If you are a new fan of the Carolina Panthers, welcome. Today I'd like to invite you to learn about our motto, Keep Pounding, that came from the late Sam Mills Jr. Hopefully after this you'll understand that it's more than our motto, it's how we live.
Sam Mills Jr., The Spirit of the Carolina Panthers
Mills: "When I found out I had cancer, there were two things I could do – quit or keep pounding," Mills told the team at one point. "I’m a fighter. I kept pounding. You’re fighters, too. Keep pounding!"
Those were the words Sam Mills said to the Carolina Panthers the night before a first-round home playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys following the 2003 regular season.
The former Carolina linebacker had been diagnosed with intestinal cancer hours before showing up to coach the linebackers for the 2003 preseason finale. Given only a couple of months to live, he didn't miss a game that season.
On the Thursday before the Super Bowl, after yet another round of chemotherapy, Mills flew to Houston to be with the team. At a news conference with linebacker Mark Fields, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease earlier in training camp, you could tell he was weak.
Sweating and holding onto the podium to support his 5-foot-9 frame, Mills said, "You have your good days and your bad days. I am just glad I am having days, you know?''
Mills passed away in 2005 at the age of 45, but his "Keep Pounding'' message lives on. The words are inscribed in the weight room at Bank of America Stadium, and in large letters by the team meeting rooms.
They are on the inside collar of every jersey.
The mantra permeates throughout the entire organization
“This was one of the bigger victories that we have had since I have been here. One of the things that stood out and one of the things that l liked today was the resiliency. One of the things that I told the guys on the sideline was to keep pounding. One of the things that I told Cam was just to take it one at a time. Let’s get one score at a time. Let’s not press it ... We turned the ball over unfortunately and you do that against good football teams, your going to lose. Fortunately enough for us, the defense held and forced field goals. When you forced field goals, you give yourself a chance to win. Ron Rivera on the win in Seattle
Mike Tolbert has heard the critics question the legitimacy of the Carolina Panthers’ unbeaten start to the season. The veteran fullback laughs it off, saying he couldn’t care less. “You can doubt us all you want,” Tolbert said. “We’re just going to keep pounding, just like our motto says.”
"Because we’re resilient," Josh Norman said. "We kept pounding. We believed until the end. Even a 5 a.m. wake up call out in the rain. That’s what’s up. That’s cool. Even when we were down by 10 or 13. That’s cool. We kept pounding. We kept pounding regardless. The fact of the matter is the scoreboard. Down the last play of the game, 2 minutes, they ran it with excellent execution. Funchess came back and made some excellent plays after he dropped some. The epitome of Keep Pounding is this team. … I don’t know what else to say to you guys. The analysts want to keep picking us to lose, keep picking us to lose. We appreciate that."
More than a motto, it's a way of life
Keep Pounding Drummer
Immediately following the coin toss before every home game, an honorary drummer rallies the entire stadium by hitting the massive six-foot Keep Pounding Drum four times to signify four quarters. Keep Pounding Drummers come from a variety of backgrounds and occupations, but all have overcome a great trial or adversity that has not only made them strong but also pushes them to make others around them stronger.
Levine Children's Hospital Visits
Through a partnership with Carolinas Medical Center, the Carolina Panthers make monthly visits to Levine Children's Hospital, including a special visit by the Rookie Class in October to celebrate Halloween.
Keep Pounding 5.1 Blood Drive
The Carolina Panthers and Community Blood Center of the Carolinas host the Keep Pounding 5.1 Blood Drive annually on May 1. The date pays tribute to late Panthers player and coach Sam Mills, who coined the phrase "Keep Pounding” during an emotional speech before the Panthers' NFC Wild Card game versus Dallas during the 2003 playoffs. The blood drive benefits 21 area hospitals in North and South Carolina.
Additional information can be found at: http://www.panthers.com/community/keep-pounding.html