The Carolina Panthers inched closer to being eliminated from the playoff picture after falling to the Washington Redskins in Week 13 action. It also proved to be the last straw for head coach Ron Rivera with the Panthers as the team elected to part ways with him on Tuesday afternoon. It now puts another highly qualified coach on the open market for another team to possibly make a run at hiring. With that in mind, there is one team that could be the ideal landing spot for the 57-year-old.
Ron Rivera’s Tenure with the Panthers
Before taking the head coaching gig with the Panthers, Rivera made his way through the years as a defensive coach with several different teams. Carolina hired him after he spent the three years prior as the defensive coordinator with the then-San Diego Chargers.
Rivera struggled through his first two years at the helm with the franchise but found much success over the next several seasons. It saw the Panthers reach the playoffs in three straight campaigns that were capped by reaching Super Bowl 50 in 2015. Rivera would garner a playoff appearance in four years out of a five-year window with three NFC South division titles.
That success helped him earn a pair of AP NFL Coach of the Year awards. However, the team has struggled to find consistent success in the last three years, with what looks to be their second straight campaign missing the playoffs. Rivera holds a 79-67-1 career head coach record, including going 3-4 in the four postseason trips.
All of that has put him out of a job in the NFL while bringing more questions about the state of the Panthers with it also seeming like Cam Newton is out the door. Beyond that, it could open the door to one team, making a strong push to hire Rivera over the offseason.
Ron Rivera’s NFL homecoming?
Although Rivera’s tenure with the Panthers has come to an abrupt end amid his ninth season with the team, it does give several other franchises a new potential option to fill their head coach need.
Among those teams could very well be the Chicago Bears, who have taken a significant step back in the 2019 campaign. The Bears have had some significant issues offensively that have put them nearly entirely out of the playoff picture heading into the final month of the season.
It’s more than fair to argue that it’s quite early to suggest that Chicago will move on from Matt Nagy after just two seasons, but the possibility is certainly there and isn’t unprecedented. The team could easily continue to ride with Nagy and see how he operates with his another quarterback under center, aside from Mitchell Trubisky.
Rivera checks the boxes as a proven head coach who has led a team to the playoffs on multiple occasions. There is also the apparent connections with him having played his NFL career with the franchise and getting his first couple of coaching opportunities with the organization. That would bring everything to complete full circle for Rivera.
Ron Rivera will be a hot commodity
Beyond just the Panthers and the Washington Redskins, there will be several other teams around the league that could move in another direction at the head coach position.
That list could include the likes of the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Detriot Lions, and Dallas Cowboys. There will be a few different opportunities presented to him given his coaching pedigree, having taken a team to the playoffs on multiple occasions capped by reaching the Super Bowl.
That said, if the Bears were to toss their name into the hat for the head coaching search next offseason, it could see them make a strong play for ole Riverboat Ron.