Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera’s rollercoaster ride comes to an end

The Carolina Panthers gave head coach Ron Rivera the pink slip on Tuesday afternoon, ending his up and down tenure with the organization.

He was just the fourth head coach in the team’s brief history. But now Ron Rivera is no longer the sideline boss for the Carolina Panthers. Per the team’s official website, the franchise is moving in a different direction as it prepares for the final four games of the season.

This season, quarterback Cam Newton began the year behind center for the club and after offseason shoulder surgery wound up injuring his ankle during the preseason. And he certainly did not look healthy in the back-to-back home losses to the Rams and Buccaneers which occurred in a span of five days.

Enter Kyle Allen, who was a big part of the team’s midseason revival that saw the club win four straight. But now the Panthers are 5-7 after five losses in their last seven outings. Sunday’s 29-21 home loss to the Redskins saw Carolina squander a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

Rivera’s debut season in 2011 saw him inherit a two-win club and triple their victory total. A year later, the Panther finished 7-9. Then the real fun began.

In 2013, the club dropped three of its first four games but stunned many by finishing 12-4 and winning the NFC South. A year later, they would repeat as division champions albeit with a 7-8-1 mark. In 2015, Carolina won its first 14 games, finished 15-1 and reached Super Bowl 50. A season later, they fell with a thud to 6-10.

Then in 2017, they won 11 games and captured a Wild Card berth. A season ago, a 6-2 start morphed into a seven-game losing streak, due in part to an ineffective and injured Newton, and the Panthers were 7-9.

Much has been made about the fact that the Carolina Panthers never enjoyed back-to-back winning seasons under Ron Rivera and with quarterback Cam Newton since the duo arrived in Charlotte in 2011. Truth be told, the 25-year old franchise has never posted consecutive winning campaigns. Still, the ups and downs for this team over the last eight-plus seasons can’t be ignored.

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Regardless, there’s going to be a new man in charge in 2020 (unless Fewell wows the boss). It was still a pretty good run for “Riverboat Ron,” who took the club to the playoffs four times in a five-year span. But it was also an erratic tenure for the head coach, who could very well have a new team in 2020. Call him “Rollercoaster Ron?”

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