The Carolina Panthers were founded in 1995 as an expansion team in the NFL. The Panthers were immediately successful, reaching the NFC championship in their second year as a team but fell to the Green Bay Packers.
After the 2001 NFL season in which Carolina secured only one win, John Fox was hired to be the team's head coach. By drafting wide receiver Steve Smith and defensive end Julius Peppers in back-to-back drafts, the Panthers acquired the pivotal pieces of their future.
After signing quarterback Jake Delhomme in the offseason, the Panthers went on a playoff upset run, earning a Super Bowl birth in 2003. Carolina lost to the New England Patriots on a game winning field goal.
Fox's last season saw the Panthers go 2-14, which benefited the squad as it gave them the first draft pick in 2011. The Panthers selected Heisman winner Cam Newton out of Auburn to lead for their foreseeable future.
Featuring the unique running and passing threat of Newton, the Panthers began to win division titles and successfully made it to a Super Bowl in 2016. The Panthers along with head coach Ron Rivers were beaten by the Denver Broncos and Carolina's record in championship matches fell to 0-2.