It's unsurprising news if you read the writing on the wall which has been in place since the hiring of Dave Gettleman. The Panthers' GM had no loyalty to Rivera and the move to keep the embattled head coach stayed with Jerry Richardson -- which was a huge lapse in judgement. Instead of making the coaching switch Rivera was surrounded with poor support in the form of Mike Shula and Richard Rodgers, rather than hiring established coordinators with a history of success.
The end result is another lame duck coaching season, the second in three years. This last happened in 2010 when John Fox was leaving the franchise, resulting in a 2-14 season and a partial tear down of the organization.
It will be interesting to see how the players respond, especially with news breaking hours before their game against the Arizona Cardinals. Players respond differently in these situations, some will continue to play at 100-percent, like they did in 2010, while others will take their foot off the gas. We saw this from Chris Gamble, one of the lone dissenters in Fox's last season.
The locker room will be tested more than ever with a lack of veteran leadership and a lot of young players. For Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly this will be the first time they have been in a team teetering on leadership change, and it will be fascinating to see how the team captains respond.