Scott Fowler

Carolina Panthers dominate readers’ top Charlotte sporting memories

Chad Cota (37) -- being mobbed by teammates -- had the game-winning interception against Pittsburgh in 1996 that clinched the Panthers’ first-ever division championship and playoff berth. That game, won 18-14 by Carolina, was among those fans voted for as the most memorable sporting event they have ever seen in Charlotte.
Chad Cota (37) -- being mobbed by teammates -- had the game-winning interception against Pittsburgh in 1996 that clinched the Panthers’ first-ever division championship and playoff berth. That game, won 18-14 by Carolina, was among those fans voted for as the most memorable sporting event they have ever seen in Charlotte. 1996 Staff photo

I asked readers to tell me the best sporting event they had ever seen in the Charlotte area via email or Twitter (@scott_fowler). Here are a few of the responses (my editorial comments are in parentheses).

@DavidSalmonsen wrote: Jake Delhomme 1st game, coming off bench to throw TD to Ricky Proehl in closing seconds of home game (Jacksonville in 2003)

@AndrewECoen wrote: Tom Malchow breaking the 200 Fly world record at the Charlotte ultraswim in 2000. (This world-class meet, now called the Arena Pro Swim Series at Charlotte, will be contested Thursday through Sunday this week and again will feature dozens of former Olympians, including Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte)

@brofro86 wrote: Panthers/Saints in 2013 in pouring rain. As loud as stadium has ever been, 72k embracing monsoon, incredibly fun

@myAgentMP wrote: CofC beating UNC when they were ranked #3 in the Food Lion MVP Classic in 1998. We rushed the court!

@DarwinBrandis wrote: Home game vs. the Pats a couple years back. Me, my old college roommates, and a random elderly lady. We had a blast in row 1.

Robert Rowell wrote: Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan playing the Wells Fargo (then Wachovia) Pro Am together (in 2007). … Charlotte was blessed to have two iconic figures in their respective sport play our tournament.

There was so much electricity in the air that day! The crowds were enormous!! Cameras clicking, people pushing and positioning themselves to get a glimpse of these two global stars. CMS had a lot of absences because a lot of kids were there on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon. It was a moment in time I’ll never forget.

Al Irwin wrote: My greatest sporting event in person in Charlotte was in 1996, when the Panthers beat the Steelers to win the NFC West title.

David Ritterskamp wrote: I was at the stadium in ’96 when the Panthers played Tampa Bay. Trent Dilfer was quarterbacking and the score was 24-0. The game was completely out of reach, the second string defense was on the field, it was cold and rainy, and there were only about 24,000 people left in the stadium. … The first-string defense was on the sidelines and you could see them basically begging coach Dom (Capers) to let them back on the field.

Finally you see Dom wave his hand. The crowd loses their mind, the first-string defense runs out on the field and basically tosses the second string out of the way, and from about the 4 Tampa tries to score so it won’t be a shutout. First down – second down – third down, no luck. We’re all losing our minds. Tampa tries to throw the ball on fourth down, one of the DBs knocks it down, and the place just comes apart at the seams.

This week’s question

What is your favorite summer sport to play or watch and why? Feel free to be creative. Email responses to sfowler@charlotteobserver.com or tweet to @Scott_Fowler

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