David Tepper is renowned for making a splash. Could luring Bill Belichick to the Carolina Panthers restore his dwindling reputation?
The NFL - and football world - has been shaken to its foundations this week. Pete Carroll and Mike Vrabel were relieved of their duties with the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans respectively. Nick Saban - the greatest college coach in history - retired after a sensational stint at Alabama. If that wasn't enough, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have gone their separate ways after 24 years.
Something that won't have gone unnoticed by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper.
Tepper's reign has been disastrous - and that's being generous. His desire to be accepted by the league led to a series of rash decisions. The billionaire always thinks he's the smartest guy in the room. As it turns out, you cannot manage an NFL franchise like a hedge fund.
Carolina Panthers could make a bold bid to lure Bill Belichick
While the Panthers have requested no fewer than 12 interviews in pursuit of acquiring the right head coach, Tepper's previous intent means a late bid for Belichick cannot be dismissed. It would take a lot of concession from the owner, but this is arguably the one move that could legitimize his previously questionable ambitions.
Things haven't gone well for Belichick over the last three years. Allowing quarterback Tom Brady to walk for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a grave error in judgment. Cam Newton couldn't fill the void in difficult circumstances. Mac Jones being a first-round pick looks to be a failure despite a promising rookie start. Results have taken a significant downward turn as a result.
So what is the allure of Belichick? Let's start with the six Super Bowl rings from nine appearances. Considering the Panthers don't have back-to-back winning seasons throughout their franchise history spanning three decades, that seems like a good enough reason to at least inquire about the possibility.
Belichick boasts a 30-12 postseason record. Despite his recent struggles, his regular season record stands at 266-120. He is 15 wins away from Don Shula's all-time mark. That's motivation enough to hit the ground running in a different environment.
Joe Person from The Athletic didn't rule out the prospect of Tepper attempting to secure Belichick's services recently. The respected beat writer also revealed that the legendary coach has done his own research on the owner in the event he does come calling.
"Tepper likes to swing big, so don’t rule out Bill Belichick if he and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft cut ties. I’m told Belichick has asked others about Tepper and the Panthers’ situation. But like [Ben] Johnson, Belichick figures to have other opportunities."- Joe Person, The Athletic
There are some concerns if Tepper does swing for the fences yet again. Belichick's roster construction has been severely criticized, although he revealed a willingness to focus more on coaching and work with a general manager if the situation dictated. This seems like a prerequisite to any interest coming from the Panthers.
Belichick's coaching infrastructure also left a lot to be desired during his final years in New England. His offensive coordinator this year was Bill O'Brien, who couldn't bring Mac Jones' performances up to the required standard but had a huge influence on Bryce Young's development during their time together at Alabama.
It's a fluid situation that fans cannot take their eyes off. While Belichick to the Panthers would be a jaw-dropping development, one thing we've come to know about Tepper above all else is this…
Expect the unexpected. For good or bad.