New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers connections


The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers meet for the 41st time in NFL history on Sunday. The Panthers lead the all-time series 21-19. With the teams staring at polar opposite records currently, it’s easy to suggest that the Saints need to win to salvage their season. Before we get too far into what is needed from each respective team, what connections exist between the two franchises when they play this weekend?

Coaching/Front office connections

  • Panthers offensive line coach John Matsko served in the same position in New Orleans from 1994-1996.
  • Special teams coordinator Greg McMahon was the tight ends coach for the East Carolina coaching staff in 2005.
  • Panthers special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven tutored C.J. Spiller in his first two seasons in Buffalo, specifically on kickoff and punt returns. Saints head coach Sean Payton was on the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff with DeHaven from 2003-2005. Stan Kwan assisted DeHaven in Buffalo from 2010-2012.
  • Panthers defensive line coach Eric Washington played tight end at Grambling State from 1989-1990, and was on the 1997 Texas A&M coaching staff with Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson. Offensive line coach Bret Ingalls and Washington were on the same coaching staff at Northwestern from 2006-2007.
  • Saints Director of player programs Fred McAfee played for Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula during his stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1999.
  • Panthers defensive quality control coach/assistant defensive line Sam Mills III is the son of renowned Dome Patrol linebacker Sam Mills, who played for New Orleans from 1986-1994. Mills is a member of the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame, and finished his career with the Carolina Panthers from 1995-1997. Mills served on the Panthers coaching staff from 1998-2004.

Player connections

  • Panthers safety Roman Harper was originally a second round draft choice by the Saints in 2006, and played for the black and gold from 2006-2013.
  • Linebacker Stephone Anthony prepped at Anson High School in Wadesboro, North Carolina. Anthony was a Parade and USA Today All-American. He later played college ball for Clemson, and was a teammate of defensive end Tavaris Barnes.
  • Running back C.J. Spiller starred at Clemson from 2006-2009, and he led the ACC in all-purpose yards with 7,558 in his career, which ranks second in NCAA Division I history.
  • Tight end Benjamin Watson attended Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Which connections surprised you the most?

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