December 4th. On this day back in 2011 Cam Newton was breaking records (what's new?) He set the single season record for rushing Touchdowns by a quarterback when he ran for THREE scores versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If you have been reading this series you may remember that was the total number Jimmy Clausen threw for the entire previous season, but I digress...
Cam threw another touchdown in the same game and led the Panthers to a 38-19 win over the Bucs, his first ever win over an NFC South opponent. The first of many. But this game isn't the focus of today's article. How can we mention #4 without focussing on one of the greatest Panthers ever? I'm of course looking at:
Fittingly on the day our current kicker, Graham Gano, was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month we focus on our greatest ever kicker. John Kasay played in 15 of the Panthers first 16 seasons in the NFL, missing the 2000 season entirely due to injury. If you look at any list of Panthers kicking records you'll see his name plastered all over it. His 1,472 points make him the franchises leading points scorer, with nearly four times as many as Steve Smith in second place. In fact, if you combine the scores of Smith, DeAngelo Williams, Muhsin Muhammad, and Gano (the next four top scorers), you get 1,362. Still 110 points adrift. His tally leaves him 9th on the all-time NFL points scoring list.
For comprehension 1,472 points equates to:
- a player scoring 245 touchdowns
- 490 Field Goals
- 2.5 times as many points as the season record in the NFL (2007 Patriots)
- More points than both Johnny Manziel and Ryan Mallett have career passing yards
During the 2003 season and the Panthers march to their first Super Bowl appearance Kasay made 32 of 38 field goals, an 84.2%. Whilst a decent record but nothing special the impressive part of it was that 20 of those kicks (63%) changed the lead in the given game. 9 of them provided the margin of victory for the Panthers. His Super Bowl performance was very much a mixed bag however. He made a field goal from 50 yards as time expired in the first half cutting the Panthers deficit to 10-14, and he nailed both his extra points, including the one to tie the game and seemingly send the Super Bowl to overtime for the first time ever. Unfortunately he then skewed the kickoff out of bounds and gave Tom Brady better field position and depressingly we all know the rest.
Despite that disappointment Kasay was a true legend for the Panthers. He was as committed as anybody could ever want a player. He was consistent, and he was very good at his job. No conversation about the greatest Panther ever would ever be complete with mentioning his name.