When the Panthers host the Denver Broncos at home on Sunday night, they’ll be facing the first team in franchise history to play in the Super Bowl.
That’s the case for the Panthers this year, too, as they’ll host the first-ever AFC Championship Game.
The Panthers are currently second in the AFC South behind the Atlanta Falcons, and have a 3-1 record in the division this season.
For a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2004, that’s an impressive run, and a big reason for optimism heading into the playoffs.
That success has been led by head coach Ron Rivera, who is known as the “Carrion Cat” for his ferocious defense and explosive offense.
The defensive coordinator also led the Panthers to the NFC Championship Game in 2015 and 2016, and is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the game.
He was the Panthers’ head coach from 2013 to 2016, serving as the team’s defensive coordinator from 2011 to 2016.
Rivera won Super Bowl XLIX in his first season as a head coach, which was also the first time he was an offensive coordinator in his career.
He also led Carolina to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, but in 2017, the Panthers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets.
This is Rivera’s first season with a division title.
This is the first year that the Panthers will be hosting an AFC Championship, and it will be Rivera’s second year as the head coach.
Rivera led the team to the Superbowl in his second season with the team, but was fired following the 2015 season.
He then became the head football coach at the University of North Carolina, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 2019.
He’s coached in two NFL Championship Games, winning in 2009.
In his two seasons as the Panthers head coach Rivera has a record of 2-2, but the team has made the playoffs once in his three seasons in the NFL.
He has never made it to the conference championship game.
After winning Super Bowl LI in 2017 and winning Superbowl XLVI in 2017 with Cam Newton as their quarterback, the Carolina Panthers have never missed the postseason, and are one of only three teams to have made it all the way to the postseason in the past two decades.
That said, the team hasn’t been able to get to the divisional round since 2010, when they went 4-12 and missed the playoffs for the first four years of Rivera’s tenure.
This season, they’re going to be without Newton, and the Panthers have been losing key players.
The team has been struggling to fill key roles at running back and receiver, and offensive lineman J.J. Dielman and cornerback Jalen Mills are both injured, leaving the Panthers with only three offensive linemen on the roster.
Carolina has struggled to replace those key players, and their loss of the three best players on their roster will be devastating.
This could be the season that the Carolina Panther rebuild takes shape.
The Panthers are not the first franchise to play a Super Bowl on Sunday.
The Seattle Seahawks played the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002, and Seattle went on to win that game, the NFL’s second championship.
The first Super Bowl played on Sunday in modern history took place in 1968, and that was the first game that the Superstars were played at the Meadowlands.
It was played between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, who went on the road to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first ever Super Bowl in the West.
The game was played in the middle of the night, and was played without live television coverage.
In that game the Broncos won, 24-24.
The following year, the Patriots played the Chicago Bears in Super 16, and won, 27-23.
That year the Steelers won Super 16 again, 28-23, and in 1969, the Rams played the Washington Redskins in Super 24, and beat them 31-20.
The 1970 season saw the first SuperBowl played on a Sunday, as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Kansas State Wildcats in Super 12.
The Eagles won Super 14, and again in 1974, the Steelers defeated the Detroit Lions, 27.3-10.
The 1976 season saw a new Super Bowl for the NFL, this time in Seattle, and this time the Seattle SuperSonics played the Dallas Cowboys in Super 32.
In both of those games the Seahawks won, 30-20, and came away with the SuperSonic’s first Superbowl title.
The 1980 season saw Super Bowl XIX in Denver, where the St. Louis Rams beat the Seattle Supersonics 38-31.
The 1981 season saw an NFL championship in Seattle that year.
The 1977 season saw one of its most memorable games ever, when the New York Giants beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-14 in Super 17.
The 1988 season saw three Super Bowls played on Sundays, and all three were won by the Panthers.
The 1990 season saw Carolina lose a Super bowl to the