Panthers Fire Ron Rivera

A lot of head coaches still employed right now who have to be nervous.

Jim Rome
December 04, 2019 - 9:24 am
Ron Rivera

USA Today


This could be a rough few weeks for NFL head coaches. Because the seats are heating up. There’s Doug Marrone, Dan Quinn, and Matt Patricia. Of course, the clubhouse leader and most talked about member of the field is Jason Garrett. But the Clapper didn’t have a game on Sunday, so nothing could’ve changed, right? Wrong.

Jerry Jones did his radio appearance on Tuesday and did his best to put out that Garrett fire by dumping barrels of gasoline all over the flames, quote:  “Nobody has the exclusive skills to get the job done so that collectively you can win a Super Bowl. But there are qualified people. Jason Garrett is one of them. In my opinion, Jason Garrett will be coaching in the NFL next year.”

First off, I have no idea what he’s talking about with the first two sentences of that quote. “Nobody has the exclusive skills to get the job done so that collectively you can win a Super Bowl.” The hell does that even mean? The hell does anything this guy says at this point, even mean? That sounds like something that someone would say when they’re trying to sound smart, but have no idea what they’re talking about. The hell does Jerry Jones even know about winning a Super Bowl: Jimmy Johnson won him the ones he has, and when Johnson got all the credit and Jones got none, he ran his coach off; and hasn’t gotten anywhere near sniffing the Lombardi since. So what does Jones know about winning the Super Bowl or who’s qualified or not to do so?  Still, he insists Jason Garrett is one of the people who is qualified to win it all. 

Debatable. In fact, most Cowboy fans would tell you there actually is no debate.… Plenty who could pose the question, exactly what does this guy that sets him apart from other head coaches …exactly, what is he really good at besides clapping. And that’s not me talking junk about red; that’s a legitimate question: where does this guy excel? What’s he known for? What’s his process: what kind of culture has he created? Exactly what does this guy do? I literally have no idea. Jerry Jones, however, must: he’s kept him around for a decade and insists Garrett is one of the chosen few, quote:

“In my opinion, Jason Garrett will be coaching in the NFL next year.”

That’s gotta be pretty assuring red. Your contract is up: your team is underachieving again: but it’s all good: and you will be coaching in the NFL next year. Just maybe not here. And maybe not as a head coach. That was the sound of Jerry Jones cranking the thermostat in the coach’s office to about a billion. 

Still, Jerruh is doing what Jerruh does best: talking out of both sides of his mouth: so bottom line this for us, Jerruh, is Garrett your man or not…quote:

“First of all, Jason Garrett is a good coach. He’s also one of the hardest working coaches. He knows this team better than anybody. ... I’m glad to have him. He is the guy for the job.”

He knows the team better than anybody? Generally the vote of confidence is the kiss of death: but this isn’t even that. The best thing the guy can say about his coach is that he knows the team better than anybody. Like…. Yeah, I’ll tell you what, Jason Garrett can identify every player on the team. He is great at that. He knows their names, he knows a lot about them. I know that Jerry probably meant that as a compliment, but it sounds like he’s talking about a diehard fan of the team, not the head coach. And if that’s the best Jones can say about Garrett, then he’s as good as gone. Winning the sorry NFC East isn’t going to be enough to save Garrett. Neither will making it into the postseason and advancing. Says here Garrett is going to have to get in and make a deep run, maybe even a Super Bowl run to save his gig and that’s just not happening. But Clap ‘em up, red, and just know, no one can ever take that fiery lettuce from you. So you have that going for you. Which is something. I guess.

And Jason Garrett wasn’t the only one feeling the heat yesterday. While everyone has been focused on Garrett, Pat Shurmur has quietly been putting together a truly hideous run with the Giants. They’re 2-10 this year. They’re 2-13 in their last 15 games. They’ve lost eight straight. 

It’s been so bad that it makes Ben McAdoo and his comically oversized suit and windbreakers, and greased back lettuce, look like Bill Parcells The B-Man was 13-15 when he was canned and he had a playoff appearance on his resume. Shurmur doesn’t even have that. 

And he’s so desperate to make chickenbleep seem like chicken salad that he was hyping Daniel Jones for throwing INTs instead of fumbling.

Yesterday, Giants co-owner Steve Tisch was asked by Bruce Beck of WNBC if he and John Mara had confidence in Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman: “Those decisions and conversation are not going to be made this morning. It’s really at the end of the season that John and I are going to sit down and talk about these issues.”

So maybe that puts Shurmur into the lead in the race that nobody wants to win. Until Carolina’s David Tepper took action. And that action was firing Ron Rivera yesterday. 

Uh oh! Even though there had been rumblings that was still kind of shocking. Because unlike Garrett and Shurmur, Rivera has actually had success. He had a long run in Carolina. Riverboat Ron was a legend there. He’s led the Carolina to the playoffs four times and to an NFC title. And he’s going without his franchise quarterback this year. And he’s pretty much universally loved and respected.

But Tepper had told reporters two weeks ago that he was not interested in long-term mediocrity. And that was followed by losses to New Orleans and Washington. 

Look, I’m not saying that Rivera deserved to be fired or deserved better than this, but if the guy in charge says he’s not interested in long-term mediocrity and then the team loses to Washington, an organization so awful that long-term mediocrity would be an improvement, changes are going to be made. And not at the end of the season.

Tepper was running out of patience. And watching his team take a 14-0 lead over Washington and then give up 29 straight points is the kind of thing that will test your patience. The kind of thing that will get a head coach whacked: even one as good as Ron Rivera. 

And unlike Jerry Jones, David Tepper IS going to take action. He knows what he wants in a head coach; he knows who will probably be available. And he wanted to get out in front of it, and start having those conversations, and not have them with Rivera still in the building and twisting, quote: . 

“I have great regard for Ron Rivera. He’s one of the finest guys in this game. Period. That’s not bullbleep, that’s just the way it is.”

So he gets a head start on looking for his next coach. Then again, who is he talking to? 

Guys who aren’t employed by NFL teams, which means college coaches and former NFL coaches. And some of the NFL head coaches without gigs aren’t exactly the most inspiring candidates – nobody is getting a headstart on the hunt to bag Jay Gruden, right?  Tepper didn’t just fire Ron Rivera so he can get the first crack at Rex Ryan. I don’t exactly what’s in his head, but I do know hiring Ryan isn’t. 

Then again, this is about taking action and getting started. If you’re going to do something eventually, you might as well do it immediately. 

And when you take that approach, there are a lot of head coaches still employed right now who have to be nervous.