Could former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera fare better in his déjà vu situation with the Washington Commanders in 2023?
It's funny how football works sometimes. Most coaches would be lucky to see through one ownership change during their careers, but Ron Rivera is about to embark on his second such situation after the Washington Commanders officially fell into different hands on Thursday.
Other NFL owners unanimously approved the Josh Harris group's $6.05 billion purchase during their latest meeting in Minnesota. This ushered in a new era for the organization and finally removes Dan Snyder's dark cloud completely from the equation.
Rivera experienced the exact same feeling when the Carolina Panthers were sold to David Tepper for a then-record $2.2 billion. The respected figure will be hoping to avoid a similar fate this time around.
Ron Rivera hoping to avoid previous Carolina Panthers fate in 2023
Everyone encounters déjà vu scenarios throughout their life. In Rivera's case, it's another severe test that could have grave ramifications on his future job prospects one way or another.
We are a little late in the day for Harris' group to be making wholesale changes with training camp and Week 1 on the immediate horizon. But the owner's opening statement to fans made it clear in no uncertain terms that he wants the Commanders back among the NFL's powerhouses at the earliest possible opportunity.
"Today, my partners and I were entrusted by the NFL with the stewardship of a great franchise. As a lifelong Washington football fan who grew up in the DMV, I know that the Commanders are more than just a sports team. This is an institution, passed down from generation to generation. From day one, it is our top priority to deliver you a championship caliber team, and we will strive every day to ensure that we are a franchise you can be proud of. To Commanders fans everywhere, our promise is simple: we will do the work, create the culture and make the investment needed to deliver for this team and for Washington."- Josh Harris via Commanders.com
This is the same bold talk Rivera heard from Tepper about winning and returning to the great days of old. When the coach was unable to meet targets thanks in no small part to Cam Newton's injury, the hedge fund manager wasted no time in showing him the door before the 2019 campaign concluded.
Rivera stated previously that he believes this should serve him when the time comes to discuss the future vision for Washington with Harris and his investors. But if opinions don't come together to form a cohesive plan for sustainable success, there's only one winner.
The former linebacker is betting his job on two things from the outside looking in. They are, of course, Eric Bieniemy turning the offense around and quarterback Sam Howell exceeding expectations despite having just one career start under his belt.
This represents a major gamble and one that's brought further scrutiny onto Rivera's ability to successfully evaluate the quarterback position. Something that Panthers fans are already aware of aside from lucking into Newton at No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Carolina is moving forward with their own new coaching regime in the hope it can lead to better fortunes. If Rivera cannot rally the troops in 2023, the Commanders will be doing exactly the same next year.