The number fifteen is not one which is rich is Carolina Panthers history. A grand total of three players have worn it according to the All Time Roster on the official site, all three were wide receivers. Bonus point if you can name them all?
Wallace Wright, Joe Adams, and Marvin McNutt. In total, they combined for a whopping one catch and seven yards. Adams also had a short stint as a kick returner but fumbled a fifth of them before being cut. Due to this shortage, today I'll doff my hat, so to speak, to our owner Jerry Richardson.
Tribute To The Big Cat
It was on this date a full 28 years ago, December 15 1987, on which Richardson officially announced his NFL Franchise bid, and the stadium effort. An effort which 8 years later saw the Carolina Panthers enter their inaugural NFL Season.
Richardson has been highly successful in just about everything he has set himself to throughout his life. The North Carolina native, graduated from high school in Fayetteville before heading to Wofford, South Carolina for college. He once had 241 receiving yards for Wofford in a single game, a record that still stands today. After a successful college career, Richardson entered the NFL draft, where he was selected in the 13th round by the reigning champions the Baltimore Colts. Whilst he didn't have a spectacular professional career as a player, he can still boast that he caught a touchdown pass from Johnny Unitas in the 1959 NFL Championship Game.
He then used his '59 Championship bonus to forge a successful business career for himself, opening Spartanburg's first Hardee's, co-founding Spartan Foods, and eventually becoming the CEO of Flagstar. It was from there he got involved in bringing an NFL side to the Carolinas. He eventually became the first ex player to own an NFL team since the iconic George Halas took control of the Chicago Bears.
The Big Cats' Approach
As an owner he tends to keep himself hidden away in the background and employs the right people to get the day-to-day business done. He was vocal during the 2014-15 off-season though, when he refused to resign Greg Hardy in the wake of the domestic violence charges brought against the defensive end. He defied the wishes of coaches and players in doing this, always stating "we do the right things". With Hindsight, you definitely did the right thing Jerry.
For that, and for everything else you have done for this organization. All the hard work you put in at the beginning and throughout. Thank you Jerry Richardson. Without you, Panther fans in Charlotte, and the Carolinas, across America, and even us over the Atlantic wouldn't be having such an amazing time watching this team play. Now let's add to the NFL Championship he won as a player, and deliver him a Super Bowl ring as an owner.