Bill Fowler, owner of Fowler Brothers Cleaners in Spartanburg, was asked to undertake a special task 21 years ago when the Carolina Panthers came to Charlotte.
Fowler is responsible for making sure the players’ uniforms are clean and ready for games each Sunday. He got his start with the organization when Jackie Miles, the Panthers’ equipment manager, approached him after the team’s first drill at Wofford College.
“He asked me if I’d be interested in cleaning the Carolina Panthers’ clothes,” Fowler said.
Fowler is one of 38 cleaning businesses responsible for NFL uniforms.
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This isn’t the first time Fowler has been responsible for taking care of a team’s uniforms. Fowler’s first opportunity at tackling team laundry was for Wofford’s athletic department, where he was also responsible for cleaning the coach’s clothing.
Fowler got a special treat after the Panthers won the NFC championship game on Jan. 24. The team dumped Gatorade on head coach Ron Rivera.
When the uniforms were picked up last week, a Panthers staff member stopped the truck to include the coat Rivera was wearing during the Gatorade bath, Fowler said.
In the inside pockets, Fowler found Carolina Panther notecards with a short, hand-written message he believes Rivera read to the players before the game:
“The best team has a great sense of family, and the best family has a great culture. Within that culture, there is tremendous character.”
This is only the second time in franchise history the Panthers have played in the Super Bowl. The first trip was in 2003, when they lost to the New England Patriots. Fowler is hopeful this second trip will result in a win.
“If they win the Super Bowl, it’ll be really nice,” Fowler said.