Raiders of the East: History of the Carolina Panthers Jersey

The Carolina Panthers jersey has very little history, even if the franchise started over a quarter-century ago. Much like another team that had joined the NFL somewhat recently, the Houston Texans (2002), the Panthers have taken a more traditional approach, with very little to no changes in their jersey since joining the NFL.

However, there’s a small side to the Panthers’ history that few NFL fans, or even die-hard Panther fans, know of, and that’s the fact the team’s prototype look contained some different elements.

A small part of the Panthers’ resistance to jersey change came from former owner Jerry Richardson, who was a self-described traditionalist, stating back in 2012 when the team made upgrades to their helmets that the uniforms won’t change.

 

Before 1995

Carolina Panthers’ Torrey Smith in a uniform close to the 1995 road prototype. Photo by Keith Allison.

The Panthers debuted in 1995, but in an October 1994 press conference, the jerseys looked slightly different. The home look was originally going to the Carolina blue jersey similar to what the team ultimately opted for. The numbering was silver along with black and white trim as outlines. The vertical shoulder striping was black and outlined in silver. TV numbers on the shoulders were black with silver outlines while the Panthers’ helmet logo appeared on the sleeves.

On the road whites, the black numbering was outlined in white and again in Carolina blue. Vertical shoulder sleeves were black, outlined in Carolina blue, as were the TV numbers. The helmet logo on the sleeves also appeared.

As one can see at the link, these jerseys and entire uniform combination wasn’t strikingly different from what the team settled on. In fact, in the 2018 preseason, the Panthers wore a uniform similar to the home prototype. Also, the image provided shows the team’s uniform combination worn against the Washington Redskins on October 14th, 2018, depicting the Panthers in a uniform resembling the away prototype.

 

1995-Present

So, the Panthers ultimately opted for the following looks:

Home

Black jersey, white numbering, Carolina blue trim, white TV numbers with blue trim, Carolina blue vertical striping, silver trim, helmet logo on the sleeves.

Road

White jersey, black numbering, Carolina blue trim, black TV numbers, Carolina blue trim, Carolina blue vertical striping, black trim, helmet logo on sleeves.

Alternate

In 2002, the Panthers unveiled a Carolina blue alternate. The alternate included a Carolina blue base, white numbers, black trim, white TV numbers, black trim, black vertical stripes, silver trim, helmet logo on sleeves.

Carolina Panthers 2002-Present Alternate Jerseys

Again, these jerseys have seen very little to no change, except for one in 2012 when the team added the phrase ‘Keep Pounding’ to the inside of their jersey collar, a nod to Sam Mills, who died of intestinal cancer in 2005.

Per this article, Mills reportedly told the team, “When I found out I had cancer, there were two things I could do – quit or keep pounding. I’m a fighter. I kept pounding. You’re fighters, too. Keep pounding!”

The phrase has since become the team’s official slogan.

It should also be noted that while I don’t dive incredibly far into the whole uniform sector, that the Panthers have, despite the unchanging jerseys, worn several uniform combinations, especially in 2018. Including preseason, the team wore an astounding nine different uniform combinations, earning them a moniker of the “Oregon Ducks of the NFL.” The NCAA’s Oregon Ducks football team is known for breaking out in a new uniform every week.

 

Shop Carolina Panthers gear at FansEdge!

 

My Take

Carolina Panthers home jersey

While I nod teams who tend to be unchanging, the problem with the Panthers’ look is that it’s stuck in the 1990s. Carolina blue is fantastic and it’s something they should upgrade to primary rather than leave at alternate status. Also, perhaps focus more on Carolina blue as opposed to black, which would give the team a unique look throughout NFL circles, perhaps even resembling the North Carolina Tar Tells, whose primary color is of a similar, yet lighter shade of Carolina blue.

The look isn’t terrible, but it can definitely use an upgrade. I would love to see a road jersey donning Carolina blue numbering and black outlines, matching the team’s vertical shoulder striping.

Related Article: The Carolina Panthers Helmet History

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8 comments

  1. I am a huge football fan and I always enjoy sitting back my computer and reading about teams, their history, their appearances, news, etc.

    I never knew the history of Carolina Panthers Jersey and despite small, it was very interesting.

    By the way, blue numbering and black outlines would indeed be a nice upgrade to their current jersey…

    1. Definitely a smaller history here, Harry, but an enticing one when you go back and study the prototypes. I’m a big fan of looking at unused prototypes and once the basic content of this site is built, I’ll be heading in exactly that direction. 

  2. You have to give the Carolina Panthers team some credit for not making changes to their uniforms every few years or more often as some teams have, but the colors and design they are using are a bit dated to many people. I do not mind, but like that they are mixing up the combinations of the rest of the uniform while leaving the jersey largely unchanged.  

    The team always is a threat to my team when they play one another, and the jersey is a part of that for me. I remember the tight games that we have had, and the way the Carolina Panthers can bring the smoke, and the uniform jerseys that so not change bring that back.

    Maybe it is a time to update the jerseys so I can scour the memory of the close games that we lost, and the ones that were nailbiters (most of them), but I doubt they will make the change soon, it seems they are pretty set on sticking with what they have to now. I am looking forward to seeing the season get started again, so we can see these jerseys and a bunch of other team’s jerseys!

    1. Hi, Dave, I definitely give them credit for this. Especially when it comes to temptation. When so many other teams adopted a fourth jersey for the NFL Color Rush, the Panthers simply opted for Carolina Blue pants over their current alternate jerseys. I think in the Panthers’ case, however, they can use some upgrading, perhaps to something more traditional so they can stand the test of time. More basic shoulder and pants trim would be a great place to begin, and an addition of more Carolina blue would be king. 

  3. I really like blue and various shades of blue. So I really like the Panthers jersey. I am not a fan of Carolina but when they play a team that I don’t root for I tend to favor them because I like their jersey. I know Cam Newton has helped jersey sales the last couple of years. I don’t know how much because he is a polarizing sports figure.

    1. Newton has definitely helped increase jersey sales since his rookie season and remains a polarizing player among league circles. He’s definitely the franchise guy. 

  4. Hi, Todd.
    There is so much in every accessory and clothes of famous football teams across the world, I was unaware of. Thanks for sharing the history of Carolina Panthers Jersey.
    I liked their Alternate version the best as it has an appeal to be different among NFL  League. It should become their main appeal.
    Keep Pounding !!
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    1. I agree, Gaurav. The alternate look is so unique to the Panthers that I would make it the primary look tomorrow. Sadly, they won’t be in time to notify the NFL in 2019 but one can always hope for 2020. 

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