The Carolina Panthers is a professional football team from Charlotte, North Carolina (USA), playing in the South Division of the National Football Conference. But where does the name Carolina Panthers come from, what is its origin?
The Beginnings of the Carolina Panthers
The history of the Carolina Panthers goes back to 15th December 1987, when succesful entrepreneur and former Baltimore Colts’ wide receiver Jerry Richardson announced a bid for a NFL expansion in the Carolinas. The ex-football player had invested his earnings in the Hardee’s restaurant chain and later he became President of TW Services. Richardson, a North Carolina native, got inspired by George Shinn, who was succsful with his expansion-bid for a NBA team in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Jerry Richardson founded Richardson Sports, a partnership that included himself, his family and a group of limited partners, consisting of businessmen from both Carolinas.
In 1993, after 20 years of not admitting any new teams to the NFL, it was decided to expand the NFL with two new teams and the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars were allowed to start in the 1995 season.
Carolina Panthers name origin
The name Carolina Panthers (nickname Panthers) is not related to the faune in North or South Carolina and the team owners did also not run any focus groups with potential fans. It had always been the intention of Jerry Richardson and his family to name the Carolina NFL team the Carolina Panthers.
According to Mark Richardson, son of owner Jerry Richardson and President of the Panthers, the name signifies what the family thinks a team should be: powerful, sleek and strong. In 1993, that choice initially came under scrutiny, because during various NFL meetings, representatives raised concerns that a team with the nickname Panthers and black in its color scheme would appeal to street gangs and would reflect poorly on the National Football League.
NFL team for both Carolinas
Although the Carolina Panthers have played their home games since 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina, the team has support from both Carolinas. They played their home games during the first NFL season at Memorial Stadiumm in Clemson, South Carolina and their annual training camp takes place in Spartanburg (SC) at Wofford College.