Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper's improved approach draws praise

Could the tide be turning?
David Tepper and Dave Canales
David Tepper and Dave Canales / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

David Tepper doesn't have the best reputation among Carolina Panthers fans or around the NFL. The billionaire's led the franchise on a steep decline since taking over as owner. Last season was the worst yet with a 2-15 record and drink-throwing incident at the Jacksonville Jaguars bringing further disgrace to his door.

It's a long road back to restoring his reputation. However, this plunge to rock bottom might have been the primary catalyst behind Tepper changing his approach.

We are only early in the process, but Tepper seems to be taking a back seat. He's letting Dan Morgan, Brandt Tilis, and Dave Canales run the football operation as they see fit. Even with ambitious plans behind the scenes, the hedge fund manager remains on the fringes to avoid any unnecessary complications.

Dave Canales impressed by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper's approach

Fans have been clamoring for this. Tepper's meddling and erratic decisions saw the team's long-suffering support become more disillusioned than ever. They voted with their feet, but there is now light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

When asked about his early impressions of working for Tepper, head coach Dave Canales seemed suitably impressed based on comments via USA Today Sports. He's been leaning on his specialist qualities and isn't afraid to speak his mind, which wasn't the case with previous head coaches under his ownership.

"With David [Tepper]—to be able to be with him and pick his brain and, like, lean on the successes that he’s had. He’s unbelievably successful in terms of like when we think of leadership and all those things. I’m able to kinda sit with him and watch him just, like, courageously bring us together. ‘Ok, let’s evaluate free agency. Let’s evaluate the draft process. How did that go, guys? How was it? What went well? What didn’t go well? Why not?’ And there’s no blame, there’s none of that. It’s just like can we speak the truth? Can we go into things with our eyes open and courageously say, ‘Ok, this didn’t work, let’s fix it, let’s move forward?'"

Dave Canales via USA Today Sports

Canales isn't going to say anything bad publicly about his boss. But there's a growing sense that Tepper no longer thinks he's the smartest guy in the room when it comes to how best to take the franchise forward.

Taking a back seat is new for Tepper. He craved the limelight and respect of other NFL owners after getting his hands on the Panthers. He quickly found out that being successful in the business world means absolutely nothing when it comes to running a sports franchise effectively.

The biggest thing above all is patience. Tepper needs to give this project time regardless of whether it starts well or not. The new power trio inherited an ungodly mess. Cleaning it up will take time, so any impulses to change direction once again need to be suppressed.

Hopefully, Tepper has finally seen the error of his ways. There's no telling for sure based on his actions since purchasing the Panthers from Jerry Richardson for a then-record $2.275 billion. But fans are looking at his newfound realizations as a positive until further notice.