Advertisement

Will David Tepper fire Frank Reich after only one season?

Last Sunday, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports surprised by many by claiming that Panthers coach Frank Reich occupies the hottest seat in the league. Few, however, will be surprised if Panthers owner David Tepper yet again issues pink slips after the season ends, or sooner.

It's Tepper's way. He fired Ron Rivera. Tepper hired, then fired during his third season, Matt Rhule. Now, Tepper might fire Reich during or after his first season with the team.

And it's not just an American football thing. Tepper's MLS team has played only two seasons. And he has fired two head coaches — including one who just took the team to the postseason.

At some point, it's not them, it's him. And, at some point, no football (or soccer) coach with options will opt to work for Tepper.

The good news is he's driven and motivated and demanding and used to being successful. The bad news is the same.

Tepper is way too involved in the team. Every owner is involved, however. Some just do a better job of hiding it than others.

Tepper doesn't really try. It oozes from his every pore. He made himself into a billionaire in one industry. Now, he's determined to have the same success in another.

Of course, as it relates to the financial side of things, he will. It's impossible not to. As it relates to winning enough games and chasing a championship, the team has regressed on his watch. The sooner he realizes that and makes changes, the better off the team will be.

Don't count on him admitting it. He'll think he just needs to put in more hours. Demand more from his coaches and front office. Process more iterations. Learn more lessons. More, more, more.

It's too much. To step forward, Tepper needs to step back. He's out of his element, straying beyond his lane.

It's believed in some league circles that the Panthers drafted Bryce Young because Tepper wanted him, and that the people who work for him are saying they did, too, because they know what's good for them. If/when Tepper fires Reich or others on the current coaching staff, it will be interesting to see whether reports emerge that, for example, key members of the football operation preferred C.J. Stroud or Anthony Richardson, but that they didn't bother because the boss was getting whoever the boss wanted.

Yes, it's one of the privileges of being the boss. Winning NFL games isn't one of those privileges. For some owners, the harder they try, the worse it goes. Tepper would be wise to loosen his grip, trust his people, and create an environment that will be viewed as attractive for coaches — and not dysfunctional and radioactive.

That should be his biggest concern. If he fires Reich, no one will want that job. Unless he makes them a financial offer that no coach in his right mind could refuse, even if at that point no coach in his right mind should want to work for Tepper.