Tempest Tepper has blown through Carolina again, and the only thing he's winning is a title he doesn't want

Tempest Tepper has once again blown through Charlotte without warning, carving yet another path of chaos and instability through one of the professional teams he owns.

On Monday, the Carolina Panthers announced they'd fired head coach Frank Reich only 11 games into a fully guaranteed, four-year contract, a tenure so short it has Josh McDaniels wondering how he can get a gig like that.

Team owner David Tepper reportedly stormed out of the Panthers' locker room after Sunday's 17-10 road loss to the Tennessee Titans, shaking his head and shouting a curse word. Earlier Sunday, NFL Network reported that Tepper was more likely to wait until the end of the season to evaluate Reich.

But in his relatively brief time as Panthers owner, Tepper has shown himself to be the most impatient team owner in the NFL.

The really wild part is that Reich is the second coach Tepper has fired this month: On Nov. 8, he fired Christian Lattanzio, the head coach of Charlotte FC, the Major League Soccer club he owns.

Now, with special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor taking over as interim head coach, Tabor becomes the sixth man to be in charge of the Panthers on-field since Tepper bought the team. For the record, he became team owner just five years and six months ago.

Carolina Panthers team owner David Tepper has fired yet another head coach. (Perry Knotts/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers team owner David Tepper has fired yet another head coach. (Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

Before purchasing the Panthers in 2018, Tepper owned a minority share of the Pittsburgh Steelers for about a decade, but clearly, he didn't learn much from that period. If he did, it certainly wasn't anything about franchise stability, which Pittsburgh has been a model of for decades, famously hiring just three head coaches since 1969.

Following the firing of Lattanzio, Charlotte FC's next coach will be its third. For the record, that team has played all of two seasons.

Mind you, in their inaugural season, Charlotte FC were 13-18-3, not a bad showing for a new team. This year, they were 10-11-13 and qualified for the Eastern Conference wild-card round, in which they lost to the New York Red Bulls.

When Reich was hired for the Panthers, he assembled what was lauded as an all-star coaching staff, full of bold-type names in NFL circles: Duce Staley at running backs/assistant head coach, Josh McCown at quarterbacks, DeAngelo Hall at secondary, Dom Capers as senior defensive adviser, Jim Caldwell as senior offensive adviser and fast-rising coordinators Thomas Brown and Ejiro Evero. (Staley and McCown were also fired Monday.)

All of those moves looked even smarter after Carolina paid a huge price to get the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, which it used on 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. It was believed that Young would get some of the best coaching money could buy.

Well, his coaches might be top-notch, but Young's offensive line and skill-position teammates are lacking. Young has been sacked 40 times in his 10 starts, and leading rusher Chuba Hubbard and 33-year-old receiver Adam Thielen aren't exactly keeping defensive coordinators up at night.

Now Young will almost certainly be learning from a different coordinator in Year 2, affecting his development further.

This kind of turnover doesn't make for a winning culture. Carolina is 30-63 during Tepper's reign.

Of course, Tepper could've stayed the course and kept Steve Wilks, who led a seriously depleted Panthers team to a 6-6 record and playoff contention as interim head coach last year after Matt Rhule was fired. But like the Raiders' Mark Davis before him, who dropped highly effective interim Rich Bisaccia in 2022 for McDaniels, Tepper reached for the shinier prize instead of sticking with what worked.

Going forward, Tepper's tantrums are unlikely to attract head coaches of the highest caliber. Yes, there are only 32 of these jobs on the planet, but after seeing how Tepper operates, is he really going to appeal to someone such as Bill Belichick, if he becomes available? At this rate, only a man desperate to become a head coach and kowtow to Tepper's every whim would agree to work for him.

And Tempest Tepper's path of chaos isn't limited to firing football and fútbol coaches: last year, he backed out of a planned $850 million development that would've moved the Panthers' headquarters and practice facilities to Rock Hill, South Carolina, claiming that the city hadn't held up its end of the deal, which was to issue $225 million in bonds to facilitate public infrastructure changes. The complex, which broke ground in 2020 and was slated to open this year, was to include retail shops, restaurants and hotels, all of which, as well as the build-out of the project, would've provided jobs for area residents.

Tepper, who is worth an estimated $18.5 billion, put his GT Real Estate Holdings into Chapter 11 bankruptcy after severing the agreement with Rock Hill. GTRE later reached settlements with the city of Rock Hill and York County.

When he was approved as Panthers owner in May 2018 and introduced to media, Tepper said, "The first thing I care about is winning. The second thing I care about is winning. The third thing I care about is winning — on and off the field."

Right now, the only thing Tempest Tepper is winning is the race to take the crown as the NFL's worst owner, now that Dan Snyder has vacated the title.

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.