CHARLOTTE, NC – At 10:30am Tuesday morning upwards of 50 media members filed into the auditorium at Bank of America Stadium for David Tepper’s first press conference in seven months.
The last time we spoke with the Carolina Panthers’ owner the team had just selected quarterback Bryce Young with the number one overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The room was filled with excitement and optimism. General manager Scott Fitterer was smiling. Head coach Frank Reich was smiling and David Tepper was smiling.
The environment Tuesday was much different. At 1-10 the Carolina Panthers hold the worst record in the league, Frank Reich has been fired and general manager Scott Fitterer was noticeably missing.
As Tepper took the podium in a navy suit and his black and Carolina blue tie slightly off-centered, those of us in attendance and fans streaming online hoped to get answers to several important questions and a clearer outlook about where the franchise, now on the hunt for their third head coach in as many years, is going. Instead we left with more questions than answers after the truncated availability ended after a measly 13 minutes and just six questions.
We don’t know what Tepper’s plans are for general manager Scott Fitterer. We don’t know whether he will hire an outside firm to assist with his next coaching search. We don’t know if he will lessen the reported micromanaging of the “football people.” We don’t know what the specific tipping point was that led to Frank Reich’s firing. All fair questions that would’ve been asked if the reporters who cover the team on a regular basis were afforded the opportunity. And even if we didn’t get specific answers, at least we would’ve gotten something.
We know that Tepper is proud of the events he’s brought to Bank of America Stadium. We know that he has final veto power regarding any decision made regarding the team on the football or business side. But none of that is new and the people watching wanted to learn something new. They’re owed it.
So what did we learn during Tepper’s short time at the podium? Sadly, little to nothing.