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Byline: Pat Yasinskas
NEW ORLEANS _ To fully appreciate how long it has been since the Carolina Panthers were any good, you have to go to the team's elder statesman.
Safety Mike Minter has been with the Panthers since 1997. Until Sunday, he would have pointed to a play in 1996 as the greatest in franchise history.
"When Chad Cota picked that ball off," Minter said. "Even though I wasn't there, I knew that was a huge play because they sealed the deal."
Minter was referring to the interception Cota made in the end zone in the 1996 regular-season finale to preserve a victory against Pittsburgh and assure the Panthers of a home playoff game. …