Written by Steve Reed, reported by Associated Press.
Charlotte, N.C. — Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper on Tuesday defended his perceived lack of patience after firing head coach Frank Reich 11 games into his first season, and the team’s decision to draft Bryce Young No. 1 overall.
Since purchasing the team in 2018 for a record-breaking $2.275 billion, Tepper has fired three head coaches midseason, making Reich the most recent one.
In the past, Tepper dismissed Ron Rivera when the team had a record of 5-7 in 2019 and Matt Rhule when they were 1-4 last season. Tepper did not provide a specific reason for ending Reich’s contract, simply stating that reporters could come to their own conclusions.
“I possess patience. My reputation outside of this game is known for being incredibly patient,” stated Tepper, a wealthy hedge fund manager. “There’s no reason why that wouldn’t apply here as well. However, my patience is coupled with a desire for good performance and progress in various areas.”
Tepper expressed his desire to have a long-term coach, preferably for 20 or 30 years, who would be able to deliver his eulogy in three decades.
However, Tepper’s time as owner of the Carolina Panthers has been overshadowed by defeats and dismissals.
Prior to purchasing the team, the Panthers had made it to the playoffs four out of five times, even reaching the Super Bowl in the 2015 season.
Ever since, the Panthers have consistently been performing poorly.
Under Tepper’s leadership, the Panthers have a record of 30-63, making them the second worst team in the league after the New York Jets (28-65). The Panthers have not made it to the playoffs under Tepper and have experienced six consecutive seasons of losses.
After the season, when Tepper appoints his next coach, it will be the seventh head coach he has hired during his brief time as owner. This hasty decision-making may hinder the Panthers from securing a top-notch candidate in the future, but Tepper claims he is not worried about it.
Tepper spent most of his brief news conference — he answered only eight questions over 14 minutes before the team’s PR staff abruptly cut it off — defending his actions as an NFL owner, including the hiring of Reich and the decision to select Young instead of rookie of the year candidate C.J. Stroud.
“I do not have a say in any decisions regarding the head coach or Bryce until the very end,” Tepper stated. “Those decisions are left to those involved in football.”
Tepper ultimately backed the choices made regarding Reich and Young.
The decision made by the Panthers to trade four draft picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore in order to move up eight spots in the NFL draft and select Young over Stroud has been met with criticism.
Stroud is 6-5 as a starter, and has thrown for 3,266 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions and has the Houston Texans in playoff contention. Young is 1-10 as a starter with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Stroud’s QB rating is 100.8, while Young’s is 74.9.
Tepper stood by the decision to draft Young, initially stating that it was “almost” a unanimous choice among the team’s decision-makers, but later confirming that it was indeed unanimous.
Bryce Young is highly regarded by myself and everyone in this establishment. We have full faith in this choice, and I personally am in complete agreement with it.
Tepper did not discuss the fate of general manager Scott Fitterer before stepping away from the podium.