, Smith became one of the best wide receivers to play in the NFL. A five-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time All-Pro, he, along with Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe are the only players ever to have recorded a ‘triple crown’ of leading the league in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns.
Muhsin Muhammad (1996-2004 and 2008-2009)
Affectionately known as ‘Moose’ by Panthers fans, Muhammad is one of the best loved players ever to wear a Panther’s shirt. The 6 ft 2 wide receiver made a total of 11, 438 receiving yards during his career and 860 receptions and was a 2 x Pro Bowl selection and the NFL Alumni Wide Receiver of the Year in 2004.
Did You Know?
- Although the Panthers only played their first season in 1995, Jerry Richardson – the founder – began driving with the license plate PANTHRS in 1989.
- The Carolina Panthers fight song is ‘Stand and Cheer’, however, it is the Neil Diamond song ‘Sweet Caroline’ that is most commonly played following home wins.
- The Carolina Panthers’ mascot, Sir Purr, visits Levine Children’s hospital every month.
- The Carolina Panthers have a drum line that consists of various drummer and cymbal players. They are known as ‘Purrcussion’.
- The Carolina Panthers are one of the few teams to own their own stadium.
- Celebrity Panthers fans include Brooklyn Decker, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Will Smith.