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The Panthers’ Plight: A Culture of ‘Hunger Games,’ Backstabbing, and Another Coach Fired

In October 2022, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper fired Matt Rhule and began a more thorough search for a new head coach after missing his mark with a “CEO coach.” After interviewing nine candidates, he hired Frank Reich. However, halfway through Reich’s first season, with the team’s record plummeting, Tepper warned Reich he needed to see improvement. The Panthers scored just 10 points with Reich calling the plays in back-to-back losses against Dallas and Tennessee, leading Tepper to fire him.

Tepper declined to elaborate on his decision during a news conference and the firing stirred attention. Multiple coaches, players, and sources referred to a “Hunger Games” culture at the Panthers’ offices with coaches undermining one another and pointing fingers, blaming one another when it became clear Reich’s days were numbered.

Reich’s staff included a pair of former head coaches and ascending coordinators. His offensive-minded approach proved challenging, resulting in a staff with varying philosophies and personality conflicts. After Reich’s firing, Tepper named Chris Tabor interim coach, who later fired quarterbacks coach Josh McCown and running backs coach Duce Staley.

The Panthers’ struggles may be linked to the lack of playmakers for rookie quarterback Bryce Young. Young hasn’t thrown for 200 yards in a game since the team’s only win. Fitterer, the general manager, has been criticized for his decisions, with no assurances about his future in Charlotte. With uncertainty looming over the team, the Panthers are left to re-evaluate and rebuild after another season ends in disappointment.

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