n 2003, few had earmarked the Carolina Panthers as a threat to go to Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. And 15 years later, the road that the “Cardiac Cats” took to the first Super Bowl appearance in Panthers history feels just as improbable as it did back then. But all these years later, the 2003 Carolina Panthers are living proof of a classic football mantra shared by their quarterback.
“We felt we had a chance. And that’s the thing about the NFL,” said Jake Delhomme. “All you have to do is get in (the playoffs). That’s all you have to do. And then once you get in, anything can happen.”
Speaking Monday on WFNZ’s Wilson & Parcell, Delhomme talked at-length about his Super Bowl experience, which had come at the end of a whirlwind season. Delhomme, a backup with the New Orleans Saints, had been a free agent pickup by the Panthers who first took to the field midway through their Week One opener. From there, the Panthers claimed the NFC South at an 11-5 record on the back of countless close games, which set up a playoff run that saw them upset the Dallas Cowboys, win a double-overtime thriller against the St. Louis Rams, and stun the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC Championship and advance to the Super Bowl.