Recently, too much has been made about the lockout, the draft and possible trade rumors surrounding the team. I figured I would change it up a little bit and go with, in my humble opinion, what have been the top five greatest moments in the history of Panthers football. This is an open thread and I welcome feedback as well as opinions from the Panther faithful who feel there were other great moments that were overlooked in this post.
1). Carolina's inaugural season - For a 14 year old kid living in Spartanburg, SC when the Panthers opened up for their first season, this was a huge deal. Granted, I was a Falcons fan but in the southeast your options were pretty limited. I started rooting for both teams for about 6-7 years and soon after the Michael Vick debacle, I chose Carolina as my one and only team. I still respect the Falcons organization but I felt I needed to stay with the team that was close to home. The Panthers gave us a great first season going 7-9 (setting the league record for wins by an expansion team) and would find success early on--too bad it didn't last longer. Game of note: upset of the San Franciso 49ers 13-7. The Niners at the time were the defending Super Bowl champions.
We will dive further into the archives after the jump...
2). 1996 NFC West Champs -The Panthers set another record for being the fastest franchise to win their division and get to the playoffs in only their second season. The Panthers would go 12-4 and advance to the NFC title game where they would fall to the Green Bay Packers. Stat of note: After beginning the season at 5-4, the Panthers would win their last seven games to clinch the division and the number two seed in the playoffs. Dom Capers won NFC coach of the year and the AP NFL Coach of the Year.
3). Jake Delhomme leads comeback against Jacksonville -2003 opened up with Rodney Peete starting for Carolina which was met with disasterous results. Enter Delhomme in the second half and he engineered perhaps the greatest comeback in franchise history. If anything is remembered from this game, it has to be Delhomme hitting Ricky Prohel for the game winning touchdown. Delhomme remained the starter and as a result the team would go 11-5 on the season. Bringing up #4....
4). Panthers reach first and only Super Bowl -The regular season was amazing and the playoffs even more crazy. I probably should have the thrilling OT win against the St. Louis Rams at this spot but I felt this game would get an honorable mention. The Panthers met with the New England Patriots in what was probably one of the greatest games ever played in Super Bowl history. The game started out as a defensive struggle and then the scoreboard got lit up. The Panthers tied the game late in the 4th quarter but a botched kickoff by John Kasay would be the Panthers undoing as Tom Brady did what he does best and marched his team down the field to set up for the game winning field goal. Even though they lost, it was a great game against a very talented New England team.
5). DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart run wild in 2008 - If there was ever a reason to be excited as a fantasy owner in football, having one or both of these guys on the roster provided it. They became the first teammates to set a league record by rushing for over 1000 yards each. Game of note: the Panthers rushed for 264 yards against the Detroit Lions. D-Will rushed for 120 while then rookie Stewart amassed 130 yards on the ground. This game was especially sweet for me since I was in attendance that day and saw history in the making.
So there it is. My personal favorite five greatest moments. I am all ears as to other great moments that were overlooked. This is an open thread so let the comments flow!