4:55 PM ET

David NewtonESPN Staff Writer

CloseCovered Panthers, NFL for 11 years
More than 25 years experience covering NFL, college football and NASCAR
Joined ESPN in 2006

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper set the stage two weeks ago for Tuesday’s firing of coach Ron Rivera when he said long-range mediocrity would not be tolerated.

Despite Rivera being a two-time NFL Coach of the Year and taking the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015, Rivera’s overall track record in nine seasons was mediocre.

He had only three winning seasons.

He never had consecutive winning seasons.

He was on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second straight season and for the third time in four years since losing to Denver in Super Bowl 50.

And he had a 12-16 record since Tepper spent an NFL-record $2.275 billion to purchase the Panthers in 2018.

The question of Rivera’s future is answered, but many questions about the Panthers’ future remain.

Why fire Rivera now?

Remember, Tepper said a few weeks ago after an embarrassing 29-3 home loss to an Atlanta Falcons team that entered the day with only two wins that he got up twice in the middle of the night he was so angry. He probably didn’t sleep at all after Sunday’s 29-21 home loss to a Washington Redskins team that entered the day with only two wins. That gave the Panthers (5-7) three losses to teams with losing records at home, all but taking them out of playoff contention.

Tepper at this point had made up his mind to replace Rivera after the season, so there was no reason for him to continue with him over the final four games. Fans already were calling for Rivera’s head and were showing their displeasure with empty seats — not good for an owner who wants to convince city officials and fans to build him a new domed stadium in the next 10 years. Making the move now at least gives fans reason to move forward. It also gets Tepper out in front of the search for a new head coach with many more coaches expected to be fired by the end of the season.

Who will be interim head coach?

Secondary coach Perry Fewell was an interim head coach for the Buffalo Bills at the end of the 2009 season, so he has experience at the job. He’s not a contender to become the next head coach, so when Tepper …read more

Source:: Daily Times


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With Ron Rivera gone, Panthers must focus on Cam Newton’s future

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