RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Ten facts and other nuggets of knowledge surrounding the Carolina Panthers and their second Super Bowl trip.
1. There are six players in Super Bowl 50 with local ties. North Carolina and Duke have two each while N.C. State and Wake Forest both have one.
Carolina: Tre Boston (North Carolina) and Jerricho Cotchery (N.C. State)
Denver: Kenny Anunike (Duke), Josh Bush (Wake Forest), Juwan Thompson (Duke) and Sylvester Williams (North Carolina).
2. Both Carolina and Denver lost in their last Super Bowl appearances. The Panthers dropped a heartbreaker to New England in 2004 while the Broncos were routed by Seattle two seasons ago. In both games, the losing head coach was John Fox.
3. Fox is the winningest head coach in Carolina history with 73 victories. Current Panthers head coach Ron Rivera ranks second with 47 wins in five seasons.
4. When Carolina earned its first NFC title in January 2004 with a 14-3 road win at Philadelphia, the Eagles’ linebacker coach was Rivera. The Panthers also won a road playoff game against their current head coach in 2006 when Carolina beat Chicago 29-21 at Soldier Field. While with the Indianapolis Colts, current-Denver quarterback Peyton Manning won his only Super Bowl the following year with a 29-17 triumph over Chicago. Rivera was the defensive coordinator for the Bears that season.
5. Rivera has coached against Denver only once while with the Panthers. The Broncos defeated Carolina 36-14 in Charlotte on November 11, 2012. While an assistant with San Diego (2007-10), Rivera’s teams won six-of-eight games versus Denver.
6. Super Bowl 50 will mark the eighth appearance for Denver in the NFL’s ultimate game. The Broncos are 2-5 in their previous seven trips. Carolina has reached the playoffs seven times in team history. The Panthers are 9-6 overall in the postseason.
7. Denver head coach Gary Kubiak spent seven-plus seasons in charge of Houston (replacing former Carolina head coach Dom Capers after the 2005 season). Kubiak went up against Carolina twice while with the Texans, winning on the road in 2007 and falling to the Panthers at home in 2011.
8. Cam Newton is trying to join Joe Namath (Alabama 1964/New York Jets 1969) and Joe Montana (Notre Dame 1977/San Francisco 1981, 1985, 1989 and 1990) as the only starting quarterbacks to win both a national title and a Super Bowl. Ken Stabler (Alabama 1965) and Troy Aikman (Oklahoma 1985) won Super Bowls but played sparingly on their respective college national championship teams. Newton, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, won a national championship with Auburn in 2010.
9. Carolina began play in 1995 and the Panthers sport a 166-169-1 overall record. Denver started in the A.F.L in 1960 and joined the N.F.L after the two leagues merged following the 1969 campaign. The Broncos are 456-386-10 in 56 seasons of play.
10. The Panthers first made the playoffs in 1996, losing the N.F.C Championship Game to Green Bay. Carolina returned to the postseason in 2003 and made its lone Super Bowl appearance. It took Denver eight years to reach the playoffs after the merger in 1970. The Broncos won the A.F.C. title in 1977 before losing in their first trip to Super Bowl to the Dallas Cowboys.