Firing Frank Reich isn’t going to fix the Carolina Panthers

In 1995, the Carolina Panthers made history as the best expansion franchise in the NFL. Despite not having a home stadium, they managed to go 7-9 and played their games at Clemson University. The following season, they improved with a 12-4 record and even made it to the NFC Championship Game. In 2003, the Panthers lost a Super Bowl to the New England Patriots by a mere three points. These early successes were a testament to the promising future of the franchise.

Fast forward to November 27, 2023, and the Panthers find themselves with the worst record in the NFL. Their hopes of securing the No. 1 overall draft pick are dashed, leaving fans and team owner David Tepper disappointed. Tepper, known for his unconventional decisions, has decided to part ways with head coach Frank Reich, assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley, and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown. This marks the second consecutive season in which Tepper has fired a head coach before the schedule’s end, having previously fired Matt Rhule.

Tepper’s success in the financial world, where he made his billions, has seemingly influenced his approach to running the Panthers. His aggressive and unconventional style has worked well in finance, but the NFL is a different beast. Players and coaches cannot be reduced to mere numbers and figures; they require expertise and experience to succeed. This is why it is crucial for professional sports franchise owners, especially those from finance backgrounds, to trust the football minds in making major decisions.

There are rumors circulating in “league circles” that the Panthers’ front office was not fully committed to drafting Bryce Young, despite publicly stating otherwise to appease Tepper. While Young had his strengths, the transition from college to the NFL can be challenging, especially when facing relentless defenders. A reliable wide receiver like D.J. Moore, who now plays for the Chicago Bears, could have provided Young with some much-needed support. However, Tepper’s decisions since purchasing the team in 2018 have not been beneficial, leaving the Panthers with limited assets and instability at the head coach position.

Despite playing in the relatively weak NFC South, the Panthers have not had a winning season since Tepper took over the franchise. This streak will continue as they currently sit at a dismal 1-10 record. While it is understandable for Tepper to be upset, the blame lies largely on his shoulders. The NFL is not like the stock market, where investing wisely can yield success. Building a successful NFL team requires assembling talent, not just a portfolio.

Tepper’s expertise in investing money can still be utilized in the NFL, but he must understand that the approach is different. Instead of trying to navigate this new terrain on his own, Tepper would be better off entrusting experienced individuals to make crucial decisions for the franchise. Only then can the Panthers break free from their current slump and find success once again.

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