Bank of America Stadium

Bank of America Stadium is a 75,523-seat football stadium located on 33 acres (13 ha) in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. It is the home facility and headquarters of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League.[13] The stadium opened in 1996 as Ericsson Stadium before Bank of America purchased the naming rights in 2004. Former Panthers president Danny Morrison called it "[A] classic American stadium" due to its bowl design and other features.[14]

In addition to the Panthers, the stadium hosts the annual Belk Bowl, which features teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and was supposed to host the annual ACC Championship Game through at least 2019. The game was moved in 2016 but reinstated in 2017.[15][16][17][18][19][20] The largest crowd to ever attend a football game at the stadium was on September 9, 2018 when 74,532 fans watched the Panthers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 16-8.[21]

Bank of America Stadium
The Bank
The BOA
The B of A
The Vault
Bank of America Stadium logo
BofAStadium2015
The stadium before a 2015 game
Bank of America Stadium is located in North Carolina
Bank of America Stadium
Bank of America Stadium
Location in North Carolina
Bank of America Stadium is located in the United States
Bank of America Stadium
Bank of America Stadium
Location in the United States
Former namesPanthers Stadium (planning)
Carolinas Stadium (planning)
Ericsson Stadium (1996–2004)
Address800 South Mint Street
LocationCharlotte, North Carolina
Coordinates35°13′33″N 80°51′10″W / 35.22583°N 80.85278°WCoordinates: 35°13′33″N 80°51′10″W / 35.22583°N 80.85278°W
Public transitStonewall
3rd Street/Convention Center
OwnerPanthers Stadium LLC
OperatorPanthers Stadium LLC
Executive suites153
Capacity75,523 (2017–present)[1]
75,419 (2015–2016)[2]
74,455 (2014)[3]
73,778 (2008–2013)[4]
73,504 (2007)[5]
73,298 (2005–2006)[6]
73,250 (1998–2004)[7]
73,248 (1997)
72,685 (1996)[8]
Field size132 yds long x 93 yards wide (121 x 80 m)
SurfaceVoyager Bermuda Grass
Construction
Broke groundApril 22, 1994[9]
OpenedSeptember 1, 1996 (regular season) August 3, 1996 (preseason)
Renovated2007, 2014–17
Expanded1997–98, 2005, 2007–08, 2014–15, 2017
Construction cost$248 million
($396 million in 2018 dollars[10])
ArchitectWagner Murray Architects, Populous (then HOK Sport)
Structural engineerBliss and Nyitray, Inc.
Services engineerLockwood Greene[11]
General contractorTurner/F.N. Thompson[12]
Tenants
Carolina Panthers (NFL) (1996–present)
Belk Bowl (NCAA) (2002–present)
Belk Kickoff Game (NCAA) (2015–present)

Sites considered for selection

The Panthers organization considered several possible sites for the stadium's location before choosing the Charlotte center city site. Part of the site was occupied by the historic Good Samaritan Hospital. As part of the preparation for the 2019 Equal Justice Initiative Community Remembrance Project, Charlotte historian Michael Moore determined the site was also significant as the location of the city's first known lynching in 1913.[22]

One alternative was near NASCAR's Charlotte Motor Speedway and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in northeast Mecklenburg County. Another was at the intersection of I-85 and US 74 in western Gaston County. A popular option was to locate the facility near Carowinds amusement park, with the 50 yard line being on the state border of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Naming

The stadium was originally known as Carolinas Stadium, a name which remains in use for certain events such as FIFA matches. It opened in 1996 as Ericsson Stadium after the Swedish telecom company LM Ericsson purchased the naming rights to the stadium in a ten-year, $25 million agreement.[23] In 2004, the stadium received its current name after Bank of America purchased the naming rights for 20 years.[24] Since Bank of America acquired naming rights, many fans now refer to the stadium as either "The Bank", "The BOA", "The B of A", or "The Vault".[25]

Stadium features

Bank of America Stadium has many unique external features. Aspects of the stadium's architecture, such as the three huge main entrances, incorporate the team's colors of black, process blue and silver. Arches that connect column supports on the upper deck resemble the shape of half a football, while several acres of numerous trees and landscaping surround the building. The stadium's architecture and design has been compared to that of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Soldier Field, among others. It's also received mentions for externally resembling "a fortress" instead of a stadium.[26]

Each of the stadium's entrances are flanked on both sides by two larger-than-life bronze panther statues, something unique throughout the entire NFL. These six statues are all named "Indomitable Spirit" and were installed in 1996.[27] Each one depicts a crouching, snarling panther with green eyes; they are the largest sculptures ever commissioned in the United States.[28][29] The names of the team's original PSL owners are engraved into each statue's base.

Another striking feature the stadium contains are its six light domes. These are found on top of the main entrances, two per entrance, and sit over a hundred feet in the air. Originally, they simply glowed the Panthers' unique 'process blue' every night. As the seasons wore on, the emitted light became less and less impressive and the domes started showing their age. During the 2014 renovations, the domes were rebuilt with LED systems. They can now be seen again projecting process blue nightly in various ways not possible with the original technology.[30]

Additionally, the two people currently in the Panthers Hall of Honor, former team executive Mike McCormack and former Panthers linebacker and assistant coach Sam Mills, are honored with life-sized bronze statues outside the stadium.[31] Before the 2014 renovations, the names of the hall of honor inductees were placed where the upper ribbon board now resides. These names were subsequently repainted onto the top rear wall behind the last row of seats. Additionally, three marble copies of a quote about the stadium from team founder Jerry Richardson were placed near the stadium's entrances in 2014.[32] Due to renovations, these quotes were later displayed in the lower concourse entrances.

In 2016, a statue was added in front of the stadium's north gate in celebration of Richardson's 80th birthday. The statue stands nearly 13 ft (3.96 m) tall and features larger than life sculptures of Richardson flanked on both sides by two panthers. One panther stands on its hind legs, claws bared, while the other crouches. All three sculptures have the same bronze color and both panthers have the green eyes of and physically resemble the "Indomitable Spirit" statues.[33]

Carolina Panthers

Bank of America Stadium
The stadium in 2006.

In addition to hosting every Panthers home game since 1996, Bank of America Stadium has hosted seven playoff games. Carolina has also had over 150 consecutive sellouts at the stadium starting with the 2002 season.[34]

Inaugural season

The Panthers played their inaugural season at Clemson University's Memorial Stadium while the stadium was being constructed. On August 3, 1996, the stadium played host to its first professional football game as the Panthers took on the Chicago Bears during the preseason. The inaugural kickoff was at 7:35 PM and Carolina won 30–12.[35] The stadium's first regular season game took place on September 1, 1996 against Carolina's to-be division rival Atlanta; the Panthers won 29–6.[36]

Playoff games

In 1996, on their way to their first NFC Championship Game, Carolina defeated the then-defending Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys in the first playoff game the stadium hosted. Again they defeated the Cowboys on their way to Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. Carolina was handed their first ever home playoff loss, 33–13, by the Arizona Cardinals on January 10, 2009 in the divisional round. The Panthers suffered a second home playoff loss against the San Francisco 49ers 23–10 on January 12, 2014 in the same round. On January 3, 2015, the Panthers won their first home playoff game in 12 years, defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27–16. En route to their fourth NFC Championship game appearance, the Panthers beat the Seattle Seahawks 31–24 in the divisional round on January 17, 2016. The Panthers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 49–15 in the NFC Championship game for their second NFC Championship in franchise history on January 24, 2016. This marked the first NFC Championship played and won at the stadium.

Weather events

Since it is an open-air stadium, Bank of America Stadium has been subject to a number of events caused by extreme weather.

  • Perhaps the most memorable weather-related game the stadium played host to wasn't forecasted in advance. During a week 3 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, a huge rainstorm blanketed the stadium towards the end of the second quarter. This caused excess water on the upper deck to pour onto the lower deck and subsequently onto the field, every spot resembling miniature waterfalls. The field soon became flooded. CBS cameras captured numerous images, including players, some fans (many were in the concourses) and cheerleaders braving the elements. Overall, four-plus inches of rain fell in under an hour.[37] Charlotte Magazine later termed the game as the "[2011] Water Bowl".[38] Carolina managed to win 16–10.[39]
  • In week 16 of the 2013 season, with the Panthers playing the Saints in a game that would give the Panthers a playoff berth, heavy rain and wind hit the stadium during the third quarter. Unlike the Jacksonville game, where wind had been a non-factor, the fans stayed in their seats and the rain moved on minutes later. The Panthers eventually won 17–13.
  • On a Monday night game during the 2015 season, a heavy rain kept up all night, making field conditions miserable. However, the fans again braved the elements. The Panthers held on to win 29–26.
  • In the days leading up to the 2015 NFC Championship game, the field and sections in and around the stadium were covered in snow and an ice/sleet mixture. However, the Panthers grounds crew along with help managed to clear the field before the game. Most of the snow/sleet around and/or inside the stadium was either cleared or had melted before the game began.
  • On July 11, 2016 a severe storm hit the Charlotte area. Several lightning bolts struck the middle of the stadium, hitting the field. No one was injured.[40]

Impact on NFL venues

At the time of its construction in the mid-1990s, the stadium was a pioneering project for the use of Personal Seat Licenses. It was the first large-scale project funded in the United States chiefly through securing PSLs, which were a new idea themselves. The strength of PSL pledges impressed NFL owners and helped result in the Carolinas receiving the first NFL expansion team in nearly two decades. The Seattle Seahawks used the stadium, among others, as a reference when designing CenturyLink Field.[41] By 2013, the number of new or renovated stadiums since Bank of America Stadium opened had risen to 25.[42]

Stadium renovations

BofAscoreboard
One of the video boards installed in 2014.

During its first few seasons the stadium was considered so far ahead of its time that until the 2013–14 offseason, it only underwent minor improvements (aside from seating additions). The most notable of these improvements came in 2007 when the original scoreboards, video boards and displays from 1996 were replaced with 31.5' x 77' video boards and four ribbon boards: two spanning the length of the field on either side and two in opposing corners. In the following years the stadium still wasn't considered as up-to-date as other NFL stadiums. Several reasons existed, including a lack of surround sound, smaller video boards compared to the rest of the league and poor cellular reception, among others. During the 2013 offseason, the Panthers renovated the home locker room. It now contained 74 lockers compared to 66 previously, the interior became more clean and modern, and the team's then-new logo was added throughout.[43]

The Panthers proposed a $250 million stadium renovation project in early 2013, pending a vote by the city of Charlotte to help pay for it. This plan included two sets of new scoreboards, multiple escalators, infrastructure and concourse improvements, among others.[44] The subsequent vote by the city failed and efforts to get any money from the State of North Carolina failed as well. However, in April 2013 the Charlotte city council agreed to an $87.5 million deal for the renovations. This deal also keeps the Panthers in Charlotte until at least 2019.[45] Despite the lower cost, the renovations would stay true to the team's original plans.

2014

In January 2014, the Panthers began the most significant renovations to the stadium in its 18-year history as part one of a multi-year renovation plan. The upgrades, completed by the start of the 2014–2015 NFL season, included numerous enhancements. First and perhaps most striking of all, two 200' x 56' HD video boards (over twice the size of their predecessors), and two 360° ribbon boards from Daktronics replaced the previous scoreboards/ribbon boards. The new ribbon boards were the tallest in the NFL[46] and the video boards were among the top ten largest in the NFL when installed.[47] Secondly, escalators were installed for the upper deck, making access easier for fans. These warranted extensions to the building itself which retained the stadium's original external designs. A new surround sound system was also included, with speakers placed around the perimeter of the bowl doubling as flagpoles. In addition, four covered open-air sections on the upper deck called "fan plazas" were added. Finally, LED-enhanced glass domes were installed along with new external signage above the main entrances.[48]

2015

Prior to the start of the 2015 season, the Panthers renovated all 158 existing luxury suites to the stadium and added a new private club suite, dubbed "The 32 Club" due to its position at the 32-yard line. The team later announced another new club, dubbed the "51 Club" in honor of former player and coach Sam Mills, would also be added. These new installations decreased the stadium's number of luxury suites to 153,[49] but increased overall seating capacity. The team also added two small ribbon boards above each tunnel entrance which are visible from the stands.

2016

Part three of the renovations included upgrading the upper-level concourse with buffet-style drink stations and installing double the amount of wi-fi access points than before. Updated signage reflecting the team's current logos and word mark was added to the upper concourse, as well as improved concession stands and new drink concessions. Most notably, almost 100 full-body scanners replaced the traditional "pat-downs" at the main entrances and a new security office was added, as well as other security improvements.[50]

2017

The fourth and final major renovation included updating the lower-level concourse by adding new signage, refurbishing concessions and installing updated televisions in the club levels. Banners depicting significant moments throughout Panthers history were also added to the concourse. The seating capacity was slightly increased thanks to upgrades at the club level. A new field and drainage system were additionally installed.[51][52]

College football

Second half kickoff, 2010 ACC Championship Game
Kickoff to start the second half of the 2010 ACC Championship Game

Bank of America Stadium does not serve as the primary home stadium for any college football team. However, starting in 1996 the stadium has hosted many college football games.[53]

  • The ACC Championship Game, played on the first Saturday in December, pits the champion of the Coastal Division against the champion of the Atlantic Division; it had been held at the stadium from 2010 to 2015. In February 2014, the ACC announced a 6-year contract extension to keep the game in Charlotte through 2019,[17] but pulled out in September 2016 after North Carolina passed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (HB2).[54] The game was reinstated after HB2's repeal in 2017.[55]
  • The Belk Bowl (formerly the Meineke Car Care Bowl and the Continental Tire Bowl), takes place in late December; it has been held annually in Charlotte since 2002. The game pits teams from the ACC against the SEC. Charlotte-based department store Belk has been the game's sponsor since 2011 and holds sponsorship rights through 2019.
  • The Belk Kickoff Game has been held at the stadium since 2015. The first meeting was between North Carolina and South Carolina.[56] In 2017, the Kickoff game featured NC State and South Carolina; in 2018 the game was played between West Virginia and Tennessee.[57]
  • The stadium has hosted several East Carolina Pirates games: in 1996 versus the NC State Wolfpack, in 1999 versus the West Virginia Mountaineers, in 2004 versus NC State, in 2008 versus the Virginia Tech Hokies, and in 2011 versus the South Carolina Gamecocks.[58][59]
  • In 2006, Clemson played against Temple in the stadium.
  • Two games in the North Carolina-NC State football rivalry took place at the stadium in 1998 and 1999, respectively.[60]
  • Two more games between South Carolina and North Carolina are scheduled to be played at the stadium in 2019 and 2023.[61]
  • East Carolina will play Appalachian State at the stadium in 2021, with the Mountaineers designated as the home team.[62]

Soccer

Mexico vs Iceland Panorama (4463906303)
Mexico vs Iceland, 2010

With a field large enough to meet the regulatory requirements for soccer, Bank of America Stadium has been host to several soccer matches. Most have featured international teams. It was a site of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship in 1999 and 2000.

International and club friendly soccer matches

Date Winning Team Result Losing Team Tournament Spectators
March 24, 2010  Mexico 0–0  Iceland International Friendly 63,227
June 9, 2011  Costa Rica 1–1  El Salvador 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup First Round 46,012
 Mexico 5–0  Cuba
August 2, 2014 England Liverpool F.C. 2–0 Italy A.C. Milan 2014 International Champions Cup 69,364
July 15, 2015  Cuba 1–0  Guatemala 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C 55,823
 Mexico 4–4  Trinidad and Tobago
July 25, 2015 France Paris Saint-Germain 1–1 England Chelsea 2015 International Champions Cup 61,224
July 30, 2016 Germany FC Bayern Munich 4–1 Italy F.C. Internazionale 2016 International Champions Cup 53,629
July 22, 2018 Germany Borussia Dortmund 3–1 England Liverpool F.C. 2018 International Champions Cup 55,447
June 23, 2019  Mexico France Martinique 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A
 Canada  Cuba
July 20, 2019 England Arsenal Italy AS Roma 2019 International Champions Cup

Concerts

Date Performer(s) Opening act(s) Tour/Event Attendance Revenue Notes
October 10, 1997 The Rolling Stones Blues Traveler Bridges To Babylon Tour 54,436 / 54,436 $3,126,945
June 24, 2012 Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Jake Owen
Brothers of the Sun Tour 44,482 / 47,835 $3,404,455 [63]

Other events

  • A four-day Billy Graham crusade was held at the stadium in 1996.
  • The closing night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, in which President Barack Obama was expected to deliver his acceptance speech for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, was to be held at the stadium on September 6, 2012. However, due to predictions of thunderstorms, it was relocated to Spectrum Center.
  • The stadium hosted the inaugural Untapped Beer Festival on May 4, 2019.[64]

References

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External links

2004 Carolina Panthers season

The 2004 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 10th season in the National Football League and the 3rd under head coach John Fox. It was also the team's 8th season at Bank of America Stadium. They failed to improve upon their record in 2003, a year when they finished the regular season 11–5 and ultimately fell 29–32 in Super Bowl XXXVIII to the New England Patriots and they finished 7–9. Their collapse to a 1–7 record start was because of key injuries to their starters through the first eight games. Despite their late-season rally, they failed to make the playoffs since 2002. They would suffer another collapse in 2016 to a 6-10 record that year after appearing in the super bowl in 2015.

2005 Carolina Panthers season

The 2005 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 11th season in the National Football League and the 4th under head coach John Fox. It was also the team's 9th season at Bank of America Stadium. They improved on their 7–9 record from 2004, going 11–5, and made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

They eventually fell to the Seattle Seahawks 34–14 in the NFC Championship Game.

2006 Carolina Panthers season

The 2006 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 12th season in the National Football League and the 5th under head coach John Fox. It was also the team's 10th season at Bank of America Stadium. the team tried to improve on their 11–5 record and return to (at least) the NFC Championship Game like they did in 2005, however They failed to do so and ended up going 8–8, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

2007 Carolina Panthers season

The 2007 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 13th season in the National Football League and the team's 11th season at Bank of America Stadium. They failed to improve upon their 8–8 record in 2006, finishing at 7–9 and missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

2008 Carolina Panthers season

The 2008 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 14th season in the National Football League They entered the season and improved on their 7–9 record from 2007, winning the NFC South. Their 12–4 finish tied their second best record in franchise history, which occurred in the 1996 season, however this was surpassed by the 2015 season with a 15-1 record. The second-seeded Panthers were upset at home in the divisional playoffs by the eventual NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals, 33-13.

2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl

The 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl was the seventh edition of the college football bowl game, and was played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The game started at 1:00 PM US EST on Saturday, December 27, 2008. The game, telecast on ESPN, pitted the North Carolina Tar Heels against the West Virginia Mountaineers, with the Mountaineers winning over the Heels 31-30. The crowd of 73,712 was the largest in the bowl's seven-year history and the largest ever to see a college football game in the state of North Carolina. It was also the fourth-largest crowd of the 2008 bowl season, and the second-largest for a non-BCS bowl.

2010 Carolina Panthers season

The 2010 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 16th season in the National Football League, and their ninth under head coach John Fox. They entered the season trying to improve on their 8–8 record from 2009, but failed to do so with a record of 2–14 and were officially eliminated from postseason contention in Week 11. It was the franchise's worst record since 2001, when they went 1-15. In Week 16, the team clinched the NFL's worst record of the year and earned the #1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. They would go on to select quarterback Cam Newton with that pick. On December 31, 2010, it was announced that the contracts of coach John Fox and his entire coaching staff would not be renewed.

2011 Carolina Panthers season

The 2011 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 17th season in the National Football League and the first season for Ron Rivera as head coach. In Week 16 of the 2010 season, the team clinched the NFL's worst record of that year and was given the #1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, with which the team selected Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner. They improved on their 2–14 record from 2010, and finished 6–10, missing the playoffs for the third year in a row.

Despite their losing record, Carolina made many improvements. According to Football Outsiders, the Panthers had the biggest year-to-year offensive improvement in their history: they were dead last in 2010, and moved up to 4th offensively in 2011, according to Football Outsiders' statistical formulas. In addition, Football Outsiders states that Carolina had the best running game in their calculations' history. This was due to the addition of Cam Newton's running ability to the high-quality running tandem of running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The rushing attack eclipsed that of the previous record holder, the 2000 St. Louis Rams. In the process, Carolina became the first team in NFL history to have three players with 700 or more yards rushing in the same season: Williams with 836 yards, Stewart with 761 yards, and Newton with 706 yards. The Panthers also set the team record for net yards with 6,237, breaking the record originally set by the 2004 team.

Carolina's defense, however, was ranked last in the league, according to Football Outsiders. They allowed the fifth-most total yards in the league on defense in 2011, and the sixth-most points. Their pass defense gave up 7.6 yards per pass attempt (tied for worst in the league), and their 6.2 yards allowed per play was tied for third-worst in the league.

2012 Carolina Panthers season

The 2012 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 18th season in the National Football League and the second under head coach Ron Rivera. A day after the Panthers loss to Dallas, general manager Marty Hurney was fired. Until a new general manager was hired (that hire eventually being Dave Gettleman), director of football operations Brandon Beane served as interim GM. In a statistical rarity, the team lost the first 13 of their coin tosses, an event with a 1 in 8,192 probability. In the thirteenth game, the Panthers asked fans on Facebook to make the call, but the vote ended in a 50/50 tie.

2013 Carolina Panthers season

The 2013 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 19th season in the National Football League and the third under head coach Ron Rivera. NFL.com ranked the Panthers' schedule as the strongest in the league, with opponents having a combined 2012 record of 138–116–2 and a winning percentage of .543.After starting the season 1–3, the Panthers went 11–1 the rest of the way, including a then-record eight-game winning streak, securing their first winning season and playoff appearance since 2008, the first winning season under Rivera and the fifth in franchise history. They also notched their third NFC South title, their first since 2008 and their fourth division title overall. The Panthers' season ended in the Divisional round of the playoffs with a 23–10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

2014 Carolina Panthers season

The 2014 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 20th season in the National Football League and the fourth under head coach Ron Rivera.

The Panthers captured their second straight NFC South division title and qualified for the postseason for the first time in back-to-back years despite failing to improve on a 12–4 record and finishing with a losing record of 7–8–1. Additionally, they became the first team in NFC South history to have back to back division titles and also became the second team to win a division title with a sub-.500 record, the first team being the 2010 Seattle Seahawks. The Panthers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the Wild Card round, but lost to Seattle in the Divisional round.

2015 Carolina Panthers season

The 2015 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 21st season in the National Football League (NFL) and their fifth under head coach Ron Rivera. This season marked the first time in team history they played on Thanksgiving.

Despite waiving longtime running back and franchise rushing leader DeAngelo Williams and losing top wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a torn ACL in the preseason, the Panthers had their best regular season in franchise history and one of the best regular seasons in NFL history. They finished the regular season 15–1, becoming the seventh team to win at least 15 regular season games since the league expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The Panthers joined the 1984 San Francisco 49ers, 1985 Chicago Bears (for whom Rivera played as a linebacker), 1998 Minnesota Vikings, 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2007 New England Patriots (who were a perfect 16–0 in the regular season) and the 2011 Green Bay Packers as the only teams to accomplish this feat.

Carolina started the season 14–0, not only setting franchise records for the best start and the longest single-season winning streak, but also posting the best start to a season by an NFC team since the NFL–AFL merger, breaking the 13–0 record previously shared with the 2009 New Orleans Saints and the aforementioned 2011 Packers. They joined the 1972 Miami Dolphins, 2007 Patriots and 2009 Indianapolis Colts, all from the AFC, as the only teams to reach 14–0. Carolina clinched their third straight NFC South title on December 6, when the Atlanta Falcons lost earlier that day, becoming the first team to clinch a playoff berth that season, and giving the Panthers a home playoff game for the third consecutive year.

The Panthers' undefeated streak came to an end at the hands of the Falcons in a Week 16 rematch. A week later, however, Carolina routed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to finish 15–1, giving the Panthers home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

In the playoffs, the Panthers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 31–24 in the divisional round, avenging their elimination at the hands of the Seahawks from the previous season. The Panthers then blew out the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game by a score of 49–15, but lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 by a score of 24–10, thus becoming the fifth straight team to have at least 15 victories and not win the Super Bowl. The Panthers were also close to rematching the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl for the first time in 11 years.

Had it not been for John Fox's departure from the Broncos last season, it would've been the second straight time that a head coach meets his former team in a Super Bowl.

2016 Carolina Panthers season

The 2016 Carolina Panthers season was the franchise's 22nd season in the National Football League and the sixth under head coach Ron Rivera. It was also the team's 20th season at Bank of America Stadium. The previous year, the Panthers achieved their highest win total in franchise history with a 15–1 record, but lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. They entered the 2016 season as the defending NFC champions and NFC South champions and hope to repeat as NFC champions.

After a 1–5 start, their worst since 2004 (where they also were defending NFC Champions), the Panthers finished the season at 6–10, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Panthers struggled throughout the 2016 season with injuries and loss of star players via Free Agency and retirement. The Panthers became the first team in NFL history to go 15–1 and miss the playoffs the following year, the first runners up in the Super Bowl to miss the playoffs the next year since the 2008 Patriots, and failed to win the NFC South for the first time in three seasons. Coincidentally, the 2008 Patriots also completed a perfect season the previous year, lost the Super Bowl, and missed the playoffs the following season. This was also the first team to have at least 15 wins and finish last in their division the following season. They were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 16 when they lost to the Atlanta Falcons 33-16.

2017 Carolina Panthers season

The 2017 season was the Carolina Panthers' 23rd in the National Football League and the seventh under head coach Ron Rivera. During the offseason, the team's notable free agent signings included Matt Kalil, Captain Munnerlyn and veteran Julius Peppers. Peppers previously spent his first eight seasons with the Panthers, appearing in Super Bowl XXXVIII with them. On July 17, 2017, the team announced Dave Gettleman had been relieved as general manager. His predecessor, Marty Hurney, was hired as interim GM a day later. For the first time since 2011, the Panthers did not play the Seattle Seahawks during the regular season. The Panthers rebounded after a disappointing 2016 campaign, where they finished 6–10 and last in the NFC South. 2017 saw the Panthers qualify for the playoffs with an 11–5 record. However, they lost to the Saints 31–26 in the Wild Card round.

2018 Carolina Panthers season

The 2018 season was the Carolina Panthers' 24th in the National Football League and their eighth under head coach Ron Rivera. It was the team's first season without former assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who became head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason and former offensive coordinator Mike Shula, who became the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator of the New York Giants. The Panthers entered the season hoping to improve or match their 11–5 record from last year. After starting 6–2, the Panthers fell into a 7-game losing streak, failing to improve or match their previous season's record, and were eliminated from playoff contention following a loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16. Although they went a dismal 1–7 in the second half of the season, the Panthers managed to end on a high note by defeating their division rival the New Orleans Saints 33–14.

2019 Carolina Panthers season

The 2019 Carolina Panthers season will be franchise's 25th in the National Football League and their ninth under head coach Ron Rivera. They will try to improve upon their 7–9 record in 2018, and make it to the playoffs for the 8th time in franchise history. The Panthers will play in London for the first time this season as part of the NFL International Series. They will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it will be considered an away game for Carolina.

Buccaneers–Panthers rivalry

The Buccaneers–Panthers rivalry is between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.The two teams met for the first time in 1995 when the Panthers were an expansion team. In 2002, due to league-wide reorganization, the teams were moved into the newly formed NFC South division, and have played each other twice a year since then--once each at the Bucs' Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and the Panthers' Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The matchup immediately became popular, and by many accounts intensified into a heated rivalry starting in 2003.The two teams have yet to meet during the playoffs, and cannot play each other during the preseason under current NFL rules.

The annual games have been described by observers as "physical" and numerous players have suffered season-ending injuries. Among the most serious was Chris Simms, who suffered a ruptured spleen in 2006 and Kavika Pittman who suffered a career-ending knee injury. Return specialist Clifton Smith suffered concussions in both games in 2009, the first from a high hit by Dante Wesley, who was subsequently ejected and suspended for one game. In addition to hard-hitting play, considerable off-the-field squabbles and verbal skirmishes have provided bulletin board material, including a brouhaha between Brentson Buckner and Warren Sapp as well as the arrest of two Panthers cheerleaders in a Tampa-area bar.

Falcons–Panthers rivalry

The Falcons–Panthers rivalry is a rivalry between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. The rivalry began in 1995 when the Panthers joined as an expansion team. Both teams competed in the NFC West from 1995–2001 and the NFC South since its creation in 2002. Atlanta holds a 30–18 lead in the series. The two teams have not met in the playoffs.

The Falcons and Panthers have won a combined 11 division titles since 1995 and each have made two Super Bowl appearances: The Falcons in Super Bowls XXXIII and LI and the Panthers in Super Bowls XXXVIII and 50. Neither team has won a Super Bowl championship. Coincidentally, both teams lost their Super Bowls to the same two AFC teams: the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

It is also known as the "I-85 Rivalry" due to Atlanta and Charlotte being only four hours apart on Interstate 85. Games between the two teams feature large contingents of visiting fans in both cities.

Panthers–Seahawks rivalry

The Panthers-Seahawks rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) series between the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks. Both franchises have combined for 5 Super Bowl appearances, 23 playoff appearances, and 16 division championships (10 for Seattle and 6 for Carolina). Seattle leads the series 9–4, while matches between quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Cam Newton have drawn comparisons to the Tom Brady–Peyton Manning rivalry.

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Clemson Memorial Stadium
Home of the
Carolina Panthers

1996–present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
CenturyLink Field
Host of NFC Championship Game
2016
Succeeded by
Georgia Dome
Preceded by
Raymond James Stadium
Host of the
ACC Championship Game

2010–2015
Succeeded by
Camping World Stadium
Preceded by
Richmond Stadium
Host of the College Cup
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Columbus Crew Stadium
Franchise
Stadiums
Culture and lore
Rivalries
Hall of Honor
Wild card berths (2)
Division championships (6)
Conference championships (2)
Retired numbers
Media
Current league affiliations
Seasons (24)
American Football
Conference
National Football
Conference
Hall of Fame Game
Pro Bowl
International Series
Sports venues in Metrolina
Current
Future
Defunct
Division I
FBS
Division I
FCS
Division II
Division III
Years
Venues
Group stage
Quarter-finals
Semi-finals
Third-place playoff
Final
Music venues of North Carolina
Outdoor
Arenas
Theaters and clubs
Multi-venue complexes
Festivals

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