BREAKING NEWS: Struggling Panthers fire head coach Rivera
The Carolina Panthers have fired head coach Ron Rivera following a run of one win in six games.
Rivera led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 in the 2015 campaign, but a team who went 15-1 in the regular season were stymied by the Denver Broncos in a 24-10 defeat.
The Panthers have not won a playoff game since, though there were signs of life this year after they recovered from an 0-2 start to win their next four games despite the absence of injured quarterback Cam Newton, who has not played since the Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a Lisfranc fracture.
However, since their Week 6 win over the Buccaneers in London, the Panthers have suffered an alarming slump that has dropped them to 5-7 and effectively ended their hopes of reaching the playoffs.
A 29-21 loss to the Washington Redskins last Sunday proved the final straw, with owner David Tepper - who bought the team in May last year - indicating further changes will be coming throughout the organisation.
"I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team," Tepper said. "I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community. I wish him the best. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
"We are going to take a comprehensive and thorough review of our football operation to make sure we are structured for long-term sustained success. Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes.
"We will consider a wide range of football executives to complement our current football staff. One change that we will implement is hiring an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations.
"We all must recognise that this is the first step in a process, but we are committed to building and maintaining a championship culture for our team and our fans."