The Carolina Panthers are a member of the South Division of the NFC. They are based in Charlotte, North Carolina, but the team serves as a representative to both North and South Carolina. Along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Carolina Panthers history is short, as they became part of the NFL in 1995. An impressive accomplishment in Carolina Panthers history is their Super Bowl appearance in 2003, only 8 years since their inception. When the Carolina Panthers first became part of the NFL, they were a member of the NFC West division. In 2002, they were moved to the NFC south division, which was made more sense considering their location. The Carolina Panthers mascot is Sir Purr, and they are managed by Marty Hurney.
Carolina Panthers history started in the late 1980s after the approval of a professional NBA expansion team. The Charlotte Hornets, who are now the New Orleans Hornets, the basis for former Baltimore Colts player Jerry Richardson to discuss the possibility of having an NFL expansion team as well. His company, Richardson Sports, chose an uptown location in Charlotte where they would build a privately financed stadium that housed more than 70,000 fans. Everyone joined the effort to show their support for the cause, an effort to prove to the NFL that Charlotte was worthy of an NFL team. Preseason games were held in the area in 1989, 1990, and 1991, which were all sold out games, again as an effort to show support for the NFL. In 1992, expansion teams were discussed in Charlotte, as well as Baltimore, St. Louisville, Memphis, and Jacksonville. The vote was delayed until 1993, considering there was still a dispute within the league. It was on October 26, 1993 that the NFL announced that Carolina would be the 29th franchise for the NFL, which made them the first new team in the league since the 70s.
Carolina Panthers history during the 1995 Season; Dom Capers was appointed as the head coach, and they acquainted their team through a newly formed method of drafting. Aside from popular draft picks like Rod Smith, Mark Carrier, and Kerry Collins, the Carolina Panthers were also entitled to use the free agency process. A notable aspect of Carolina Panthers history is that they won their first game of their career, playing the Hall of Fame Game against the Jaguars, who was also a new team that year. Of course this game was known as the "Battle of the Big Cats", we'll let you figure out why. The Panthers new stadium was still under construction, so all their home games were played at Clemson University.
Carolina Panthers history was rough in the late 90s; Rae Carruth was sent to prison for conspiring to murder his pregnant girlfriend. At that same time, Kerry Collins was cut from the team due to problems with alcoholism and accusations of making racial slurs about his teams. Fred Lane, who had traded to the Indianapolis Colts in 2000, was killed by his wife shortly after trading teams. During this time, the team made no noticeable appearances on the field, and Dom Capers was let go after the 98 season. In 1999, George Seifert was hired to replace him, as he had won two Super Bowl titles with the 49ers. However, his time with the team was disastrous, and he was immediately let go in 2001. The Panthers attempted to acquire Steve Spurrier and Tony Dungy in 2002 were unsuccessful. So they chose John Fox as their head coach, who was a former defensive coordinator for the Giants. In 2003, Carolina was a much better team, landing them in Super Bowl XXXVIII, which they ended up winning! Considering their short history, this Super Bowl appearance was a great accomplishment and something not to go in Carolina Panthers history!