The Carolina Panthers came into the National Football League at the start of the 1995 season and were the 29th franchise in the history of the National Football League. The Panthers play their games in Charlotte, which now has two professional sports teams in the city, with the Hornets of the National Basketball Association being the other one. The Panthers are one of the teams remaining in the league without a Super Bowl title. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst Carolina Panthers franchise history.
Bank of America Stadium Is the Home of the Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers played one year in Memorial Stadium, which was the home of the Clemson Tigers in 1995. That was used only to help workers finish up Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Once Bank of America Stadium was completed, the Panthers started to play there and have been in the venue since.
The first game played at Bank of America Stadium was in August of 1996, with the first regular season game being held on September 1st, 1996. Carolina won that game over the Falcons. Other than the Panthers, the venue is used for Charlotte’s Major League Soccer season, and every year the Duke’s Mayo Bowl is held there. Bank of America Stadium is a venue that can hold just shy of 75,000 fans.
Outside of the National Football League, College Football, and Major League Soccer, international soccer and concerts are very popular at this venue. The very first concert that was held at the stadium was the Rolling Stones, back in 1997.
Why the Panthers and Who Are They?
As we found out earlier, the team came into the league in 1995. Jerry Richardson was the team president at the time. The story goes that his son Mark was the sole reason behind the name Panthers. Mark wanted to go after something that gave a “synergy” between the team colors and the team’s name. Mark chose “Panthers” as if felt it represented the strength and power that he wanted from his team and the city, with the colors black, silver, and blue. When asked, Mark Richardson said he wanted the name to be powerful, sleek, and strong, which is what a Panther represents.
Historical Records for the Carolina Panthers
As the 2023 season starts, the Carolina Panthers come in with 212 career wins. The Panthers are 9-8 in the postseason. Some names that come to mind when thinking of Carolina Panthers include Cam Newton and his nearly 30,000 passing yards. Jonathan Stewart the running back with over 7,000 career rushing yards. Steve Smith, who finished with 67 receiving touchdowns for Carolina. Also, Ron Rivera is the winningest head coach in franchise history with 76 wins.
DeAngelo Williams was tough to defend for Carolina. His 2008 season saw him score 18 touchdowns in 273 attempts. That still sits as a franchise record. Williams is second on the all-time rushing leaders list for the Panthers behind Jonathan Stewart.
Steve Smith had three outstanding seasons that go into the record book. Smith caught 1,563 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2005, and 1,421 yards in 2008, and 1,394 in 2011.
Newton holds the record for most passing yards in a game, with 432 for Carolina.
Super Bowl Titles for the Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have never won a Super Bowl. The Panthers have gone to the Super Bowl twice and lost both games. In 2023, the Panthers won the NFC South before beating the Cowboys in the Wild Card Playoffs, beating the Rams in two overtimes in the divisional playoffs, and then winning the NFC title game by keeping the Eagles to just a lone field goal. In Houston, at the Super Bowl, the Panthers saw Adam Vinatieri kick a game-winning field goal for the Patriots to win the game 32-29.
Then – in 2015, the Panthers were arguably the best team in the National Football League. They went from 7-8-1 to 15-1 and won the NFC South. After getting a first-round bye, Carolina beat the Seahawks 31-24 in the divisional round. The NFC Championship was a blow-out, as the Panthers beat the Cardinals 49-15. In Super Bowl 50 – the Broncos came away with a 24-10 win in front of 71,088 fans in Santa Clara, California. The Panthers finished the season with 10 Pro Bowl selections.
Carolina has six divisional titles under their belt. The first came as part of the NFC West back in 1996. Since that point, the Panthers have won the NFC South. Carolina has not won the division since 2015. That season was the third of three in a row for Carolina. The Panthers have divisional titles in 2003, 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
The team has been to the postseason 8 teams in team history. The very first time the Panthers made the postseason was in 1996. Carolina has not made the postseason since the 2017 season, as 2023 begins.
Famous Quarterbacks for the Carolina Panthers
The list of quarterbacks that have patrolled the game for the Carolina Panthers is an interesting one. But no list is complete without Cam Newton at the top of it. In fact, Newton is at the top of all statistics when it comes to Panthers quarterbacks. Newton is the only quarterback to start in more than 100 games for the Panthers. Newtown went 68-60-1 in 129 starts with the Panthers. Next on the list is Jake Delhomme with 91, then Steve Beurelein with 59. Kerry Collins started 45, and no one else finished their career with more than 30.
Newton was known for his running ability than passing, but despite that, he finished his Panthers career with just shy of 30,000 passing yards and 186 touchdowns. The list remains the same, with Delhomme behind with 120 touchdowns, followed by Beurelein with 86 and Collins 47.
When it comes to the postseason, the Panthers have had just three guys start under center. When Carolina went to the postseason in 1996, Kerry Collins was the guy. He went 1-1. During the early 2000’s Jake Delhomme was the man in charge. He finished with an impressive 5-3 postseason record. Then lastly, Cam Newton was the quarterback the last four times they went to the playoffs. Newton is 3-4 all-time in the postseason.
The Carolina Panthers have not had a quarterback start all 16 games for them in a season since 2017, when Newton did it.
Carolina Panthers Hall of Famers
The Carolina Panthers’ list of Pro Football Hall of Famers is working on growing. The list currently is pretty small. All the guys that have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame from Carolina spent just portions of their careers there. Those guys are:
●Reggie White, defensive end in 2000 – he was inducted in 2006.
●Kevin Greene, defensive end in 1996, 1998, and 1999 – he was inducted in 2016.
●Sam Mills, linebacker in 1995, 1996, and 1997 – he was inducted in 2022.
●Bill Polian, general manager from 1995-1997 – he was inducted in 2015.
A couple of guys that went into the Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor that are not in the Hall of Fame include:
●Mike McCormack, President/GM from 1993-1997
●Steve Smith Jr., wide receiver from 2001-2013
●Jake Delhomme, quarterback from 2003-2009
●Wesley Walls, tight end from 1996-2002
●Jordan Gross, offensive tackle from 2003-2013
●Julius Peppers, defensive end from 2002-2009, and 2017
●Muhsin Muhammad, wide receiver from 1996-2004 and 2008-2009
Final Carolina Panthers Tidbits
Dom Capers was the first-ever head coach of the Carolina Panthers, but John Fox served as the longest-tenured. Oddly enough, a third name, Ron Rivera, has the most regular season wins in franchise history.
Sir Purr is the Carolina Panthers’ official mascot. He is a Panther that wears a football jersey to all home games and has the #00. The website lists him as liking Falcons, Eagles, and Seahawks as his favorite snack.
When the franchise chose the “Panthers” as their team name, a couple of other choices were the “Cobras,” “Rhinos,” or “Cougars.”
In an odd statistic, during the 2012 season, the Carolina Panthers lost their first 13 coin flips of the season. The Panthers finally won one in 2014.
Finally, because the franchise is located in Charlotte, many perceive the franchise as being a “North Carolina” team, but the organization claims they are for both North and South Carolina equally.