NFL world pops off in wake of Carolina Panthers firing Frank Reich

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

People across the NFL world offered strong reactions on Monday morning to the news that the Carolina Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich after just 11 games.

“I met with Coach Reich this morning and informed him that he will not continue as head coach of the Carolina Panthers,” owner David Tepper said in a statement. “I want to thank Frank for his dedication and service, and we wish him well.

“Effective immediately, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor will serve as our interim head coach. Senior assistant Jim Caldwell will be a special advisor to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, who will take over play calling duties.”

The Panthers have won just once so far this season, but the decision to get rid of Reich so soon into his tenure is thought to reflect more poorly on the Carolina franchise and its owner than on Reich himself.

It is one of the shortest tenures for a head coach in NFL history and the second straight season the Panthers have fired their coach before the end of the campaign.

Last season, the Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule five games into his third season with them. In addition, Reich was fired as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts nine games into his fifth season with them. He was replaced by ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday.

The former NFL quarterback gained stature as an assistant coach by helping the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl for the 2017 NFL season. Following that victory against the New England Patriots, he was hired by the Colts.

The Panthers traded up for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and used it to select quarterback Bryce Young. It was thought that working with an offensive mind like Reich would help the rookie establish himself and learn the ropes in the NFL.

That plan failed miserably, with the Panthers losing their first six games before defeating the Houston Texans in late October. Ironically, that lone victory came against the No. 2 pick in the draft, quarterback C.J. Stroud, who has undoubtedly been much better than Young in leading the Texans into playoff contention and putting himself on the fringes of the discussion for NFL MVP.

The Panthers were unable to build off that win, however, and have lost four in a row, including a 17-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans and rookie quarterback Will Levis on Sunday.

The failure of Young to develop arguably is the primary reason the Panthers dismissed Reich on Monday. However, the aftermath of that decision could make the job even less attractive than it was before and put the franchise in even more of a bind going forward.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.