At least that's what we're told every year. If the Redskins win the Super Bowl every April, the Panthers win it every August. However, most casual NFL observers don't realize how much of a longstanding tradition is the Panthers Super Bowl pick. Here follows an abbreviated history:
390 B.C. - Beyond inuring them to the ways of logic and reasoning via his dialectics, Socrates introduces the youth of Athens to gambling on pro football and buggery. His eventual execution by hemlock, generally understood today as the result of charges of corruption of youth and impiety, was actually because his constant Panther boosting roiled the considerable Buccaneer fanbase in Athens.
1430 A.D. - The Aztecs develop primitive methods of arithmetic, astrology and NFL prognostication -- specifically, which years the Panthers will win the Super Bowl. Understandably, years later, they are overtaken by some Spaniard claiming to be a rain god or some shit.
1864 A.D. - Major General William Tecumseh Sherman cuts a swath of destruction through the South, wreaking havoc and levelling Atlanta. To soothe hurt feelings, he says at least he thinks the Panthers will win the Super Bowl that year.
1946 A.D. - British Prime Minister Winston Churchill foretells an Iron Curtain descending over Europe. And a Panther dynasty, any year now.
1959 A.D. - Jerry Richardson, future owner of the Panthers, boasts of Carolina's chances in the Super Bowl that year. It's somewhat bittersweet then when his Colts win the title.
1968 A.D. - The Beatles record The White Album. Zealous fans interpret the John Lennon-penned song "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" to contain a subtle prediction that the Panthers will go to the Super Bowl. Mark David Chapman, a fervid Panther fan, assassinates Lennon years later for costing him thousands in gambling losses.
1995 A.D. - In a surprising twist, no one picks Carolina to go to the Super Bowl.
1996 A.D. - Despite assurances from the Illuminati that the Panthers will go to the Super Bowl, Carolina loses to Green Bay in the NFC Championship. Quarterback Kerry Collins blames a "vast Negro conspiracy" for the team's defeat. Sen. Jesse Helms quietly nods in assent.
2003 A.D. - Following millennia of broken promises, the Panthers reach Super Bowl XXXVIII, losing to the New England Patriots 32-29. Carolina fans take solace when their much beloved Hurricanes reign surpreme two years later.
Today - Buoyed by the Panthers appearance in the Super Bowl, NFL gurus redouble their Panther picking, saying they will win divisions they aren't in and sports they don't play. Even when it becomes certain that Carolina will not win a title in any given year, some hold out hope. Paul Zimmerman was overheard saying, as Hines Ward scored the clinching TD over Seattle in Super Bowl XL, that "I still think the Panthers'll pull this one out."