I've noticed a lot of construction equipment and hard hats around Bank of America Stadium on my daily commute. What's going on? – Bob in Charlotte
Construction crews are hitting the ground running for the fourth consecutive offseason. This time around, the 100 level concourse will get a facelift similar to what the 500 level received last year, a new look that will streamline concessions and upgrade the options available to fans. In addition, the six lounges that serve Silver Club Seats holders will get a makeover, and the exclusive 10/26 Club and Silver Club Terrace will be new options for the 2017 season.
One of the first events after this renovation will be the September 2 college football matchup between North Carolina State and South Carolina. With the recent announcement that Appalachian State will "host" East Carolina at Bank of America Stadium to kick off the 2021 season, the stadium is now set to host an early-season college game every year through 2023, save for 2022.
Which position has the most responsibility for a successful franchise – owner, general manager or head coach? And how are dynasties created, with teams like the Patriots, Steelers and Packers consistently having winning seasons? That's probably the multi-million dollar question, but they do seem to have a recipe. Win or lose, the Panthers are still the classiest team playing the game! Keep Pounding! - Lisa in Kemptville, Ontario
As you might imagine, there's no simple answer to your question, but one word that comes to mind is stability. The ownership situations in New England, Pittsburgh and Green Bay – three of the four teams vying Sunday for a Super Bowl 52 berth – are as steady as they come. The three head coaches are all among the five longest-tenured in the league, and the three general managers are all among the top 10 in tenure. They've also built successfully over time through the draft: At the end of the 2015 season, all three ranked among the top eight teams in the NFL in terms of starters that they originally drafted according to Cleveland.com. That sort of stability in and of itself can breed success, though it also is only fair to note that the powers that be have been allowed to remain unchanged because they've consistently won.
The Panthers, by the way, have stable ownership, the ninth-longest tenured head coach in Ron Rivera and were tied for eighth in 2015 with 12 starters that they originally drafted. Just four seasons into his tenure, Dave Gettleman is already in the middle of the pack in terms of tenure among general managers, and the stability he brings is stronger than that given that he kept the entire personnel department intact upon his arrival.
Technically, the Panthers are still seeking back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history, but that seems like a technicality given they still reached the playoffs three consecutive years. Only three teams – New England, Green Bay and Seattle – managed to make the playoffs for a least a fourth consecutive time this postseason.
Hi, Bryan. With Coach Wilks being promoted to defensive coordinator, will we possibly see Charles Tillman become the secondary coach? Hope you guys have a good offseason. – James in Atlanta
Tillman did a touch of coaching in the form of a consulting role last season, spending a couple of weeks showing the Panthers secondary some tricks of the trade he acquired over 13 NFL seasons. Tillman spent that final year in 2015 with the Panthers but spent his first 12 with the Bears. He signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the Bears upon his retirement and was a commentator for Chicago's FOX affiliate throughout the season.
Tillman doesn't officially have coaching experience but certainly seems to have the acumen – much like he also has for television work. It isn't clear if he has interest or if there is interest coming from the Panthers, who could want to go for more of a veteran coach or perhaps for continuity in the form of current assistant Curtis Fuller. With Ricky Proehl's resignation, the Panthers also looking for their next wide receivers coach. Time, as they say, will tell.