Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Buffalo, New York
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Carolina Panthers Writeup
Heart, determination and guts.
Three words that describe the Carolina Panthers. But that wasn't the case, not until changes were made and many think today, it still might not be the case.
In 2001, this team had hit rock bottom. A miserable 1-15 record had fans angry, rotten and sour to the core. Some thought, that this, once proud expansion team, might never get out on the right foot. At the end of the year Head Coach George Seiffert announced his retirement.
But then, John Fox was hired as the new Head Coach, and changes were to be made. Once a defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, Fox emphasized on defense. Drafting Defensive End Julius Peppers with the second overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft started a new beggining in Carolina, and how they would play from there on out.
In 2002, John Fox had orchestrated a miracle. A six game turn around was the second best all-time for rookie head coaches. Fox also had started Rodney Peete at QB, and Lamar Smith at RB. Fox and the Panthers, were "flying under the radar" so to speak and in 2003, noone would guess the phenonminal turn around to come.
2003 was a year of destiny. A year in that teams that were sub-par in 2002, would be battling in Houston, not one year later. 2003 was filled with underdogs and upsets, in which the Carolina Panthers themselves, helped orchestrate. The Panthers were known for their ability to "make comebacks in the 4th quarter" and thus they were granted a nickname, a nickname which would be "THE CARDIAC CATS".
In a season which was filled by surprises, the Carolina Panthers ended up finishing 11-5 and winning the NFC South, their respected division. Playoff time had hit and week one was upon Carolina, a time, which is known as, Wildcard Weekend. The Panthers ended up beating the Dallas Cowboys and advancing to the second round to face the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome. The ironic thing was, the Rams were a perfect 8-0 at home in 2003, and in double overtime, the Panthers pulled off one of the biggest upsets in postseason history. The next week the Panthers took off against the Philadelphia Eagles. A team that, in 2001, and 2002 had made the NFC Conference Championship Game, only to lose it both times. The Panthers won convincingly over the Eagles, to move on to the Superbowl.
QB Jake Delhomme and WR Steve Smith in Superbowl 38
The Panthers vs Patriots 2003 Superbowl was arguably the best Superbowl ever. A last second kick was the deciding factor, however the Panthers never gave up and they showed heart, and determination as they showed up, and almost stood up, the AFC Champion New England Patriots. In the end the Panthers came out as losers, and would feel much more pain in 2004.
2004 brought a much different meaning to the Panthers. Although, knocked out of playoff contention in week 17, the Cats rallied around QB Jake Delhomme who became their leader and arguably an elite QB in the NFL. The Panthers were plagued by the injury bug and lost 7 out of their first 8 games. However, during the second half of the season, this team, once again, showed its courage and never gave up. The Panthers went 6-2 during their last 8 games, one of the most remarkable half season comebacks in NFL History, however it was not enough and they failed to land a spot in the 2004 postseason.
2005 has been a dark, scary, and contreversial year, so far for the once, NFC Champions. Talks of Steroids, and contreversey have some thinking, was this team the real deal, or were they a team bulked up on illegal substances? My thoughts are that the Panthers heart, and courage could not have come from a pill. Their Punter, Tackle and Guard are the accused offenders, and honestly, do you think those three players would have changed anything? I'll let you be the judge of this contreversial epic....
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