After a dynamic rookie campaign in 2011 by Cameron Newton, the Panthers looked well on their way back up the NFL ladder. However a “sophomore slump” by Newton dismissed all of that and many began to doubt whether he could succeed in the NFL. He had ten fumbles in his second year, and that's usually a sign of a bad offensive line, or a quarterback that is trying to do too much. The slump became the moment when Cameron Newton’s career was defined. Rather than pass blame around or run away like he has been known to do in the past, Newton got right back to work. He changed the way he trained, he changed his whole attitude, he changed his approach to the game, and he changed the way he played. In 2013, the threw 24 touchdowns, and brought his fumbles down to a reasonable number. The team finished the season with a 12-4 record. There were high hopes for 2014, but they managed to win just seven games that season. Still, they made the playoffs in a very weak division.
Speaking of that marvelous 2013 season and the Panthers getting the number two seed in the NFC playoffs. They proved themselves worthy of that playoff spot, but now they need to move forward. They released long time fan favorite wide receiver Steve Smith, which left them in an even deeper hole at wide receiver than they entered the during the offseason. The Panthers answered this by selecting wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State in the first round. Benjamin has the highest ceiling of any receiver in the draft.
Panthers Football History
The Carolina Panthers are one of the NFL’s three most recent expansion teams, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans. The Panthers were founded in 1993, and began play in 1995. In just their second season, they advanced to the NFC Championship game, an incredible feat for an expansion team. The Panthers fell short that game, and the Packers went on to victory, and the Super Bowl.
The following season, the Panthers could not repeat their success of 1996, and it wasn’t again until 2003 when they made the playoffs. In fact they won the NFC championship in 2003, and lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. In their first season, the Panthers played their games at Memorial Stadium. In 1996 they moved into Bank of America Stadium which is their home to this day.
Right now the Panthers are a team on the rise, and they must capitalize on their success from last season. Cam Newton took huge steps forward. Now he must take that last great step to become one of the NFL’s elite. How does he do it? Well he must find that answer within himself. It will help to have a key player at wide out, and Panther fans are hoping that Kelvin Benjamin is just the ticket to the Super Bowl.
In 2015, the Panthers had their greatest season in franchise history this past year. Carolina finished the regular season 15-1, gaining home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Panthers won both their home playoff games against the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals to advance to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Denver Broncos on the strength of one of the best pass rushes in NFL history led by Von Miller. The Panthers are sitting in prime position as they have a really good young team. They also get former first round draft choice Kelvin Benjamin back this season after he missed all of last season due to a torn ACL. But, they need to add more at the skill positions, so expect them to address that in the draft.