Blazerfan's post got me thinking about who are the most valuable individual Panther contributors of all time. I'm sure this has already been done many times, but... What else am I to do mid-June??? This is not just players, but anyone who has made the team great. How would your list differ?
1. Steve Smith
Smitty is the only Panther I can remember who could not only take over a game, but a whole season! In 2005 and 2006 if teams stopped Smitty, then they stopped the whole team. But despite this, in '05, he still pretty much by himself took the team all the way to the NFC Championship. He was an integral part of the '03 Superbowl run. He made the pro-bowl as a rookie, and has been an all-pro almost every year since.
2. John Fox
Gotta give Foxy some love. Since the teams inception nothing much changed until he came. He took a 1-15 team, that had only one playoff appearance in its existence, and led it to 3 playoff appearances, 2 NFC Championships and a Superbowl. He is the 2nd most tenured coach currently in the NFC. And with the exception of '06 has had success every year the team wasn't overcome by injuries.
Davis is the closest thing I can think of to Smith's '05 performance. In that much of the teams success in '03 was due to him carrying it with consistent running. One difference was that when the running game was shutdown, Jake and company did a good job of moving the ball through the air. However after Davis went down to injury the following year, the team's running game took 4 years to recover.
Pep has the ability to be a Hall of Fame DE. The only thing stopping him is whether or not he has the determination.
5. Sam Mills
We all know the story... #51 is the only retired Panther's number. Even in his absence he has done much for the team.
I cannot comment much because I am still bitter from the Arizona game. But Jake deserves to be up here somewhere. We would not have came so close to a Superbowl win without him.
7. Jerry Richardson
In a city abused by the George Shins and Bob Johnsons of Charlotte Pro Sports, Jerry deserves some credit for creating a great organization.
8. Muhsin Muhammed
The Panthers best all-time receiver until Smith came along. Also one of the best blocking receivers in the league. I don't think it a coincidence that the Panthers running game never recovered until he returned. A skill often over looked.
Ok, maybe this one is a little premature. But what he did last year deserves some props! In his first year as a starter he amassed 1500 yards, 18 TDs and 5.5 yard average! And all while splitting time with JStew! Even if he is traded tomorrow his records will still stand.