Although one of the younger teams in the National Football League, the Carolina Panthers already boast a storied history to be quite proud of. Since their inception back in 1995, the team has already reached the Super Bowl numerous times and witnessed the rise of elite players like Cam Newton. Whatever you think of them, you simply have to respect the team’s passion and drive to establish themselves as the top team in the National Football League. Here’s a quick look at their history over the years.
The Carolina Panthers were established in 1995 thanks to the efforts of local businessmen to bring the National Football League to the Carolinas, a process that began back in the late 1980s. The team, playing in Charlotte, debuted alongside another new expansion team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, that year. The team’s inaugural season saw a 7-9 record, the best for an expansion team in the history of the National Football League. The team then posted several mediocre to losing seasons in its early years, culminating with a dismal 1-15 record in the 2001 National Football League season.
In the 2003 season, the team improved dramatically, posting an 11-5 record and playoff berth thanks to quarterback Jake Delhomme and other offensive stars on the team. The Panthers ultimately reached Super Bowl XXXVIII that year, narrowly losing to Tom Brady and the ascendant New England Patriots in one of the wildest and most dramatic games in Super Bowl history.
The Panthers posted several unsuccessful seasons following their Super Bowl loss, yet managed to remain competitive in others. In 2011, the team drafted Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and hired Ron Rivera as head coach, turning their fortunes around dramatically. Under Newton and Rivera, the Panthers steadily improved and finally became playoff contenders again. In the 2015 season, the team posted a 15-1 record, the best in the National Football League and proceeded to demolish several other top teams in their march to Super Bowl 50. Facing off against Peyton Manning and the tough defense of the Denver Broncos, the Panthers eventually lost in a hard fought battle with a score of 24-10.
Despite the Super Bowl loss, the Panthers have many reasons to be optimistic about their future. The emergence of Cam Newton and other young stars make them a team to keep a close eye on in the years to come.