Tom Brady weighs in on Panthers firing Frank Reich after 11 games
Tom Brady recently said there's a lot of mediocrity in today's NFL. While that comment has been subject to criticism and debate, there's no refuting that the Carolina Panthers have been mediocre this season.
Despite having top overall draft pick Bryce Young, the Panthers have won just one out of their first 11 games. That outcome led to former head coach Frank Reich's firing and Chris Tabor's takeover as interim. The seven-time Super Bowl winner gave his thoughts about the challenge entailed in switching coaches.
Tom Brady upholds continuity in building a thriving football culture
In his "Let's Go!" podcast with Jim Gray and Larry Fitzgerald, Tom Brady mentioned that changing head coaches is like forcing the players to learn a new language. Brady shared with Gray:
“What if every year you had to switch the language? It’s really hard to build up any of that consistency and continuity.”
The Carolina Panthers' current situation could have happened to the New England Patriots during Brady's rookie year. Bill Belichick led the squad to a 5-11 record in 2000, his first season as head coach. However, team owner Robert Kraft stuck with him, and that decision paid off well.
Since then, the Patriots won six Super Bowl titles and 17 AFC East division titles. That's the same number of 10-win seasons the Brady-Belichick tandem had in New England. However, the three-time NFL Coach of the Year has struggled to replicate that success without Tom Brady.
Conversely, the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player added another Super Bowl victory playing for Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady also led the NFC South squad to three playoff appearances in as many seasons.
Tom Brady added about Carolina's lack of continuity after Frank Reich's firing:
“The more you have continuity, the more you can build on things over the course of years. If you look at football in particular, it's hard to cover the amount of situations that come up every week, in a game, start of game, end of quarters, how do you use your timeouts, end of halftime, critical third-down situations, critical red area plays, situation football.”
Carolina's coaching carousel continues
Contrary to his declaration of being an extremely patient guy, Panthers owner David Tepper has had six head coaches, including Tabor, since taking over in 2018. He retained Ron Rivera after buying the squad from Jerry Richardson because the Panthers went 11-5 in 2017.
However, Rivera got the boot after going 7-9 in 2018 and 5-7 in 2019. Perry Fewell replaced him as interim, losing all four remaining games.
Before the 2020 season, the Panthers hired Matt Rhule via a seven-year, $62 million contract. He lasted only 38 games after going 5-11 in 2020, 5-12 in 2021, and 1-4 to start the 2022 season. Steve Wilks took over, leading Carolina to a 6-6 mark to finish at 7-10.
Despite Wilks' modest success and rave player reviews, Tepper still hired Frank Reich as their head coach before the 2023 season. He gets the pink slip after 11 games while Wilks thrives as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator.