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Carolina Panthers

Strickly Panthers: Super Bowl connections


Families everywhere will gather around the television Sunday to watch Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Carolina Panthers aren't in this year's Super Bowl, but they still have plenty of reasons to tune in:

The Packers have three former Panthers on their coaching staff.

Dom Capers, the first head coach in team history, is Green Bay's defensive coordinator. Kevin Greene, a former Panthers linebacker who still holds the team record for sacks in a season with 15 in 1998, is outside linebackers coach. And Mike Trgovac, Carolina's defensive coordinator from 2002-08 and its defensive line coach in 2001, is the Packers' defensive line coach.

No former Panthers players are on the Green Bay or Pittsburgh rosters, but there is some brotherly love in play. Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins – the younger brother of former Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins – will go up against Steelers right guard Chris Kemoeatu, whose younger brother, Ma'ake, played for the Panthers.

Kris Jenkins is now with the New York Jets. Ma'ake Kemoeatu is with the Washington Redskins.

Panthers quarterback Brian St. Pierre played for the Steelers in four of his first five NFL seasons.

The one season in that stretch in which the Steelers went to the Super Bowl (following the 2005 season) was the one that St. Pierre wasn't with the Steelers. He eventually, however, participated in a Super Bowl – against the Steelers. St. Pierre was Arizona's third quarterback two years ago when the Cardinals lost 27-23 to Pittsburgh.

St. Pierre is one of five Carolina players to take part in the Super Bowl, but no current player has won a Super Bowl.

The Panthers still have three players on the roster from their 32-29 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII: wide receiver Steve Smith, kicker John Kasay and left tackle Jordan Gross. Also, linebacker Jamar Williams was on injured reserve with Chicago when the Bears lost to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI following the 2006 season.

The Panthers, on the other hand, have six coaches on their new staff who have won Super Bowls – four as players. 

Head coach Ron Rivera was a linebacker on the Bears' Super Bowl XX championship team, and both running backs coach John Settle and assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown played for the Redskins when they won Super Bowl XXVI. Also, offensive consultant Ricky Preohl won Super Bowl XXXIV with the St. Louis Rams.

Defensive backfield coach Ron Meeks was Colts defensive coordinator for their Super Bowl XLI victory, and offensive line coach John Matsko coached the offensive line for the St. Louis Rams when they won Super Bowl XXXIV.

All told, Panthers coaches are 7-6 in Super Bowls. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott (Super Bowl XXXIX with Philadelphia Eagles) is the lone coach to compete in a Super Bowl still seeking his first ring.

Three of the six losses came in one game: Proehl, Matsko and Meeks lost Super Bowl XXXVI with the Rams.

Amazingly, 2011 likely will mark the 12th consecutive season that the Panthers face the reigning Super Bowl champions in either the regular season or preseason. They are set to host Green Bay and have had a standing preseason date with Pittsburgh since 2004.

If the Packers win, the Panthers will face the champs in the regular season for the eighth season in that stretch, compiling a 5-5 record. They won the first five meetings but have lost the last five, including two losses to the New Orleans Saints last season.

If the Steelers win, the Panthers would face the champs in the preseason. Carolina is 3-2 in preseason meetings during the streak.

The last time the Panthers didn't face the reigning champs was 1999, following the Denver Broncos' second title in as many years.

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