There are not many organizations that can say they have had a Hall of Fame general manager to build their organization up. After Saturday night, the Carolina Panthers will be one of those teams when their first general manager Bill Polian will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After spending seven seasons with the Buffalo Bills, which included three trips to the Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers picked Polian to be the guy to build the Panthers first team. They certainly made the right choice.
As GM, along with head coach Dom Capers, he helped the team get to a 7-9 record after losing their first five games. The Panthers set a number of records that season including most victories by an expansion team (7), first expansion team with a winning record at home (5-3) and the first expansion team to have a four-game winning streak.
The second season though was when the team really hit their stride, finishing 12-4 and reaching the NFC Championship game. The fact that he built a team that made it within one game of the Super Bowl in only their second season was rather remarkable.
Polian was able to bring in a number of key veterans that helped this team to their quick start including Sam Mills, Kevin Greene and Steve Beuerlein. However, when it came to the NFL Draft the Panthers missed more times than not with players like Tim Biakabutuka, Rae Carruth and even Kerry Collins to an extent. Collins went on to have a decent career but he struggled during his time with the Panthers.
The Enshrinement Ceremony will take place tonight at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted on ESPN.
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