History of the Carolina Panthers
The fans of the Carolina Panthers owe their franchise to the city of Baltimore and the old Baltimore Colts.
Jerry Richardson was a wide receiver for the Colts when they won the NFL Championship in 1959. He used his championship-winning check to open a restaurant in Spartanburg, South Carolina called Hardees, and today the Hardees/Carl’s Jr. chain has more than 3,800 restaurants.
That made Richardson very rich, and allowed him to bid for an expansion NFL franchise and bring it to the Carolinas. Ironically, Baltimore expected to get one of the expansion teams in 1995 to replace the decade-long departed Colts, but Richardson was instead awarded the team.
The road to relevance was quick for the Panthers, appearing in the NFC Championship Game in just their second season in existence. They missed the playoffs the next six years, but returned to the postseason following the 2003 season and made it all the way to the Super Bowl.
They have played in two more NFC Championship Games – 2005 and 2015 – and they played in Super Bowl 50 against the Broncos.
A Young Panthers Franchise
The Panthers are a young franchise, and thus there aren’t a large number of all-time greats that have come through Carolina. Hall of Famer Kevin Greene finished his career with 160 sacks, good for third all-time, and 41.5 of those sacks came in his three seasons in Carolina. His 14.5 sacks with the Panthers in 1996 led the NFL.
Sam Mills is also in the Hall of Fame, newly inducted in 2022. Along with playing linebacker for 12 NFL seasons, including his last three with the Panthers, he was also a Panthers defensive coach for seven years, including the last two seasons while he battled cancer.
Sam Mills first invoked the Panthers slogan “keep pounding” during a pre-game speech before a playoff win over the Cowboys during their first Super Bowl run.
NFL Big Changes from Last Season – Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers made the biggest change they could on the offensive side of the ball this offseason, trading for former Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. A year ago they brought in Sam Darnold, the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. That didn’t work, and now they are giving the top overall pick from the 2018 NFL draft a try.
Unlike Darnold, Mayfield has actually been a successful pro quarterback. He was made a bit of a scapegoat in Cleveland, when in truth he spent most of 2021 playing injured. A year before that he led the Browns to their first playoff win since the previous century.
Darnold for his career has 10,624 yards in 50 games played, with 54 touchdowns to 52 interceptions. Mayfield has 14,125 yards in 60 games, and 92 touchdowns to 56 interceptions. He also had four touchdowns in two playoff games.
Hopeful Change in Carolina Panthers
The other (hopeful) change for the Panthers offense is a healthy Christian McCaffrey. When he’s on the field he is without question one of the best overall weapons in the NFL. The problem is that since his 2019 season of 1,387 rushing yards and 1,005 receiving yards, he’s played in just 10 games.
Look for increased workloads from Chuba Hubbard and newly acquired D’Onta Foreman to keep McCaffrey’s workload more manageable, and hopefully keep him injury free.
Providing help for both Mayfield and the Panthers running game is first round draft pick Ikem Ekwonu, who is slated to be the new left tackle, and a very good one at that.
Matt Rhule remains the head coach, but much of his staff is new in 2022, and far more experienced than last season. Former Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks is a new defensive assistant, and former Giants head coach and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is the new OC in Carolina.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.