Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper's incompetent stint with the franchise is getting some much-needed national scrutiny.
Fingers are being pointed at those occupying influential positions within the Carolina Panthers. There is growing speculation around the futures of head coach Frank Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer, which would cause an obvious ripple effect across the coaching staff, front office, and playing personnel.
However, this all starts at the very top with team owner David Tepper.
When Tepper bought the Panthers for $2.275 million from disgraced former owner Jerry Richardson, the successful businessman promised to build a winner. This was a perennial playoff team at the time, so any further improvements could have seen a long-awaited first Super Bowl arrive if everything went according to plan.
It did not.
Tepper has turned the Panthers into a bottom feeder. The fanbase is disillusioned, the football product is abysmal, and the grand plans for a lavish new headquarters at Rock Hill ended up falling by the wayside.
The billionaire's been heavily criticized for meddling too much in football affairs to the team's detriment. Reich is having to undertake weekly meetings with the owner - which isn't ideal - with Nicole Tepper even visiting practice last week to run the rule over Carolina's woeful offensive line.
This isn't normally the recipe for NFL success. One could point to the Dallas Cowboys as a prime example - the league's most marketable franchise with an owner heavily involved that hasn't enjoyed any real playoff accomplishments since the mid-1990s.
Tepper's incompetence is starting to draw national attention in addition to scrutiny from the national media. Another example came courtesy of Carron J. Phillips from Deadspin, who gave his tenure as owner so far the perfect depiction.
"Last year, Forbes had [David] Tepper listed as one of the richest owners in all of sports, as he’s worth somewhere around $18 billion. But, just because you’re wealthy enough to own a team, or buy one in cash, it doesn’t mean you know how to operate one. The Panthers hired Frank Reich over Steve Wilks. Then they drafted Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick at quarterback. It’s been a revolving door at the head coaching and the quarterback positions ever since Tepper took over. I’m guessing that billionaires have to be good with numbers. But in this case, it’s easy to see that Dave Tepper can’t seem to quantify that he’s the common denominator."- Carron J. Phillips, Deadspin
Until Tepper realizes that his methods aren't working, nothing will change. It's been a constant stream of failings and delusions of grandeur since he took charge, and the worst part is he's not learning from any of his false narratives and suspect decisions.
Fans have been voting with their feet for some time. They've seen enough to know Tepper isn't doing right by the Panthers despite his impressive work within the community, although visiting supporters in those seats at Bank of America Stadium means the money is still pouring in.
It looked for a long time as if Tepper might be on the road to a mini-redemption after an eventful offseason. But the owner couldn't resist putting himself front and center when the time came to evaluate which quarterback the Panthers should take at No. 1 overall in the draft after piling significant pressure on Fitterer to make the jump.
Carolina is paying a hefty price for Tepper's failings. Admitting defeat on another head coaching hire would be a massive dent in his ego, but it might also bring some semblance of realization that taking a back seat and finally letting football men make football decisions is the best way to go.
The more bad press Tepper generates, the better. Especially if it leads to a drastic shift in approach.
In the short term? Don't hold your breath…
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