Carolina Panthers Could Extend John Fox

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 30: Head coach John Fox of the Carolina Panthers throws a red challenge flag against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2008 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Yes, you read that right. John Fox could receive a contract extension at the end of the 2010 season.

There are, of course, reasons why he could or should receive an extension, and there are reasons why he may not. But we’ll focus on what people find harder to grasp, which is why he should receive an extension at the end of the season.

Failure, in other words, is not an option.

A year ago at this time, everyone was enamored with the idea that former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Bill Cowher was salivating at becoming the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Maybe not salivating, but fans were.

Right now, Cowher seems to have dropped off of Carolina’s radar altogether. He interviewed for the head coaching position of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but later said their (contract) numbers weren’t quite there. Do you see any other teams reaching out to Cowher (not named Dallas or Oakland) and making him a lucrative offer at this point, when the NFL is in a tumultuous state of affairs?

The way the NFL’s immediate future is looking at this point, is not full of hope. Not to say that things won’t pan out in the long-run, however.

Being a lame duck head coach is not a factor in Fox’s mind. Do you remember what he says at the onset of every season? “We’re all on a one-year contract.”

What other coaches share “lame duck” status with John Fox in 2010? The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin and Cincinnati Bengals’ Marvin Lewis. Not particularly bad company to keep.

Of the three coaches, who’s least likely to return after this season? I’d say it depends on one thing: the difference between a winning record and a losing one. Yes, it will be between Fox and Lewis.

The most likely to keep his job would be Mike Tomlin, as the Rooney family has a history of a low rate of turnover with their head coaches. And they like Tomlin.

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, an old school style of owner, also likes Fox. He understands what it takes to get teams to where they need to be. His patience could very well be wearing thin with Fox, but I doubt seriously he’s closed the door to possibly renewing Fox’s contract at the conclusion of the regular season.

For anyone who’s forgotten what was said earlier in the offseason, it wasn’t that “we’re not going to renew John Fox’s contract, period.” It was “we are not going to renew John Fox’s contract during his final season.” That still leaves post-season and the offseason for some important financial decisions to be made.

What will earn Fox a contract extension? Many have said no way does he get one without a Super Bowl win.

Can we be realistic?

I say he keeps the job with a winning record and either a division title with playoff appearance (and winning at least one game in the playoffs), or getting into the playoffs as a Wildcard.

John Fox is a good head coach. He’s steady, methodical, and paces himself and the team for what needs to happen in order to be successful.

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