What Does Keep Pounding Mean?
In 2003, Sam Mills, a 5-time ProBowler and key member of the ’96 Panthers’ run to the NFC Championship game, was diagnosed with terminal intestinal cancer and given only a few months to live.
While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, Mills, then linebacker coach for the Panthers, decided to continue coaching instead of hiding his pain in the comfort of his own home. Mills explained that he was inspired by the team’s play on the field, and it was obvious that the 2003 Panthers drew strength from Mills too. They continued to do so into the playoffs where they would play the Dallas Cowboys in the first round. It was here, before that game, that Mills would deliver his infamous “Keep Pounding” speech.
“When I found out I had cancer, there were two things I could do – quit or keep pounding. I’m a fighter. I kept pounding. You’re fighters, too. Keep pounding!”
No truer words have been spoken from a man so brave. Mills injected heart, soul and passion into the Panthers and truly showed just how far it could take you. Mills went on to live for nearly two years, long surpassing the months the doctors would give him, coaching much of the way. He would later die in April of 2005 in his Charlotte, NC home at the age of 45.
The Panthers, both players and fans alike, keep the mentality of Sam Mills, and celebrate it every time they take the field. Before every home game, there is a brief ceremony where someone tied to the Panther bangs the “Keep Pounding” drum, almost like a war cry. The phrase, “Keep Pounding” is forever on each player while they are on the field, as it is stitched on the collar of their uniforms. Sam Mills was the heart and soul of the 2003 Carolina Panthers, and his legacy will remain the heart and soul of Panthers Nation going forward. Live by it, die by it and never forget it. Go Panthers, Keep Pounding!
“KEEP POUNDING. On offense. On Defense. On special teams. ON EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY.”