So Frank Reich became the first coach in history to get fired midseason in back-to-back years. This is a rough record because I don’t think Reich got a fair deal in either case. His Colts tenure wasn’t bad, but he was saddled with a new QB every single season. You can’t build a consistent team when your most important piece has no continuity. He did some decent things in Indianapolis and while I think firing him was fair, it should have been at the end of the season instead of midseason so that he could be replaced by Jeff Fucking Saturday.

Since I thought he got kinda screwed in Indy, I was pretty thumbs up with the hire in Carolina. I liked it. Granted, Tepper should have kept Steve Wilks, but if you have to let Wilks go then Reich seemed like a good choice. A retread, but after coming off Matt Rhule a retread who knew the gig and has had success before running out of steam made sense. Also, he’d now be getting a chance to start from scratch and build over time with the new QB. Things went…well, you know. The Panthers became an unwatchable disgrace. Reich was out.

I want to say upfront that Reich was not doing a good job. The unwatchability of the Panthers is still very much on him to a fair degree. But it is hard to not look at him in the wider scope of the Tepper era and not feel bad for the guy and wonder if he was just screwed from the get-go. Most of the news about the dysfunction of the Panthers has not been about Reich at all and has instead been directed at Tepper, and I’d argue rightfully so.

Tepper’s tenure so far falls into the category of Guy From Other Discipline Who Doesn’t Know What The Fuck He’s Doing. A Khan or Haslam type. He hasn’t had the humanity violations of Snyder, but he’s a dope who has business boy brain and does not understand football at all. He’s very impatient. He gave Ron Rivera, the best (?) coach in Panthers history, the boot after most of two years. It wasn’t unprecedented and Rivera is a flawed coach, and a lot of people saw it as him getting ready to install his own vision. But why fire him midseason at all? Why let Perry Fewell keep the seat warm for a few weeks? I never understood this part of firing coaches midseason. If the coach is a piece of shit that the players are openly in rebellion against (a’la McDaniels), then a midseason firing makes sense. Rivera was not in that position. Rivera is well-liked wherever he goes. It’s not like Perry Fewell was a hot up-and-comer waiting for his chance. He was a dead man walking the instant he got the gig. Fewell moved into the NFL’s officiating department after he was fired at season’s end, so that was to this point his final coaching gig.

Tepper pulled out all the stops to get hot stuff college coach Matt Rhule. He shoved all his money into that bag and boy did that go badly. Rhule was a classic case of College Coach Who Doesn’t Understand These Aren’t Kids brain. The team was woeful under Rhule and it was clear Tepper had made a grievous error within one season. This was an error many people made, Rhule was widely seen as the best new candidate when he was snatched up. Not knowing much about him, I remember being mad the Giants didn’t get him and got stuck with Joe Judge. While also very stupid, at least Mara cut ties with Judge at the end of season 2. Tepper’s one instance of mild patience was his biggest error yet. Rhule should have been gone after his second season showed no improvements. He lasted a few games into 2022 before Tepper got pissy again and fired Rhule. This was a “good” midseason firing in the sense that nobody liked Rhule but was a mistake because it was too late anyway. Steve Wilks took over, and then…the team was fun!

Wilks almost dragged the Panthers to the playoffs with PJ Walker. Wilks was mostly known as a failure for a single bad year in Arizona but he was making the most of his second chance. The players seemed to love him. They lobbied for him when the new hiring cycle came about. Many people seemed to think that Carolina accidentally stumbled into a good choice for the new head coach, and the Raiders bungle of letting Bisaccia go for Josh McDaniels was on everyone’s mind. Tepper does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep, or in this case, his paid professionals. David Tepper only listens to David Tepper, he of the hedge fund elite. He had made poor investments before and climbed above, surely this was a mere setback and the plebians under him knew nothing.

The stories that have come out since of him forcing the team to draft Bryce Young over Stroud (supposedly Reich’s preferred candidate) and micromanaging have been delicious. The Young pick in hindsight was the wrong choice but I think Young is…well, young enough to be salvaged. Mike McDaniel salvaged Tua. The Rams and Lions both salvaged Goff. Young has a chance despite how awful he looks right now. But all of this depends on Tepper making a smart football decision, backing the fuck off, and being patient. Do we trust him to do this? I don’t. There are rumors he is going to make a play for Belichick. That would be a disaster for all involved and I don’t see Bill going for it anyway. Also a few rumors he’s interested in Jim Harbaugh. I think that would also be a nightmare. Jim Harbaugh is a stubborn hardass who does not have patience for owner micromanaging bullshit, as he already proved when he called Jed York a baby and got power-played into unemployment for it. Jim would work if he was given control and Tepper backed the fuck off, but lol at thinking he will. I don’t know who will replace the newest seat warmer Chris Tabor when the season ends but rest assured that it will be one hell of an uphill battle.