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NFL

Under-pressure Panthers owner Tepper abrasive after Rhule sacking

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper explains why he fired Matt Rhule after Week 5 instead of sticking it out the rest of the season.

Update:

It’s only Week 5 and the first NFL coach has already been fired. That’s not an accomplishment any coach wants to have. The Carolina Panthers got off to a 1-4 start with head coach Matt Rhule and Panthers owner David Tepper did not want to wait it out and see if the rest of the season would magically improve or if it would be more of the same. Rhule was the first coach in Panthers’ history to serve less than three full seasons.

The firing came less than 24 hours after Carolina’s fourth loss, a 37-15 defeat at home to the San Fransisco 49ers. In his time with the Panthers, Rhule went 11-27.

“We had five wins in the last two seasons,” said Tepper. “We had a different lack of success in other seasons. We have to somehow change that culture… and try to win. Whatever that takes, we’re going to try to find that.”

See also: Which NFL head coaches are on the hot seat entering Week 6?

Rather than wait and see what happens, Tepper thought now was the time to make a change. In his interview with the press, he sounded burnt out and tired of the Panthers being a losing team.

“A lot of time has passed here. We have the record we have - there are different reasons that go into that,” said Tepper. “I think there has been some progress of some sort, but we’re just not getting over the hump.”

When asked what “getting over the hump” means exactly, Tepper responded simply, “winning”. Specifically, winning more games than the last season, something that has not happened since the 2017 season. Tepper said he wasn’t sure if he would sign another head coach to a seven-year contract again in the future, and that he is “still learning”.

Who will be the Panthers’ next head coach?

Steve Wilks is the Panthers’ interim head coach for the rest of the season. Tepper said that if the Panthers can improve over the next 12 games, he would consider Wilks for the position.

“I had a talk with Steve, no promises were made, but if he does an incredible job, he has to be in consideration,” said Tepper.

Other options are out there for Tepper, too. Anyone in need of a coach will surely be after former Saints coach Sean Payton. 49ers defensive coach DeMeco Ryans, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, and Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka could all also be intriguing candidates for the Panthers.

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