Path to oblivion: How did the Carolina Panthers get here, and what comes next?

The misery never ends...

David Tepper
David Tepper / David Jensen/GettyImages
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The Carolina Panthers are not playing good football. The figureheads aren't giving good answers. How did all of this come to be?

Albert Einstein is widely regarded as one of, if not the most impactful and influential scientists of all time. The largest feather in his cap is his development of the theory of relativity. His mass-energy equivalence formula, E=mc2, is likely the first thing that comes to mind when mentioning the great man.

However, his most applicable contribution to Carolina Panthers fans may just be how he defined insanity.

I’m confident we’re all familiar with this definition and have heard it more than we’d care to, but ironically, I’d like to write it out again. Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”.

What David Tepper and the Panthers have offered their loyal fanbase is an overpriced, shiny ball of insanity.

Since Tepper purchased the Panthers in 2018, the team's overall record sits at 30-61. That’s a .330 win percentage. The team has never participated in the postseason during his reign.

Carolina Panthers hired the wrong head coach in 2020

His big splash and introduction to the football world was the hiring of coveted college head coach Matt Rhule before the 2020 season. The current Nebraska Cornhusker sold Tepper, despite the billionaire’s supposed savviness and acumen, with an abstract, Jay-Z-riddled seven-year plan to success.

As we all know, he awarded Rhule with a lucrative contract and an overreaching say in personnel matters.

The hedge fund guru then did his finest Frank Shirley impression and fired general manager Marty Hurney right around the Christmas holiday in 2020. He hired Scott Fitterer to take over leading into the 2021 season.

Tepper and Carolina interviewed 15 candidates for the job opening. Fitterer was a late name added to the pool, and the Panthers were the only team to interview him during that hiring cycle.

Fitterer made such an impression, that he won out. Fun fact - Ryan Poles interviewed for the position. That name may sound familiar, as he’s the current Chicago Bears general manager who completed the trade to move the Panthers up to No. 1 in the 2023 NFL Draft, resulting in the Bryce Young selection.

After busting out to a roaring 1-4 start in 2022 - Tepper fired Rhule. His record was 11-27.

But that's just the start…