Failed former Carolina Panthers head coach reveals one major regret

The appointment was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.
Matt Rhule
Matt Rhule / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

A lot's happened since Matt Rhule was Carolina Panthers head coach. Both parties went their separate ways eventually despite this looking like the eventual conclusion from a long way out. He landed on his feet while the franchise fired Frank Reich and is now moving forward with Dave Canales at the helm.

Fans still harbor resentment towards Rhule. He removed the traditions that made the organization great, replacing them with college-type methods that weren't fit for the pro game. His roster construction was flawed and the former Baylor man offered no accountability whatsoever for the team's failings.

David Tepper saw the light after a poor start to the 2022 season. Rhule found work quickly with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but the pressure is on to put a good season together after an indifferent first campaign with the program in 2023.

Matt Rhule reveals one big Carolina Panthers regret from failed head coaching stint

There is animosity towards Rhule that won't ever go away. He's seen as the start of Carolina's worrying freefall to rock bottom. Based on his comments recently via Fan Nation, the coach also harbors some regret about the way things unfolded now the dust has finally settled.

When asked about his failed stint with the Panthers, Rhule highlighted his lack of connectivity with his players as something he'd change if given another chance. However, he thought the tide was beginning to turn in that regard before things past the point of no return.

"I’ve had 50,000, 70,000 people in the Panthers’ stadium screaming to fire me. What I learned through all of that is, I just want to make it all about my players. It’s not about me. If I learned anything during my time there (at Carolina), it was Christian McCaffrey, Brian Burns, all these amazing players I had a chance to coach…they’re just people. You see them as superstars, but they’re just people. I lost a little bit of that during COVID. One of the worst things I did early on there I didn’t connect enough. In my last year, I did an amazing job, I think, of connecting with those players. And they battled for me to the very end. I came back to college now and it’s all about human connection."

Matt Rhule via Fan Nation

Rhule came into the Panthers and thought he knew everything. He ruled the roost and had absolute power thanks to the contract handed to him by Tepper. There was an unwillingness to change and things turned sour quickly.

Professional players are less impressionable than college kids. They've reached the pinnacle and know the training strategies needed to excel. Once their confidence wanes - which it did often under Rhule's leadership - it's a long road back.

Panic set in relatively early during Rhule's tenure. Gambles at the quarterback position and other strange personnel moves only made the mountain harder to climb. Fans were clamoring for his removal long before Tepper ended this expensive experiment. Some would argue the Panthers are still paying the price for his incompetence to this day.

Had Rhule been more personable and connected more effectively with his players, things might have been different. Fortunately, this is something Canales seems to be accomplishing with minimal fuss if his first few months in the top job are any indication.

As for Rhule? It would be jaw-dropping if he ever got an NFL opportunity again. If things don't start trending upward at Nebraska next season, his status in college will go from comfortable to precarious in the blink of an eye.