Matt Rhule: The ex-boyfriend that cannot let the Carolina Panthers go

Matt Rhule
Matt Rhule / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Rhule just cannot seem to keep the Carolina Panthers out of his mouth, even if they've moved on to a prosperous future under new head coach Frank Reich.

It's been an offseason is great excitement for the Carolina Panthers, New coaches, some impressive free-agent signings, and trading up to No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft for quarterback Bryce Young brought renewed belief that something special could be brewing under head coach Frank Reich - something that was sorely lacking under the previous regime.

And yet, the pity party continues for Matt Rhule.

Months after he was mercifully fired after another embarrassing home loss against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5, Rhule just cannot seem to keep the Panthers out of his mouth. Of course, this doesn't have anything to do with holding himself accountable for the team's failings under such incompetent leadership - rather blaming everyone and everything but himself for a downward spiral that left the franchise in tatters.

Carolina Panthers cannot get away from Matt Rhule

The Panthers were a joke under Rhule. There were other factors in play, for sure, but the buck stopped with the primary figurehead after team owner David Tepper ludicrously gave him absolute power and a whopping contract to prise the coach from Baylor.

Once Tepper eventually saw the error of his ways, things immediately began improving. But based on Rhule's comments via Pete Thamel of ESPN recently, it's clear the former coach is far from happy about his perceived treatment in Carolina.

"Going through the fire in Carolina was a purifying fire that melts away all the impurities, all the hubris, all the worrying about stuff that doesn't matter. I learned very much to worry about what matters. I have a focus and a desire in me. I watched what my kids had to go through in Carolina, and we're not going to let 'em go through that here."

Matt Rhule via ESPN

Rhule makes it sound like his time in Carolina was akin to a bad day in Baghdad. But his lack of personable traits and the lack of accountability meant he was always on the back foot with fans.

Excuses came in plentiful supply and on a weekly basis. Whether it was the Jay-Z reference or throwing his coaches and players under the bus, there was nothing this con man wouldn't do to save his own skin.

The players could smell this a mile away. Based on their statements since Rhule was finally removed, there was no talent development and a college-type environment in a professional setting as one man's dictatorship propelled the Panthers into the proverbial football wilderness.

If Rhule thinks his treatment was bad, he should have tried watching such an inept football product from the stands. At times, it was like being tortured for information you didn't have, and only when Steve Wilks assumed command did a level of professionalism return.

Rhule's silver tongue and salesman-like qualities are going down a storm in Nebraska as he looks to restore the program to past glories. But throwing shade at the Panthers and their fanbase, in particular, at every turn makes him look like the jilted ex-lover that cannot stand seeing a previous partner thrive away from the relationship.

It's embarrassing beyond measure. But very in character.