The Carolina Panthers have been a different kind of animal since their head coach earned his popular nickname.
"Riverboat" Ron Rivera became such with a new attitude, eschewing his former punt-happy and conservative self with a brand of coaching that embraces going for it on fourth down and leaving no doubt he and the Panthers are going for the win. Since losing at Buffalo earlier this season, the team has gone on an eight-game win streak and has converted 9-of-11 fourth-down chances on the season.
Rivera has been lukewarm to the nickname at best, but he's embracing it — for a good cause. He and his wife, Stephanie, have trademarked the nickname "Riverboat Ron" not to cash in on its popularity but as a way to try to boost his charity work.
They have worked with three charities — the Ronald McDonald House, the Humane Society of Charlotte and the USO of North Carolina — and hope they can make a difference by using the popular moniker, according to the Charlotte Observer.
“We’re trying to figure it out and it’s out there and people have kind of jumped onto it so I figured what the heck,” Rivera said. “If it’s going to be out there then let’s see if we can do something in the community with it.
“We’ll figure something out. They’re all worthwhile causes and we really want to see if we can help out in the community."
Hardly a self-promoter, Rivera said he actually prefers alternative nicknames, such as “Calculated Risk-Taker Ron” or “Analytical Ron”— but those are unlikely to catch fire in the form of t-shirt sales. Marketing is not his strong suit.
But keep winning, and Rivera and his charities should do just fine.
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