The National Media Is Finally Giving David Tepper The Scrutiny He Deserves
You’ve almost certainly heard by now that the Panthers fired Frank Reich yesterday. This comes after the team has gone 1-10 to start the season, Reich’s first with the team. It also marks the second straight year the team has fired a coach midseason. After last year’s release of Matt Rhule fans breathed a sigh of relief. But this time, I’m not sure what the feeling is. Because while Reich certainly wasn’t the answer to the Panthers’ problems, his departure doesn’t really feel like a solution either. The general consensus for the last few years around the Carolinas is that the biggest problem is owner David Tepper himself. And now it’s not just the fans saying it, the national media is laying it on David Tepper, and honestly, it’s refreshing to see.
If you’re reading this you likely know the story by now. Tepper hasn’t made a lot of friends here, due to the abysmal state the Panthers are in, his failure with the Rock Hill facilities, the Eastland Mall fiasco, front office issues, an often short fuse (but too long in one specific instance) when it comes to Charlotte FC and Panthers coaches, and some rather tone def comments made in press conferences. Remember when he said he brought music to Charlotte? In his press conference today he pat himself on the back about the number of events at Bank of America Stadium, and the excitement of Lionel Messi when he came to town. Perhaps he’s forgotten that first and foremost he purchased an NFL Football Team.
But I digress. In the wake of the news of the Reich firing, the headlines seem to be more about Tepper than Reich. Here are just a handful of examples of this:
- “David Tepper Is to Blame for the Panthers’ Mess’ (Sport’s Illustrated)
- “David Tepper is the problem with the Panthers” (NBC Sports)
- “David Tepper enters discussion for worst NFL owner after passing on CJ Stroud & firing Frank Reich: commentary” (Fox News)
- “Dysfunction, firings and a meddling owner: who would coach the Panthers?” (The Guardian)
- “Dan Patrick Blames David Tepper, Calls the Panthers ‘A Lifeless Franchise'” (Sports Illustrated)
And perhaps the most brutally honest of them all came from Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler (who says he was denied the opportunity to ask a question in the press conference thanks to the article)-“Panthers owner David Tepper fired another head coach. He should fire himself instead”. You can read that one here. It’s worth the read.
I think at this point, it’s pretty clear that Tepper is at least a significant portion of the issues plaguing the Carolina Panthers. As the owner he ultimately has to answer for what is going on. And I think a little accountability and self-awareness wouldn’t hurt when it comes to fans and his perception in the community. But it honestly seems like he doesn’t care what people think. He gets defensive, refuses to answer the tough questions, and today even told reporters he wasn’t going to say why he fired Reich. They could “speculate” on that.
The easy fix for the Panthers isn’t there. Tepper has preached patience since his arrival. Today, despite not giving Reich a full season, he said he is “patient”. Ultimately someone will take the job. There are only 32 head coaching jobs in the NFL, so someone will want it badly enough. But with a probable 7+ positions open this year, Carolina won’t be the most desirable job available. An owner with a reputation for meddling, no first-round draft picks, and a roster that is lacking, are all obstacles whomever takes the job will face. The upside? If you believe in Bryce Young that can add to the appeal. While the fanbase at best can be described as apathetic currently, we’ve seen them rally around the team in successful times. I believe that passion can come back. I hope it will. We just need something to cheer about.
And to do that, we need David Tepper to stay out of the day-to-day when it comes to the Panthers. Charlotteans and both the Carolinas know it. The national media now knows it and is vocal about it. But will David Tepper listen? I wish I had faith he would. We’re all begging you, Tepper. Put the coach and GM (we all know Fiterer is gone by the end of the year) in place. And then take a step back. A big step back. We’ve tried it your way and it hasn’t worked. This isn’t a fantasy football team. Let the professionals handle it.
Twitter Reacts To Panthers Firing Frank Reich