PANTHERS FOOTBALL HISTORY
Carolina Panthers, professional football team and
one of four teams in the Southern Division of the
National Football Conference (NFC) of the National
Football League (NFL). The Panthers play at Ericsson
Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, and wear uniforms
of black, blue, and silver.
During the 1996 season the Panthers won their division
and qualified for the playoffs. It was only their
second year of existence, and this was the earliest
an NFL expansion team had ever encountered such success.
During the previous year, the team won seven games—the
most ever by an NFL expansion team.
In 1993 Panthers founder and owner Jerry Richardson
was awarded the first new NFL franchise since 1976,
when the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
had joined the league. Two years later, Carolina and
fellow expansion team Jacksonville Jaguars began play.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coach Dom Capers
was named the Panthers’ first head coach.
After losing the first 5 games of the 1995 season,
Carolina won 7 of its last 11 games behind wide receivers
Mark Carrier and Willie Green. During the season the
Panthers defeated the San Francisco 49ers to become
the first expansion team ever to beat a defending
In 1996 the Panthers stunned the NFL by winning 12
games and capturing the NFC Western Division title.
Quarterback Kerry Collins and running back Anthony
Johnson anchored the offense. Carolina put together
the second-best defense in the NFC, featuring three
Pro Bowl linebackers: Kevin Greene, Lamar Lathon,
and Sam Mills. Michael Bates was the league’s
top kickoff returner, averaging 30.2 yards per return.
Placekicker John Kasay led the league in scoring,
converting on a league-record 37 field goals. Capers
was named coach of the year. After capturing the division
title, Carolina defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the
playoffs before losing the NFC Championship Game to
the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers.
The franchise experienced its worst year ever in
2001 when it went 1-15 and lost 15 consecutive games,
an NFL record. A turnaround came quickly, however.
In 2003, under head coach John Fox, the team finished
the regular season 11-5 and qualified for the playoffs
as the winner of the NFC’s South Division. During
the regular season and in the playoffs, the Panthers
won several come-from-behind games. They advanced
to Super Bowl XXXVIII and appeared on the verge of
another comeback when they tied the New England Patriots
with about one minute left to play. The Patriots kicked
a field goal with about four seconds left and won
the game in one of the most dramatic finishes in Super
2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII Lost to New England Patriots,
Club Records >>
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