Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has won the NFL Coach of the Year award from bringing the Panthers from mediocrity to the forefront with a 12-4 season.
Rivera embraced his inner gambler, finally willing to cede some control to quarterback Cam Newton, allowing for 10 fourth down conversions in the regular season. It was a stunning turn for a coach once thought to be on the hot seat, rising to the forefront in the Panthers first playoff berth in five years.
The organization are fully behind Rivera being the team's head coach moving forward, showing no doubt in his ability with a three year extension. It will ensure the defensive-minded coach can continue to mold the team in his image, leaning on a strong defensive front and aggressive unit to mitigate struggles on offense and in the secondary.
Rivera beat out former Panthers head coach John Fox, along with Andy Reid of the Chiefs, Bruce Arians of the Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly -- all of whom were believed to be in the running for the award.