Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper on Tuesday fired head coach Ron Rivera, two days after an embarrassing 29-21 home loss to the two-win Washington Redskins.

It was the Panthers' third home loss this season to a team with a losing record.

Secondary coach Perry Fewell has been named interim head coach. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will transition to special assistant to the head coach, and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will serve as offensive coordinator.

"I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team," Tepper said in a statement. "I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community. I wish him the best. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers."

Tepper added in his statement that he planned to add executives to "complement our current football staff."

"We are going to take a comprehensive and thorough review of our football operation to make sure we are structured for long-term sustained success," Tepper said. "Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes. We will consider a wide range of football executives to complement our current football staff. One change that we will implement is hiring an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations. We all must recognize that this is the first step in a process, but we are committed to building and maintaining a championship culture for our team and our fans."

Rivera ended his nine-year tenure in Carolina as the winningest coach in team history, with a 76-63-1 regular-season record and a 3-4 postseason mark. He was a two-time NFL Coach of the Year and took the team to Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season, but finished with only three winning seasons since taking over in 2011. The Panthers lost to the Denver Broncos in that Super Bowl.

Rivera had a 12-16 record the past two seasons after Tepper spent an NFL-record $2.275 billion to purchase the Panthers from longtime owner Jerry Richardson.

It is unclear which direction Tepper will go in his search for a replacement, but as a former minority owner with the Steelers and a native of Pittsburgh, he could look to that organization for help.

It remains to be seen what the staff changes mean for quarterback Cam Newton, who is recovering from a Lisfranc injury that ended his season after Week 2. Tepper said when he told reporters he would not accept long-term mediocrity that the first priority was to get Newton healthy.

Tepper likely will let the new general manager and head coach make the final decision on Newton, 30, who is entering the final year of his contract.

Rivera, who turns 58 in January, shouldn't have trouble finding another job as either a head coach or defensive coordinator. He took over the defensive playcalling late last season in an attempt to turn the defense around and continued in that role this season.

He is looked at leaguewide as one of the best defensive minds in the game.

Continue Reading