Sunday, July 29, 2012

Long before Charlotte set its sights on hosting the 2012 Democratic National Convention, it focused on other lofty goals like landing an NFL franchise. As you know, the city accomplished that when the Carolina Panthers were born in 1995. On this day, July 29, of that year, the Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, the NFL's other expansion team, played each other in each team's first-ever preseason game. That contest was the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio and the Panthers won 20-14. In honor of this day, NFL Films put together a great video recapping that game (click here to watch -- it wouldn't allow me to embed). It also digs back into the vaults to include footage of the NFL commissioner announcing that the Carolina Panthers had been unanimously selected as a new franchise, how Charlotteans rejoiced, and shows team owner Jerry Richardson thanking all of the people in Charlotte and the Carolinas who bought those 40,000 PSLs (personal seat licenses) for the inaugural season.

The 1995 Carolina Panthers.

If you want to do some more reminiscing on that inaugural Panthers team, click here to read the article I wrote two years ago for the "Where Are They Now?" August 2010 issue of Charlotte magazine. I gave updates on all 25 starters and the head coach of that 1995 team.

Now as for the current Panthers team, they play their first preseason game of the 2012 season on Saturday, August 11, at 7 p.m., against the Houston Texans at Bank of America Stadium. A week earlier, on Saturday, August 4, the Panthers host their annual Fan Fest. The all-day event is free and open to the public, and will feature the Blue 5K Road Race, interactive games, face painting, visits by the TopCats and Sir Purr, and a team practice with your favorite players like Cam Newton, Steve Smith, and Jon Beason.


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