Sometimes the best results come when our backs are against the wall. That was most certainly the case this year with Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers. After stumbling out of the gate to a 1-3 start, nearly everyone in the football world thought Rivera’s job was in jeopardy. He found his name on ‘hot seat’ lists across the internet, and it really seemed like only a matter of time before the axe came down on him. But here we are three months later, and Rivera is being rewarded for his coaching efforts in 2013.
Rivera has officially been named 2013 NFL Coach of the Year, becoming just the second coach to win the award in Panthers franchise history. Dom Capers took home the honors back in 1996.
This is a tremendous achievement for Rivera, but you can bet that Panthers fans are hoping it’s just the beginning of a great run in Carolina. As good of a story as the Panthers were in 2013, winners of eight-straight games at one point, they fell flat in the playoffs. Rivera’s coaching job was well-deserving of COTY honors, but for it to mean in anything in the long haul, it has to be the start of great things for the Panthers.
Can Rivera lead his team to more success in 2014? It’s going to be hard. The Panthers earned the second seed in the NFC, so there’s only one rung higher in the regular season. But where it will really count is the postseason. Now that they’ve been taken out after only one game, fans will have to hope that it only further motivates Rivera and his team.