As we enter the winter season and the NFL coaching carousel takes shape, Don Rivera, one of the most tenured NFL coaches of the decade, has been relieved of his duties.
Even with with a former MVP QB out for the season, this year held promise for the Panthers as they were in the playoff race entering November.
And “Riverboat” Ron lead the Panthers to a 15-1 record and a Superbowl appearance against the Denver Broncos.
However, after an embarrassing loss to the Washington Redskins and string of four, straight, second-year losses, owner David Tepper had seen enough.
“I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,” Tepper said in a statement. “I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and this community. I wish him the best. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers.”
Secondary coach Perry Fewell has been named interim head coach. Norv Turner will be special assistant to Fewell and quarterback coach Scott Turner has been named offensive coordinator.
Rivera’s downfall might ultimately be due to back-up quarterback Kyle Allen, who made a blazing first impression.
He played so well when he first replaced the injured Cam Newton, some discussed Allen being the Panther’s future.
As teams began to store tapes on Allen, however, the football world discovered he’s not the answer. Allen threw the third most-dropped interceptions in 2019.
And although the Atlanta Falcons are having a down year, the NFC south is usually one of the best divisions in the league.
Even so, the Panthers have a solid defense. And, with the return of Newton, they should be back in the playoff hunt; depending on who becomes their new coach.