Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
Current season
Established 1993
Play in and headquartered in Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina
Carolina Panthers helmet
Carolina Panthers logo
Helmet Logo
League/conference affiliations

National Football League (1995–present)

Current uniform
Team colors Black, Panther Blue, Silver, White


Mascot Sir Purr
Owner(s) Jerry Richardson (48%)
14 others (52%)[1]
President Danny Morrison
General manager Marty Hurney
Head coach Joe Miller
Team history
  • Carolina Panthers (1995–present)
Team nicknames
Cardiac Cats (2003)
League championships (0)
Conference championships (1)
  • NFC: 2003
Division championships (3)
  • NFC West: 1996
  • NFC South: 2003, 2008
Playoff appearances (4)
  • NFL: 1996, 2003, 2005, 2008
Home fields

The Carolina Panthers are a professional American football team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are currently 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 126–145, and appeared in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, Texas.


Franchise history

Origins (1987–1994)

In 1987, shortly after it was decided that Charlotte would receive an expansion National Basketball Association 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 Carolina region.

In 1992, the NFL released the list of five areas open to a potential NFL team: Baltimore, Maryland; St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; Jacksonville, Florida; and the Carolinas, represented by Charlotte. After the vote was delayed because of a dispute between the players and the league, the race began again in 1993. In June of that year, 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 fireworks. In a memorable moment during the expansion announcement conference, Richardson spoke directly into the camera to thank the 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 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 four 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 Panthers history. In his first season with the team, Seifert helped the Panthers improve four 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 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 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 a 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 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 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 six turnovers (five 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.[2] Shortly after, the Panthers hired Ron Rivera as the fourth head coach in Panther history. Rivera was previously the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and the San Diego Chargers before being hired by the Panthers. Fans and commentators have playfully dubbed this the 'Rivera Era.' Rivera plans to win ten or more games in his first year as the Panthers' head coach.[3] The Carolina Panthers selected quarterback Cam Newton as the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.[4]

Logos and uniforms

The Panthers logo consists of the head of a snarling Black panther outlined in blue. It is shaped to resemble the combined borders of North and South Carolina.[5] The helmets are silver, and in 2003, they changed the helmet color slightly to a more metallic shade.[6] 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 not to wear black when the temperature is hot or not mild enough. With the league rules permitting teams to wear their third jersey twice in the regular season and once in the preseason, the Panthers reserve the use of their alternate light blue jersey for a home game when there are one or two games that they don't wear them on the road.

Like many other NFL teams located in temperate climates, the 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 temperatures will be more mild.

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.[7] The Raiders have yet to appeal the ruling.

The Panthers have played in ten postseason 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" home navy-blue jerseys, as the Cowboys are one of three teams who routinely wear their road (white) jerseys at home.


Atlanta Falcons

The rivalry with Atlanta 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. As both teams are located on I-85, travel is relatively easy between home and away games. Atlanta currently leads the series 20-12.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Although Carolina first played 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 defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Since then, the rivalry is known for its trash talking and occasional 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 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 12-9, with the Bucs having won the last two meetings.

New Orleans Saints

Carolina also maintains a rivalry with New Orleans, with both teams playing in the NFC South division. Carolina currently leads the series 17-16. Former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme was a backup in New Orleans before signing with Carolina in 2003. Things got heated in 2011 during a game when Roman Harper shoved Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith after Smith scored a touchdown in the endzone which lead to a fight breaking out between players on both teams.

Dallas Cowboys

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 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 the Cowboys.

Arizona Cardinals

A recent rivalry has developed between the Panthers and Arizona Cardinals. During the 2008 regular season, the Cardinals traveled to play the Panthers and took a 17-3 lead at halftime, but the Panthers rallied in the 3rd and 4th quarters to win. Following the regular season, in which the 12-4 Panthers won their third NFC South division title, they hosted the Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium in the Panthers first home playoff game since January of 2004. Though the Panthers were heavy favorites, the Cardinals won 33-13, intercepting Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme five times. The following season, the Panthers traveled to face the Cardinals and won 34-21 in a game in which the Panthers defense intercepted the Cardinals' Kurt Warner five times as well. The Panthers and Cardinals have played each other every season since 2001 with the lone exception of the 2006 season and are scheduled to play again during the 2011 regular season.

Former rivalries

Carolina had several rivalries within the NFC West from 1995 to 2001, before Carolina moved to the NFC South in 2002. Due to current 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 Playoff matchup between the two teams, which Carolina won 29-23 in double overtime. Carolina leads the series 11-8, with a 1-0 lead in the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers

Carolina was a rival of San Francisco 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 10-7.

Season-by-season records

Carolina Panthers draft history

Players of note

Current roster

Carolina Panthers rosterview · talk · edit

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

  • 94 Sione Fua DT
  • 76 Greg Hardy DE
  • 99 Frank Kearse DT
  • 98 Thomas Keiser DE
  • 97 Terrell McClain DT
  • 68 Andre Neblett DT
  • 92 Eric Norwood DE

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists

Practice Squad

Rookies in italics
Roster updated November 16, 2011
Depth ChartTransactions

53 Active, 12 Inactive, 7 Practice Squad

More rosters

Pro Bowlers

Hall of Honor

The Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor was established in 1997 to honor individuals for their contributions to the Carolina Panthers franchise.[8]

  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

Retired numbers

  • 51 Sam Mills, LB (1995–1997) and coach (1998–2004)

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Coaches of note

Head coaches

Name Years Won Lost Ties Winning % Playoffs Awards
Dom Capers 19951998 31 35 0 .470 1–1
George Seifert 19992001 16 32 0 .333
John Fox 20022010 78 74 0 .513 5–3
Ron Rivera 2011–present

Offensive coordinators

Defensive coordinators

Current staff

Carolina Panthers staffv · d · e
Front Office
  • Owner/Founder – Jerry Richardson
  • President – Danny Morrison
  • General Manager – Marty Hurney
  • Director of Pro Scouting – Mark Koncz
  • Director of College Scouting – Don Gregory
  • Director of Team Administration – Rob Rogers

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator – Rob Chudzinski
  • Quarterbacks – Mike Shula
  • Running Backs – John Settle
  • Wide Receivers – Fred Graves
  • Tight Ends – Pete Hoener
  • Offensive Line – John Matsko
  • Assistant Offensive Line – Ray Brown
  • Offensive Consultant – Ricky Proehl
  • Offensive Quality Control – Scott Turner

Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator – Sean McDermott
  • Defensive Line – Eric Washington
  • Linebackers – Warren Belin
  • Secondary – Ron Meeks
  • Defensive Quality Control/Defensive Line – Sam Mills III

Special Teams Coaches

  • Special Teams Coordinator – Brian Murphy

Strength and Conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning – Joe Kenn
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning – Adam Feit

Coaching Staff
More NFL staffs

Franchise traditions

Fight song

When the 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. As the first season was played at Clemson University, many fans felt that the song was reminiscent of the collegiate atmosphere those 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 preseason 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.[10]

Growl Towel

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).[11] They are used most prominently during playoff games.

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.

Radio Affiliates

Panthers Radio Affiliates

City Call Sign Frenquency
Albemarle, North Carolina WSPC-AM 1010 AM
Asheboro, North Carolina WKXR-AM 1260 AM
Asheville, North Carolina WWNC-AM 570 AM
Augusta, Georgia WNRR-AM 1380 AM
Barnwell, South Carolina WDOG-AM 1460 AM
Beech Mountain, North Carolina WXIT-AM 1200 AM
Blacksburg, Virginia WKEX-AM 1430 AM
Boone, North Carolina WECR-FM 102.3 FM
Burlington, North Carolina WZTK-FM 101.1 FM
Camden, North Carolina WPUB-FM 102.7 FM
Charleston, South Carolina WSCC-FM 94.3 FM
Charlotte, North Carolina WBT-AM 1110 AM
Chester, South Carolina WBT-FM 99.3 FM
Chesterfield, South Carolina WVSZ-FM 107.3 FM
Christiansburg, Virginia WKEX-FM 94.1 FM
Clinton, South Carolina WPCC-AM 1410 AM
Columbia, South Carolina WZMJ-FM 93.1 FM
Conway, South Carolina WHSC-AM 1050 AM
Dublin, Virginia WPIN-AM 810 AM
Durham, North Carolina WDNC-AM 620 AM
Elkin, North Carolina WIFM-FM 100.9 FM
Fair Bluff, North Carolina WQTM-AM 1480 AM
Fayetteville, North Carolina WUKS-FM 107.7 FM
Florence, South Carolina WWFN-FM 100.1 FM
Greenville, North Carolina WTIB-FM 103.7 FM
Greenville, South Carolina WYRD-AM 1330 AM
Hamlet, North Carolina WKDX-AM 1250 AM
Hartsville, South Carolina WTOD-AM 1450 AM
Henderson, North Carolina WIZS-AM 1450 AM
Hendersonville, North Carolina WHKP-AM 1450 AM
Jacksonville, North Carolina WJNC-AM 1240 AM
Kinston, North Carolina WRNS-AM 960 AM
Lenoir, North Carolina WKVS-FM 103.3 FM
Lincolnton, North Carolina WLON-AM 1050 AM
Lynchburg, Virginia WBRG-AM 1050 AM
Lynchburg, Virginia WBRG-FM 104.5 FM
Manning, South Carolina WYMB-AM 920 AM
Mocksville, North Carolina WDSL-AM 1520 AM
Morehead City, North Carolina WTKF-FM 107.1 FM
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina WJXY-FM 93.9 FM
Newton, North Carolina WNNC-AM 1230 AM
Raleigh, North Carolina WCMC-FM 99.9 FM
Roanoke, Virginia WGMN-AM 1240 AM
Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina WPTM-FM 102.3 FM
Rock Hill, South Carolina WRHM-FM 107.1 FM
Rocky Mount, North Carolina WZAX-FM 99.3 FM
Rutherfordton, North Carolina WCAB-AM 590 AM
Salisbury, North Carolina WSAT-AM 1280 AM
Shelby, North Carolina WOHS-AM 1390 AM
Simpsonville, South Carolina WYRD-FM 106.3 FM
Spartanburg, South Carolina WORD-AM 950 AM
Statesville, North Carolina WSIC-AM 1400 AM
Thomasville, North Carolina WEOM-FM 103.1 FM
Wilmington, North Carolina WBNE-FM 103.7 FM

Notes and references

External links

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