In the divisional round of the 2003 NFC Playoffs, the Carolina Panthers squandered an 11-point lead to the St. Louis Rams with three minutes left to play. The two teams were unable to score in the first overtime period so they went to a second. On the first play of the second overtime, Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme connected with receiver Steve Smith on a 69-yard pass play to win the game. As exciting and thrilling as that double-overtime, 29-23 victory was, the Panthers next game was quite the opposite. The Panthers easily dispatched a depleted Philadelphia Eagles team, 14-3, in the NFC Championship Game to advance to their first Super Bowl. Unfortunately for the Panthers and their fans, they came up short in Super Bowl XXXVIII losing to the New England Patriots, 32-29.
The Panthers are an NFL expansion team that began playing in 1995. They entered the league alongside the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Panthers play their home games at Bank of America Stadium located in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are aligned in the NFC South with rivals the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Some of the prominent Panthers players over the years include Julius Peppers, Wesley Walls, Kris Jenkins, Michael Bates, and Jon Beason. In 2011, the Panthers drafted quarterback Cam Newton with the first overall selection in the NFL Draft. Newton had a record-setting rooking year and was named rookie of the year.