Panthers owner David Tepper defends lack of patience, decision to draft Bryce Young No. 1 overall

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Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper speaks during an NFL football news conference Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper on Tuesday defended his perceived lack of patience after firing head coach Frank Reich 11 games into his first season, and the team's decision to draft Bryce Young No. 1 overall.

Reich became the third head coach to be fired midseason by Tepper since he purchased the team in 2018 for a then-NFL record $2.275 billion.

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Tepper previously fired Ron Rivera after a 5-7 start in 2019 and Matt Rhule after going 1-4 last season. Tepper gave no direct explanation for the decision to terminate Reich's contract, telling reporters they can draw their own conclusion.

“I do have patience. My reputation away from this game is one of extreme patience,” said Tepper, a multibillionaire hedge fund owner. “There’s no reason why that doesn’t come here, too. Now, that patience comes with good performance and wanting to see progress made in different aspects.

“I would like to have someone (coach) here for 20 or 30 years. I would like to have somebody that would say my eulogy in 30 years,” Tepper added.

But so far Tepper's tenure in Carolina has been marred by losses and firings.

Before he bought the team, the Panthers had been to the playoffs four out of five seasons, including a Super Bowl trip in the 2015 season.

Since then, the Panthers have been consistently awful.

They're 30-63 under Tepper, the second worst record in the league behind only the New York Jets (28-65). The Panthers haven't been to the postseason under Tepper, while enduring six straight losing seasons.

When Tepper hires his next coach after the season it will be the seventh head coach — including fulltime and interim coaches — that he's employed during his short tenure. That quick trigger could prevent the Panthers from landing a quality candidate in the next cycle, although Tepper said he's not concerned with that.

Tepper spent most of his brief news conference — he answered only eight questions over 14 minutes before the team's PR staff abruptly cut it off — defending his actions as an NFL owner, including the hiring of Reich and the decision to select Young instead of rookie of the year candidate C.J. Stroud.

“All of those decisions, whether it's the head coach, whether it's Bryce, I really don't even vote on those decisions until the least piece,” Tepper said. “Those decisions are made by football people."

Tepper said he ultimately supported the decisions on Reich and Young.

The Panthers have endured criticism for trading away four draft picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore to move up eight spots in the NFL draft last year and take Young instead of Stroud.

Stroud is 6-5 as a starter, and has thrown for 3,266 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions and has the Houston Texans in playoff contention. Young is 1-10 as a starter with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Stroud has a 100.8 QB rating; Young's is 74.9.

Tepper defended drafting Young, first saying taking him was “almost” a unanimous decision among the team's personnel decision-makers, before clarifying himself by saying it was unanimous.

“As far as Bryce Young is concerned, for myself, and I think everybody in this building would share this sentiment, we’re totally confident in that pick," Tepper said. "And for me, I’m totally confident in agreeing with that pick.’’

Tepper did not address the future of general manager Scott Fitterer before walking away from the podium.



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