Found December 18, 2012 on
Fox Sports Carolinas:
Ron Rivera must think hes morphed into Bill Murray and is smack dab in the middle of the 1993 film Groundhog Day.
But instead of Andie McDowell and Chris Elliott, hes teaming with Cam Newton and the rest of the Carolina Panthers in a season that is eerily similar to what transpired last fall.
In Riveras first year at the helm in 2011, also Newtons rookie campaign, the Panthers earned records of 1-6 and 2-8 before winning four out of five to improve to 6-9. They lost the final game of the season at New Orleans to finish at 6-10.
In the second go-around for Rivera, his team began the season 1-6 and then 2-8 again and have now won three of their last four contests to improve to 5-9. Carolina hosts Oakland on Sunday in a game it should win, and improve to 6-9, before closing out the season at you guessed it New Orleans.
If Rivera wants to return next season, reality must shake the organizations foundation and swat away any other similarities a year ago. If you take Rivera at his own words, finishing 6-10 likely wont cut it.
I think we have to keep going, the coach said Monday, a day after his club clobbered the San Diego Chargers 31-7. This is not about a couple of good, emotional wins. Its really about the whole of the body of work from a certain point on. And thats what were looking for.
Rivera almost spoke like an owner or general manager with those words. But maybe since the Panthers havent had a GM since Marty Hurney was fired two months ago and the coach has spoken with owner Jerry Richardson a couple of times, he knows all too well about his situation. It is highly doubtful Riveras fate has been decided, even though at times hes worn the look of a man clinging to one final thread. Starting out 2-8 will do that to a coach.
The 36-7 home loss to the Giants in September was the lowest point in terms of on-field performance. But a 36-14 home loss to the Broncos may have been worse because the Panthers simply beat themselves that afternoon. An overtime loss at home to Tampa a week later appeared to seal Riveras fate.
But the Panthers have won three of four, with the loss inexplicably at woeful Kansas City the day after the Chiefs dealt with a tragedy in which a player killed his girlfriend and later himself in front of team personnel.
That often-criticized quarterback Cam Newton has turned around from ridicule to praise, squashing the notion of a sophomore slump, should bode well for Riveras job security. Newton wasnt handling the position, the press conferences and who knows what else as well as he should have, and in time has come around.
Dating back to a 21-13 victory at Washington on Nov. 4, in a battle with of the last two Heisman Trophy winners, Newton got the better of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III because his team won. That was so important.
Carolina is 4-4 since and Newton has played like the No. 1 overall draft pick he was in 2011. He currently owns the NFLs longest active streak of 152 pass attempts without throwing an interception.
Newtons game management is beginning to match his amazing arm and breathtaking physical attributes. Some of the credit belongs to Rivera and the offensive staff. After all, Newton still believes in them, or so he says. And theres really no reason to challenge the players veracity.
Carolina has lost seven games by six points or less. One came in overtime, another by a point in a fluke loss at Chicago, another by two points in a late blown game at Atlanta.
Maybe the Panthers win one or two of those games had Newton matured quicker and the defense, which has performed well above last seasons effort, not been so ravaged by injuries.
The same thing basically happened last year, and the Panthers simply outscored some teams to close the campaign. Players preseason boasting of postseason success was quickly squelched, though, and here they are again, trying to make something of the season.
The only real difference is that Riveras job wasnt in jeopardy as Christmas approached last year. It is now.
That should make each morning slightly different than last December, even if everything else seems the same.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
MAD AS HELL
Frustrated Panthers fans have taken out a full-page ad in Monday’s Charlotte Observer in which they accuse the team's owner of perpetrating a pyramid scheme.
While Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes a strong finish is crucial for his team's confidence heading into next season, he's not sure if winning three of the last four games will be enough to save his job.
Rivera says ''I think we have to keep going,'' adding it's vital the Panthers beat Oakland and New Orleans to finish 7-9.
Carolina (5-9) enjoyed its...
Football fans are a unquie breed. We can deal with our team’s best and worst of times.
But when the worst hits epic lows due to mismanagement, there will be a very public outcry.
Billboards, magazine ads and viral internet campaigns have been used for various franchises.
A group of Carolina Panthers lifers, took out an ad in the team’s local newspaper The Charlotte Observer...
We’ve known all along that Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newtown is a physical specimen. We saw him dazzle throughout his rookie season and fill up the stat sheet like few quarterbacks, let alone rookies, ever do.
But for much of this season, the ex-Auburn Tiger, Heisman Trophy recipient, National Champion, and NFL Rookie of the Year, struggled mightily as his highly touted...
No doubt a dedicated bunch, Panthers fanatics have followed in the footsteps of center Ryan Kalil, who in July took out a full-page newspaper ad guaranteeing a Super Bowl.
Same newspaper, same length. The only difference? They went in the completely opposite direction.
A group of Panthers fans, calling themselves the “Perturbed Panthers PSL Owners Federation," bought a...
Whether he cost you a fantasy football championship or has run your favorite team into the ground, everyone has an opinion on which coach should be sent his marching papers after this year. Late season rallies by the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys may save Ron Rivera and Jason Garrett their jobs (though seriously, who ices their own kicker?), but in a league that is only interested...
People in Charlotte love to buy space in the newspaper. Back in July, Panthers center Ryan Kalil bought a full page ad in the Charlotte Observer, promising Panthers fans a Super Bowl victory this year. That hasn’t worked out so well. Especially with Kaili on IR since October with a foot injury. Now a group [...]
There are no more false hopes surrounding the hapless San Diego Chargers.
Done in by Mike Tolbert, one of the many players authoritarian general manager A.J. Smith has allowed to leave over the years, the Chargers were eliminated from playoff contention for the third straight year in a dismal 31-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The Chargers (5-9) clinched their first...
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are showing signs of life following a disastrous start to the season.
While wins haven't been easy to come by for the Oakland Raiders, they proved plenty formidable last week.
The Panthers try to win three straight for the first time in three seasons Sunday against the visiting Raiders, who hope to build on their first victory since late...
Former Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen (and current Carolina Panthers bench warmer earning $500k per year) apparently tweeted the 'Catholics v Cousins' tee shirt you see above as an opening salvo in the...
Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
The Carolina Panthers "Chargers East" embarrassed the San Diego Chargers, 31-7 on Sunday. San Diego has been on a downward spiral since the week six Monday Night Football "double-header" versus Denver by losing to Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Denver (again), Baltimore, and Cincinnati. The team has only bested Kansas City (really, who hasn't), and, frankly, surprised...