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Panthers Sign Coach Ron Rivera To Extension

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Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.

After entering the season on the hot seat and early speculation over his job security following a 0-2 start, the Carolina Panthers have reversed course and signed coach Ron Rivera to a three–year contract extension that will keep him with the team through 2017.

"The improvement of our team has been reflected in the progress of the record over the last three seasons under Ron, and we look forward to building upon that foundation," said Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.

Rivera was on the final year of his deal with the team, and he was seen as a lame duck coach that was on his last legs. However, the Panthers finished the season on a 12-2 run, including a big win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 16 that helped propel them to the NFC South division title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

While the Panthers entered the playoffs with a first-round bye, but they lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs. It’s a disappointing finish for the Panthers, but it offers a lot of hope for the team in 2014.

"I have been very clear about how much I have enjoyed living in Charlotte and working for this organization," said Rivera. "I very much appreciate the support and confidence Mr. Richardson and (general manager) Dave Gettleman have shown in me and our staff. Any success we have enjoyed is the result of a team effort by players, coaches, scouts and the entire organization, and our ultimate goal remains winning the Super Bowl."

Rivera joined the Panthers in 2011 as a first-time head coach. He sports a 25-24 record in his three seasons at the helm, and they have won 16 of their last 20 regular season games. He took a largely conservative approach through his first two years as a head coach, but the aggressive style that he has adopted this season has completely shifted the fortunes of the team.

"The team has shown improvement under Ron each year, and he is deserving of the recognition that he has received for the 2013 season," said Gettleman. "We are pleased and excited with the continuity this extension brings."

He has some peace of mind heading into next season, and the Panthers will be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.