Former Carolina Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson Passes Away at 86
The Carolina Panthers announced the sad news that former owner Jerry Richardson had passed away on Thursday afternoon. At his home in Charlotte, Richardson, 86, passed away.
Richardson was the founder and former owner of the Carolina Panthers, and had been the owner of the team until he sold it to David and Nicole Tepper in 2018. He was forced to sell the team to Tepper for a then NFL-record $2.275 billion after the 2017 season amid allegations of sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace.
Richardson became the first former NFL player to own a team since Chicago's George Halas when he landed the expansion Panthers in 1993. 1995 marked the Panthers' inaugural season. Under Richardson, the Panthers reached two Super Bowls and three NFC title games, making the playoffs eight times. In 2015, the Panthers achieved a record of 15-1, however they lost to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
Richardson had proclaimed that the Panthers would secure a Super Bowl victory within a decade of their 1995 establishment, yet they failed to do so. The team made it to the Super Bowl in 2003 and 2015, however, they were unsuccessful in both attempts.
Richardson was born in 1936 in Spring Hope, North Carolina. At Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, he was a standout tight end and still holds the school's single-game record for receiving yards (241 against Newberry College in 1956). In 1958, the Baltimore Colts chose him in the 13th round of the NFL Draft.
Subsequently, Richardson held the position of CEO at Flagstar, eventually transforming it into the sixth biggest food service company in America. He achieved success in the restaurant industry, rising to the position of CEO of Flagstar, the sixth largest food service company in the United States back then.
In 2020, a 13-foot statue of Richardson, complete with a football and two panthers on either side, was taken out of Bank of America Stadium. In 2016, the Panthers LLC minority partners gave Richardson a gift for his 80th birthday.
Thursday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on the passing of Richardson:
“Jerry Richardson’s contributions to professional football in the Carolinas are historic. Upon the Panthers' entry into the NFL in 1995, the sports scene in the area was altered, and followers of the National Football League had a team they could now call their own. I am so appreciative of his graciousness when I bought the team.
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7. “Ex-NFL Owner Jerry Richardson Dead At 86” TMZ, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.tmz.com/2023/03/02/ex-nfl-owner-jerry-richardson-dead-at-86/
8. “Former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson dies at 86” Yahoo Sports, 2 Mar. 2023, https://sports.yahoo.com/former-panthers-owner-jerry-richardson-191624468.html
9. “Carolina Panthers Founder Jerry Richardson Passes Away At 86” WCCB Charlotte, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.wccbcharlotte.com/2023/03/02/carolina-panthers-founder-jerry-richardson-passes-away-at-86/
10. “Panthers founder Jerry Richardson has died at the age of 86” WXII12 Winston-Salem, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.wxii12.com/article/north-carolina-panthers-founder-jerry-richardson-dies-nfl/43165135