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Friday, February 23, 2024
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David Tepper’s Reign Marred by Firings

  • The Panthers owner canned Frank Reich after just 11 games — the second-shortest head coaching tenure in NFL history.
  • Between the Panthers and MLS’s Charlotte FC, Tepper has now axed five head coaches.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young hugs team owner David Tepper on the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Reich reigned as head coach of the Carolina Panthers for just 11 games — officially the second-shortest head coaching tenure in NFL history and shortest since Pete McCulley got only nine games with the San Francisco 49ers in 1978. It’s just the latest firing under David Tepper’s ownership.

The team officially announced Reich’s firing in a statement from Tepper on Monday, adding that special teams coordinator Chris Tabor will take over as interim head coach.

It’s the second time Reich has been fired by an NFL team in the span of just over a year, but he may not be sweating it too much: The 61-year-old’s former team, the Indianapolis Colts, owed him $36 million through 2026 as of his firing last November, and Carolina stands to pay him between $20 million and $40 million through the same year. 

Since buying the Panthers in 2018 and subsequently founding MLS side Charlotte FC in 2019, Tepper has fired five head coaches between the two franchises.

It raises questions about how Tepper — the NFL’s second-richest owner with a $20.6 billion net worth — is running the organization just five years into his regime.

Though nothing has been confirmed as of yet, there are rumors that it was Tepper’s decision to trade up with the Chicago Bears in the 2023 NFL Draft and select quarterback Bryce Young, even though it’s possible not everyone in the organization agreed with the decision, per ProFootballTalk.

Assuming the Panthers finish the season at the bottom of the league standings — where they currently reside — they will surrender a No. 1 overall selection to the Bears, even though they could have drafted C.J. Stroud or Anthony Richardson, who have seen more promising early returns at QB than Young.

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