By Allan Erickson
Some, like myself, are pleased that Owner David Tepper refuses to be consistently mediocre, and relieved Ron Rivera of his duties as Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers. Others are stuck in the “remember the good times we had together” phase. Ron Rivera is a tremendous person in the community and a true players coach. All of those who’ve played under him sing his praises as a man, and as a leader. That being said, David Tepper will not tolerate a team that continues to disappoint. It’s unfortunate when a man loses his job, but in a results-driven league; Tepper made the right call to fire Coach Rivera when he did- here’s why.
1- Ron Rivera is the winningest coach in the history of the Carolina Panther organization. That being said, in his nine-year tenure at the helm of the Panthers, he never managed to produce back-to-back winning seasons. Yes, the Panthers won the division two years in a row, but the second year they posted a 7-8-1 record. It’s hard to imagine being given the keys to an organization with the prime years of Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, KK Short, Greg Olsen, the first three years of Christian McCaffery’s career, Ryan Kalil, Jordan Gross, Thomas Davis, the list goes on and on, and not posting back-to-back winning seasons. The time for Rivera to go was now, and Tepper acted accordingly.
2- Panther Nation does an excellent job of seeing the good that folks do in the community. Ron Rivera was active in all kinds of charity events, public events to honor student-athletes around the Carolinas. Panther social media teams would post frequently about Ron’s activity in the community, and it was something that Panther fans everywhere admired. Ron Rivera’s character will never be questioned by Panther fans. Unfortunately, this is a league that is focused on winning, as well as the off the field activities in the community. Rivera had a steady stream of talent in Carolina and failed to deliver the ultimate goal.
3- Because Tepper pulled the trigger prior to the end of the season, we now get to see Perry Fewell in an auditioning role to see his potential as a head coach in the National Football League. Scott Turner will take over calling the offensive plays for the team, and maybe he’ll be more creative, and potentially grow into the role in Charlotte or somewhere else. Mid-season firings are never a good sign for an NFL team, it means they’ve underachieved a great deal throughout the year. Now, we get the chance to see if the players can respond to a new voice leading the locker room. It’s also a way to see if some players haven’t been giving their all because they stopped believing in Rivera, I know it sounds bizarre, but believe me, it happens.
Panther Nation will always have a soft spot in our hearts for Ron Rivera. That being said, you know it’s time to pull the trigger when you lose to the lowly Redskins, on top of giving up 230+ yards on the ground. We love the man, his family, and all of his contributions to the Carolina Panthers. Now, we desperately await the end of the season in hopes of finding out David Tepper has a Super Bowl-winning head coach in mind to take over the Panthers in 2020, I’m looking at you Bill Cowher.
Until next time, y’all Keep Pounding. Remember the great times we had with Ron Rivera, then remember the superstar power that’s on this year’s Panther team, and realize that they are 5-7 with a loss to the Redskins at home. It was time for him to leave the organization. We wish him and his family the best.