- David Newton, ESPN Staff Writer
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— fred ingram (@frednasty86) June 3, 2014
This is the first of three plays nominated as the most memorable in Carolina Panthers history. In the next two days, we’ll feature: DeShaun Foster's amazing 1-yard touchdown run in the NFC Championship Game that sent the Panthers to the Super Bowl during the 2003 season and Steve Smith's game-winning, 69-yard touchdown pass in double-overtime of the NFC divisional playoff game that season. Please vote for your choice as the Panthers' most memorable play.
Score: Patriots 32, Panthers 29
Date: February 1, 2004 Site: Reliant Stadium
With just more than a minute remaining in Super Bowl XXXVIII and the score tied at 29-29, John Kasay sent the kickoff out of bounds to give New England possession at the 40. Six plays and 37 yards later, Adam Vinatieri made a 41-yard field goal with four seconds left to end the dream of Carolina owner Jerry Richardson to win a Super Bowl in the team's first 10 years.
While some may argue this play is forgettable, there is no denying it is memorable. Had Kasay done what he'd done on 77 of his 78 regular-season kickoffs and all of his kickoffs in the Super Bowl prior to this one, the Patriots -- at least according to the averages -- would have started from the 27. They would have begun at the 20 had Kasay sent the kick into the end zone.
It was so out of character that it has made many lists as the biggest blunder in Super Bowl history. Ironically, four days before the game, Kasay provided this insight: "I really think it will come down to which team will have the ball last. That will be the difference in winning or losing."
Perhaps it wouldn't have changed things. Perhaps Tom Brady and the Patriots still would have gotten in position for the winning kick. The thing is, nobody knows. In the minds of Carolina fans, that was the kick that denied them their championship. Vinatieri already had missed two other field goals. Who's to say he wouldn't have missed another had the kick been from 50 yards or farther?
"They were kind of reeling, to be honest with you," then-Carolina wide receiver Ricky Proehl said at the time. "I felt like if it goes into overtime, we could win this game. Then John kicked it out of bounds. ... I'm still sick."
To Kasay's credit, he stayed and answered every question afterward with class. But you get only so many chances to win a Super Bowl, and that's what makes this play so memorable.