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Carolina opens 2017 season at San http://www.firestormkennel.com/braxton-miller-jersey-c-1_26.html Francisco 49ers after first and only previous visit to four-year-old stadium was Super Bowl 50 loss
CHARLOTTE - When the Carolina Panthers open the 2017 season on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. at the San Francisco 49ers and Levi’s Stadium they’ll be at the venue of one of the franchise’s most disappointing losses.
The Panthers lost 24-10 to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 in their first on only previous visit to the four-year-old, 68,500-seat stadium.
But if you ask team leaders like quarterback Cam Newton or linebacker Luke Kuechly, their return to the Santa Clara stadium is no storyline.
“Who cares?” Newton said when asked about it Tuesday. “It’s a football game.”
Kuechly says he’s so focused on 2017, he has no interest in looking back to 2015.
“That was awhile ago and we’ve moved on from it,” Kuechly said.
Later, when reminded that the Panthers stayed in Santa Clara during their extended road trip to Seattle and Oakland just last season, Kuechly offered this:
“I think looking back ... would be detrimental to the guys. It’s the first game of ’17 against San Francisco and not the last game of ’15 and Denver.”
So how much has changed for the Panthers since that 2015 season in which they went 15-1 in the regular season then rolled to the NFC title before losing in the Super Bowl?
Thirteen starters remain from that team, including Newton and Kuechly. The others are running back Jonathan Stewart, center Ryan Kalil, guards Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner and tight end Greg Olsen on offense and free safety Kurt http://www.newjersey1861.com/wayne-gallman-jersey-c-1_9.html Coleman, linebackers Shaq Thompson and Thomas Davis, tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short and end Charles Johnson on defense.
Thirteen other players also remain from the 2016 Super Bowl - quarterback Derek Anderson, kicker Graham Gano, wide receiver Devin Funchess, running backs Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker, defensive back Colin Jones, long snapper J.J. Jansen, linebackers Ben Jacobs and David Mayo, offensive tackle Darryl Williams, tight end Ed Dickson and defensive linemen Kyle Love and Mario Addison.
Among the newcomers are rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, who was then a sophomore at Stanford. Ironically enough, McCaffrey attended Super Bowl 50 with his father Ed McCaffrey, a former Denver Broncos receiver.
Yet, no matter who is on the Panthers’ roster or the opponent or the venue of Sunday’s season-opener, the result has previously told much about how Carolina’s season may or may not play out.
Carolina has had six winning seasons in its history - and four of them came after a victory in the season-opener.
Only when the Panthers went 11-5 in 2005 Kent Tekulve Kids Jersey and 12-4 in 2013 did Carolina bounce back for a winning season after losing in Game 1. And of the 14 season-opening losses, nine began seasons that ended with a losing record.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is 2-4 in his six season-openers, with the wins coming in 2014