The Carolina Panthers have a Dave Tepper problem

The Carolina Panthers have a Dave Tepper problem

In May of 2018, at the Whitley Hotel in Atlanta — known then as the Ritz-Carlton (Buckhead) — Dave Tepper played one of the greatest games of “Big Bank Take Little Bank” of all time. He bought the Carolina Panthers for a then-record $2.275 billion…in CASH.

“I’m thrilled about this. It’s more than fantastic,” he said.

There are rich people. There are wealthy people. And then there are the ones like Tepper. But just because you’re part of the one percent, it doesn’t mean you have any idea of how to run an NFL franchise. Because on that spring day in Atlanta, Tepper also foreshadowed how bad he’d be at this new job.

“I don’t know exactly what’s there, because I haven’t been there,” he added. “So for me to speak about exactly what I’m going to do is almost impossible.

“But for me, I’ve had a business for 21 years and I believe in equality for everybody, including men and women.

“The past is the past, and the future will be that.”

At the time, the Panthers were coming off a run in which they’d won the NFC South in 2013, made it to the Divisional Round in 2014, went to the Super Bowl, and had an MVP quarterback in Cam Newton in 2015, had a rough 6-10 season in 2016, and went 11-5 and made the playoffs in 2017.

Then Tepper showed up. The Panthers haven’t had a winning season since. The franchise is on its third head coach since he’s been in control, and his most recent hire might be on the hot seat.

Panthers fans are pissed for a reason.

After Tepper’s front office fired Ron Rivera, they tried to make a “splash” by hiring a college coach with a high-powered offense as they decided on then-Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. He didn’t last three seasons, as he finished with an 11-27 record. Now Frank Reich is the man in Carolina. It isn’t going well in his first year.

“The Frank Reich era has officially entered mundane mode at 1-9,” Panthers beat writers from the Charlotte Observer recently wrote. “After weeks of wishful thinking and the slightest slivers of hope, the Panthers have officially revealed who they are: a misguided, mistake-riddled group with few answers to their plethora of pointed questions.”

Now, let’s get to that “ I believe in equality” thing Tepper said back in 2018.

“He’s in a position to be in consideration for that position,” Tepper said about Steve Wilks when he was named as the interim coach when Rhule was fired. “I had a talk with Steve, no promises were made, but if he does an incredible job, he has to be in consideration.”

Before the new Black interim head coach of the Panthers — who was once fired after one season with the Arizona Cardinals — led his team out on the field, Tepper — the man who believes in equality — had moved the goalposts for him to be in consideration for the full-time job. Not an interview, just consideration. Wilks finished 6-6, meaning he won more games for the Panthers in his interim season than Rhule had in any single season in Charlotte.

Wilks didn’t get the job. Tepper hired Reich. And then Reich hired Jim Caldwell — another Black coach that’s been screwed over by the system — to his staff, which was a slap in the face, as Caldwell was the most accomplished coach in the Panthers locker room. And then Tepper opened his mouth, and dared to say he was doing his part in breaking up the NFL’s “old boys’ network.”

“We have probably the most diverse executive team in the NFL right now. We are probably a minority of white men on our executive team right now. That’s where it starts. That’s America,” Tepper proudly bragged.

Last year, Forbes had Tepper listed as one of the richest owners in all of sports, as he’s worth somewhere around $18 billion. But, just because you’re wealthy enough to own a team, or buy one in cash, it doesn’t mean you know how to operate one. The Panthers hired Frank Reich over Steve Wilks. Then they drafted Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick at quarterback. It’s been a revolving door at the head coaching and the quarterback positions ever since Tepper took over. I’m guessing that billionaires have to be good with numbers. But in this case, it’s easy to see that Dave Tepper can’t seem to quantify that he’s the common denominator.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.