The Carolina Panthers have fired head coach Ron Rivera after nearly 9 seasons at the helm. Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will serve as the interim coach for the rest of the 2019 season. New owner David Tepper said in a statement “I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community. I wish him the best.” Rivera ends his tenure with a 76-63-1 record with the Panthers including a Super Bowl appearance, three NFC South divisional titles and two AP Coach of the Year honors.
Rivera is a very good NFL coach, so the firing is less about Ron and more about the Panthers wanting to move the franchise in a new direction. With Cam Newton on his way out as well, the new owner is signally the start of a new regime in Carolina that’s built around all-pro running back Christian McCaffery.
Rivera won’t be without a job for very long. He’s a proven head coach and leader of men, who’s resume speaks for itself. And as the NFL’s only Latino coach, he should have his pick of open positions. The question is, where will that be?
Other teams that are likely to have coaching vacancies at the season’s end are the Jaguars, Cowboys, Redskins, Saints, Lions and Giants. Rivera has ties to New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, as does his trusty, up and coming, special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn, who was a former Super Bowl champ with Big Blue. Rivera to the Giants makes perfect sense. He is a credible leader who will hold players accountable, develop talent, and isn’t afraid of a market like New York. Sticking point, the Giants will first have to part ways with their current coach Pat Shurmur.