5 greatest moments in Carolina Panthers history ahead of 2021 season

(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme
(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Graham Gano /

Graham Gano’s 63-yard game-winning field goal in 2018

Through the first two months of the 2018 campaign, the Carolina Panthers were one of the best teams in all of football. At 6-2 midway through the year, it was their best start since the magical 2015 season, with a crucial game-winning special teams play coming in a Week 4 matchup against the New York Giants.

After the defense surrendered a go-ahead touchdown with just over a minute to play, Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense got the ball back down 31-30 with 1:08 to go.

Thanks to completions to youngsters D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey, Carolina advanced to the New York 45-yard line with six seconds remaining.

Down one point with the game on the line, head coach Ron Rivera had a decision to make: heave a last-second Hail Mary pass toward the end zone or trot his Pro-Bowl kicker out to attempt a 63-yard field goal – something that had been successfully done only five times prior in NFL history.

Rivera pushed the right button, as Graham Gano split the uprights with plenty of room to spare.

Unfortunately, the season would take a major hit a month later during a Thursday-night matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that shouldn’t overshadow the excitement that took place following Gano’s game-winner.

As you may recall, it was one of the loudest moments ever inside the walls of Bank of America Stadium, not to mention the fact that it was a near record-length kick.

The dogpile at midfield immediately after shows what Gano’s kick meant to the players, and remains one of the most memorable on-field and in-stadium displays of exhilaration in recent memory.

All things considered, the combination of fan and player excitement along with the nature of the kick (being the second-longest ever and as time expired) make this particular moment one of the most memorable in franchise history.