Recent developments suggest Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has finally seen the error of his ways heading into another coaching search.
To say David Tepper has been vilified across the media in recent days would be an understatement. The Carolina Panthers owner's petulant act at the Jacksonville Jaguars is the latest in a long line of character flaws since purchasing the franchise from Jerry Richardson. According to a recent report, another campaign of abject misery has led the billionaire to shift his approach.
Joe Person of The Athletic stated that Tepper has hired a consultancy firm heading into another head coaching cycle for the Panthers. It's a method he's used with Charlotte FC. This is the first time such an idea has come to light with the Panthers after taking matters into his own hands by appointing Frank Reich and Matt Rhule.
Carolina Panthers taking a different hiring approach
Adjusting this dramatically was surprising given Tepper's normal desire for complete control. There's a long way to go and he'll still have the final say once recommendations have been made, but it's a positive step in the right direction nonetheless.
"Panthers owner David Tepper has been working with consulting firm Sportsology, headed by former Chelsea FC exec. Mike Forde, per league sources. Forde helped Tepper w/ his recent Charlotte FC coaching search and is expected to have some role in Panthers' coach search. Forde has worked with several NFL teams in recent years, incl. the Rams, 49ers and Falcons. Tepper did not use a search/consulting firm when he hired Matt Rhule or Frank Reich. The Panthers owner said last month: “We’re going to self-reflect and make it better.”"- Joe Person via X/Twitter
Of course, the Panthers could be looking for more than a new head coach. There is growing momentum building around Scott Fitterer's removal. The general manager's roster building and delusional predictions before the campaign haven't reflected well on the front-office leader. Tepper needs another scapegoat, so the chances of termination after this afternoon's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cannot be overlooked.
This could signal the start of a hard reset in Carolina. It's also the first time Tepper's hired a general manager and head coach more traditionally - at the same time - since becoming owner if Fitterer is deemed surplus to requirements.
Tepper's got a long way to go before he gets back in the good graces of fans. He's turned a respectable organization into a joke. His management and public displays of childlike behavior are not in keeping with an NFL owner. His meddling in football affairs continues to hold the Panthers back.
Bringing in an outside firm to assist with the hiring process brings a level of professionalism that hasn't been evident previously. Where this takes the Panthers is anyone's guess up to now. Ben Johnson is the hot name and likely target. But it would be wise to get a new general manager in beforehand so that everyone gets on the same page.
Where Tepper is concerned, anything is possible. This latest move does indicate a willingness to adapt. After all, actions speak far louder than words thanks to so many broken promises from the hedge fund manager since taking charge.
One thing stands true above all else. The Panthers must get things right this offseason. That's the only way Tepper can begin salvaging his floundering reputation in league circles.
If that means taking a back seat, so be it.