Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper’s road to redemption couldn’t be going much better over the early offseason period in 2023.
It’s been a turbulent start to life as an NFL owner for David Tepper. No winning seasons is just one prime example of how things have unfolded since he purchased the franchise from Jerry Richardson, which has no doubt been embarrassing for someone that accumulated so much success in the business world.
Tepper found out to his cost that it takes much more in the NFL. A series of failed moves on and off the field left hopes of an immediate impact in tatters, which was a far cry from the bold statements made by the billionaire when the sale got the green light.
Of course, becoming infatuated with Matt Rhule enough to hand him anything he wanted to become head coach was Tepper’s biggest error in judgment. Something that set the Panthers back years thanks to failed personnel moves, suspect management of almost anything team-related, bizarre press statements, and a clean ineptitude when it came to coaching at the NFL level.
David Tepper has laid the foundations for Carolina Panthers’ success
Thankfully, Tepper eventually saw the light and fired Rhule after Week 5 of the 2022 season. This offseason represented the owner’s road to redemption – a chance to set things right and get the team’s demoralized fanbase back onside.
So far, it’s gone far better than anyone anticipated. Even if there was a sense of sadness that Steve Wilks wasn’t given the head coaching job permanently.
Tepper hired Frank Reich and appears to have given him a blank checkbook to form the best coaching staff money can buy. One that is full of legitimate NFL experience, previous head coaches, and those that are more than capable of getting a top job of their own in the coming years.
Jim Caldwell, Dom Capers, Duce Staley, and Ejiro Evero are just a few names now in the building. Josh McCown will help greatly with the development of any new college quarterback and retaining both James Campen and Chris Tabor was another masterstroke.
Couple this with trusting his football people to make the decisions and giving general manager Scott Fitterer control of personnel, and Tepper is slowly starting to win people over. Making mistakes is all part of the business, it’s how you learn from them that’s the biggest key.
There is a long way to go for Tepper. The Panthers must hit on their free-agent signings and maximize the eight draft selections available after trading Christian McCaffrey from the San Francisco 49ers.
If the Panthers can do this with the coaching staff assembled, there is a chance to mold something special. Something not seen since Carolina was contending for Super Bowls in the mid-2010s.
For Tepper, it’s just a case of staying out of the way and keeping meddling to a minimum. This would allow him to focus on other projects such as a new training facility venue after the team’s Rock Hill fiasco cast another stain on his tenure.
Fans are right to remain skeptical. Tepper’s done little to install confidence in his management, but all signs point to the Panthers finally turning a corner providing key roster needs are filled effectively.
It’s no more than a start. But the momentum where Tepper is concerned could finally be moving on an upward trajectory at long last.