Ron Rivera

USA Today

Riverboat Ron's Epic Rant

Ron quite reached the peaks of Loser Frat Bro.

July 25, 2019 - 10:52 am

Amazon has released the latest series of “All Or Nothing” their behind-the-scenes look at an NFL team. This time, it’s the Carolina Panthers in the spotlight and last year was quite a season to be following the Panthers.

Because they beat the Cowboys in the season opener. Then they dropped a tough one to Atlanta, but bounced back with wins over Cincinnati and the Giants. Losing to Washington in Week 6 wasn’t exactly ideal, but then they ran off three straight wins over against Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay. They were 6-2 and things were rolling heading into a Thursday night game against the Steelers.

Let me take a moment right now to point out that is some tough scheduling. Play Tampa Bay at home on Sunday and then head up to play Pittsburgh on Thursday night. 

Carolina scored on their opening drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Christian McCaffrey and it felt like they were on their way to a fourth straight win. 

But then things got bad. Real bad.

Pittsburgh’s first play from scrimmage was a 75-yard touchdown pass to Juju Smith-Schuster. 7-7. The next play after that? Cam Newton pick-6. 14-7 Steelers. 

The Panthers punted their next two possessions and the Steelers scored on both of theirs. It was 24-7 before Carolina knew what hit them. And it was 31-14 when they got into the locker room at halftime.

It had been a brutal first half for the Panthers as a team and for rookie cornerback Donte Jackson who had been beaten for a touchdown by Antonio Brown.

Head coach Ron Rivera let Jackson know about it and let the entire team know about it. And it is unbelievable. One of the all-time great speeches from a coach. You ready for this?

Did you see how smoothly Rivera went from firing up Jackson to telling everyone else to get going? 

“The rest of you motherbleepers, the same thing…” That’s a pro move right there. That’s getting into and out of a break effortlessly.

“The only thing they’ve gotten on us has been what? Two bleeping long passes. You have to challenge these bleeping guys. You can’t sit there and accept it. This is their bleeping history, this is who the bleeping they are. They expect you guys to bleeping roll over. You can’t. You’ve got to defy them, and challenge their asses. You gotta bleeping hit the goddamn center in the bleeping mouth. That’s how you beat these GD teams. These bleeping teams come out ’cause they think they’ve got big balls, and they challenge your ass. Well bleep them. Challenge them back. Find out what they’re really made of. We’ve got one bleeping half of football left. Seventeen points. We’ve come back from 17. In fact we bleeping kicked the bleep out of somebody with [a] 17 [point lead]. Now get your heads out of your ass and play football.”

If you aren’t ready to run through a wall after that, I don’t know what to tell you. I guess I’d just repeat what Rivera said as he walked out: “Get your heads out of your ass and play football.”

I’m not sure I have ever seen someone do a better job of firing up a team. And I’ve been in this game for decades. And I’ve spoken to the best to ever do it: the best head coaches in every sport. The best managers in baseball. The best leaders and best motivators: the guys who best know how to get the very best out of athletes: who know how to get things from athletes that they even know they had. And that speech right there from Rivera is one of the best I have ever seen. In fact, I can’t believe I’m going to go here: but I haven’t seen anything like that since that legendary frat bro alum went back to Drexel to talk to his former flag football team. 

Do you remember that icon? You may think you remember that whole speech, but you probably don’t. 

And you probably forget the context that this isn’t a member of the team talking, it’s a former member of the team. 

It’s a guy who graduated, maybe, and has gone out into the real world and now he’s coming back to drop some knowledge.

He’s been out there slaying dragons. He’s doing the hero’s journey. And now he has returned to his flag football team to share the Intel he gathered. In the outside world. And to remind the warriors standing in front of him that no one, ever, ever bleeps with the SAE’s. Or ever they are. Especially when it comes to flag football. 

 And that knowledge has shown him that his frat rules and that when it comes to flag football, nobody dominates like his guys. Riviera’s halftime speech that Thursday night was the stuff of legend. But he’s got nothing on this bro: no one has anything on this bro: listen and tell me I’m wrong.

Damn! Freaking goose bumps. I’ve always thought that bro was a legend: Lombardi, Parcells, and Bellichick all rolled into one: but even I haven’t been given this guy enough credit. And if I haven’t, all of you sure as hell haven’t. 

Oh, sure, you remembered the part about we decide when we win and when we lose…which is bleeping never! 

But did you remember his confused and rambling statement at the beginning about being away from the fraternity and what he’s learned in that time, which hasn’t been a long time?

Did you remember that out on that flag football team, his fraternity bleeping rules? 

Did you remember that it doesn’t matter what their house looks like or who the bleep they hang out with or what’s going out outside of this bleep? Because this circle of fraternity flag football players, that’s what matters.

Did you remember that out on that field, we are bleeping gods. We’re the bleeping rulers.

No, bro…you’re the bleeping god. You’re the bleeping ruler.

This guy has been out in the real world. He’s been in the bleep. And he’s come back to tell you that the real truth in life, the only thing that matters in this messed up, jacked up  world, is what happens during on the field of that  fraternity flag football game today! 

Your life’s a mess? You’re broke? Nobody loves you? You don’t even love yourself? WHO CARES?!? THIS IS FLAG FOOTBALL. THIS IS ALL THAT MATTTERS. 

I can only imagine how hard that frat team played after hearing that speech. They had to be tearing off flags like they’ve never torn them off before. 

I don’t think Riverboat Ron quite reached the peaks of Loser Frat Bro, but he got close. Run that back again.

The Panthers went into halftime down 31-14. They lost the game 52-21. In other words, they didn’t come back from down 17. They lost by 31. 

In other words, they did not get their heads out of their asses. They got their asses handed to them. And that was the start of a 7-game losing streak.

But that’s not Ron Rivera’s fault. He left it all out there. He gave everyone the fire. They just couldn’t handle it. They were banged up and busted up. But that’s not on Ron. And if that frat go its ass kicked, that’s not on that bro either. Because like Rivera he did his job.  In fact, no one has ever done their job better than that bro did his. And I’d given anything to be in his presence and feel the heat. Long live that bro.