To fire Ron Rivera at this point of the season would serve no real purpose, other than to throw the Carolina Panthers into chaos and embarrass a good man.
Rivera believes that he will at least be allowed to coach the 2-8 Panthers' final six games, and if so, that's the right call.
The calls for Rivera's head grow among the fan base, which is understandable. Carolina is 8-18 in his two-year tenure and 1-11 in games decided by seven or fewer points. The Panthers blew an 11-point lead in the final six minutes to lose at home against Tampa Bay. They have mastered the art of coming from ahead to lose.
An unofficial poll on The Observer's website asked whether Rivera would still be the coach on Monday night after the Panthers' latest loss. Out of nearly 4,800 votes by 6 p.m., 54 percent said "No."
Rivera still was the coach as of Monday night, though. And while I can't say I would give him a vote of confidence to be the coach in 2013, he deserves to coach the rest of the 2012 season. Jerry Richardson has never fired a coach midseason, and there's no need to start doing that right now.
“I’m not concerned about me, I’m really not. I’m concerned about them,” Rivera said. “We have a group of coaches that I believe in 100 percent. I’ll be all right. No matter what happens I’ll be OK. Whether I’m here next year or not, I will be A-OK.
“I will go forward, I will make things happen whether it’s here or somewhere else. I will. I believe in who I am and I firmly do believe in my abilities as a coach."
Rivera doesn't have very long left to prove himself. Richardson, 76, has shown he is impatient for a turnaround by already firing general manager Marty Hurney in the middle of the season. Rivera may well be next, and he probably should be next unless the Panthers perform some miraculous turnaround. But he deserves to coach these final six games first.
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