In May 2018, fans across the Carolinas rejoiced as David Tepper was announced as the newest Carolina Panthers owner. Later that same year, Giants fans watched new Giants coach Pat Shurmer stumble to a 5 and 11 record in his debut season. While it looked like the two franchises were moving in opposite directions, the takeover of the new Panthers owner would directly lead to Brian Daboll being named the Giants coach ahead of the 2022 season.
David Tepper and the Carolina Panthers
Since taking over as the Panthers Owner, David Tepper has continuously looked to place his stamp on the team. As the leader of the franchise, he has stripped any remains of the previous regime, firing long-term coach Ron Rivera and ousting former MVP quarterback Cam Newton. Meanwhile, he has continuously looked to find that franchise quarterback to deliver the team’s first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Kyle Allen was given the first crack in the last year of Rivera, but the un-drafted free agent struggled and would follow his former coach to Washington. Next, David Tepper signed veteran Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year pact. In only one year of action, it became evident that the former Vikings’ first rounder wouldn’t be the guy for the job.
Looking for a younger player, the Panthers owner authorized sending multiple draft picks to the New York Jets for former first round pick Sam Darnold. In his only season in Carolina as a starter, Darnold quickly showed David Tepper that the trade was a mistake.
Finally, heading into this season, Carolina again targeted a former first round pick from the 2018 draft to lead the franchise, this time settling on Baker Mayfield. So far through 5 games, Mayfield has been one of the worst QBs in the sport, leading the team to a 1 and 4 record.
The Carousel of Giants Coaches
Which was once a point of long-term stability, the Giants have been searching for their next franchise coach since the dismissal of Tom Coughlin in 2015. The first Giants coach to replace the two-time Super Bowl winner was Ben McAdoo. In a little under two seasons his only memorable moments were a comically large suit and ending Eli Manning‘s start streak.
The next Giants coach, Pat Shurmer, lasted only two disappointing seasons before getting the boot. Looking for a coach that had more of the disciplinarian traits that worked with Coughlin, the team turned to the never-fruitful coaching tree of Bill Belichick with the hiring of Joe Judge. After 10 wins in four seasons, it was clear Judge had worn out his welcome.
Finally, the current Giants coach Brian Daboll entered the picture. As a coach, Brian Daboll had bounced around quite a bit during his career before really establishing himself as the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. During his tenure, “project” quarterback Josh Allen developed into an MVP candidate, making Brian Daboll a popular target during the hiring cycle.
So far this season, despite a multitude of injuries to the defense and wide receiver corps, the Giants sit with a 4 and 1 record.
While both teams have disappointed over most of the past 5 years, the two teams found themselves in an interesting race in 2020 that would alter the trajectories of the two franchises. With both teams needing a coach, the two teams were both rumored to be heavily interested in then-Baylor coach Matt Rhule.
A popular name in hiring cycles, Rhule helped lead the Temple Owls into college football relevancy before turning around a Baylor program that was rocked by a sexual assault scandal that saw the ouster of the football coach, athletic director and university president.
At the time, many speculated that Matt Rhule would be the next Giants coach as he was originally from New York City and had some prior coaching experience with the team. What looked like a certainly quickly changed thanks to the actions of Panthers owner David Tepper.
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Rhule Goes to Carolina
That offseason, the Rhule family took a vacation to Mexico while lining up coaching visits. Before he had an opportunity to unpack, David Tepper was waiting in the driveway. Knowing that he would have to act quick, the Panthers owner was willing to do whatever it would take to prevent Rhule from becoming the next Giants coach.
As the head of one of the largest Hedge Funds in the world, David Tepper is used to getting what he wants, and Rhule was no different. The Panthers owner knew that by showing up at the Rhule family home and presenting a massive offer, he could prevent the Giants from making an offer. Sure enough, his tactic worked. Rhule signed one of the largest contracts in NFL history for a coach and it appeared the Giants missed out on their man.
Brian Daboll Goes to New York
Eventually, the Giants coaching search settled on Judge and the team found themselves looking for a new direction this past offseason. The Giants were quick to add both Brian Daboll as coach and former Bills executive Joe Schoen as General Manager, the Giants finally appear to be headed in the right direction. As coach, Daboll has installed a new culture and quick to hold players accountable for poor performance.
They say that everything happens for a reason. Maybe if Rhule still took the chance to visit the Giants he would have ended up in New Jersey. Maybe, Rhule would have turned the Giants around or been given a longer leash. Maybe Daboll would have eventually found his way to Carolina. Regardless of the outcomes, David Tepper showing up in Matt Rhule’s driveway has altered the courses of both franchises. And while the Giants appear set, the Panthers coaching search is set to begin.
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