When David Tepper bought the Carolina Panthers in March of 2018, I was cautiously optimistic that this would be the change that the Panthers needed to bring them to the next level in the NFL hierarchy. The Panthers have always been a story of sudden success surrounded by consistent mediocrity. The Panthers have always been run poorly, with our successes almost coming as a surprise even to the fans. No one ever saw the Super Bowl run in 2003 coming. No one saw the almost undefeated season in 2015 coming either. The allure of greatness has constantly been surrounded by monumental chasms of terrible football. And despite being in the NFL franchise over 30 years old, as the license for the Panthers was granted to Richardson in 93, that famous stat of ours continues to be true.
The Carolina Panthers have never had back-to-back winning seasons.
When Tepper bought the team, he came in through that door with a lot of promise. He promised to bring an end to this constant mediocrity. To build the foundation for a successful, winning football team. That was the goal. And five years into his reign we couldn't be any farther from it.
We have been through four coaches, multiple quarterbacks, and endured five losing seasons. We have wasted much resources chasing failed QB's from other franchises, turned down amazing trades that would have gifted us multiple #1 picks, given away our grass field in favor of ugly turf, and failed to build a practice facility in Rock Hill that everyone was looking forward to. We've endured humiliation after humiliation culminating in the Panthers trading everything they did for Bryce Young when everybody knows that the Panthers should have traded for CJ Stroud, who's en route to have one of the greatest rookie seasons for a QB of all time.
But through it all, I as a fan was able to stomach it. I still had hope. I had hope because I believed in the basic human ability to learn from your mistakes. I believed that if you fell hard enough doing something the wrong way over and over and over again, you would eventually see the error of your ways. I thought that Tepper, having failed in the most spectacular of fashions for multiple years, may finally see the errors of his ways at the end of this season. That if things went badly enough maybe, just maybe, he might step away from football operations and hire a real GM. Maybe he might see that while he is a billionaire and is tremendously successful as a hedge fund manager, he is woefully inadequate to lead a football organization to success as the owner of a football organization.
This week, that all changed. From now on I will only support the Panthers ironically. Here's why:
This weekend, David Tepper gave a press conference. It was the most important press conference of his career as an owner whether he realized it or not. He needed to accept the blame of the team's recent struggles, answer some hard questions on why he fired Frank so early and what he plans for the future of the organization, and who has been making the calls in the draft and other things lately. The fans are going through a terrible time. Now more than ever, Tepper needed to show that he was the leader the Panthers needed to lead them through the fog of disaster and into the light of greater days and hope on the horizon.
What followed is one of the worst displays I have ever seen in my life. In just a 12 minute press conference, David Tepper confirmed that he is every bit the arrogant, jerk of an owner that he is. Somehow he managed to piss off the entire fanbase along with every reporter in the room. He dodged every question. He talked up having concerts in the stadium as if we care about that. He claimed he was a patient person after just firing his head coach 11 games into a 4 year deal. And most importantly of all, he had this line that confirmed everything that I thought about CJ Stroud.
"I 'believe' it was a unanimous decision for the coaches and the scouts and very strong opinions at the time. Now originally we were going to make a trade with the Texans and go with CJ because we thought the Texans were going to get Bryce. And listen we preferred Bryce he was our #1 pick and we had a lot of conviction. But to answer your question, that's not how the process works."
And then he delivers the line:
"And even if there was a process with 5 people in the room and the way the votes came in the pick wasn't Frank's first choice, I could always veto that choice."
This came unprompted from out of left field. And that one line told me what happened in that room. The reports about David Tepper screwing Frank Reich and his coaching staff out of their pick is true and David Tepper, for lack of a better term, is a DIRTY LIAR.
Why would he go the extra mile to say: "This is a unanimous decision but even if Frank Reich wanted Bryce Young, I could veto that choice because I'm David Tepper and I can do that because I'm the Owner and I got the big bucks."
Because he did.
The media is telling the truth. David Tepper is lying.
He threw away the best QB of the draft because he wanted Bryce Young. And come hell or high water, he ignored the entire coaching staff and he got him.
You know it.
I know it.
Everybody knows it.
All of your guts right now are screaming that David Tepper screwed the Panthers to go after Bryce Young. And you're all right.
In that single answer, David Tepper told me everything that I needed to know. He's an arrogant jerk that's going to do whatever he wants to do with this franchise and he's never going to change because he's rich and thinks he knows better than everyone else. He will never have his 'look in the mirror' moment and he will never be the guy that realizes he is the problem. He is the living meme of Principal Skinner from the Simpsons. And that is all he will ever be.
Buckle up boys. It's the bad ending. We're in this for the long haul.