Panthers Hire Frank Reich as Head Coach

Former Indianpolis Colts HC Frank Reich
Former Indianpolis Colts HC Frank Reich
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Conference Championship - The Carolina Panthers have hired former Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich to be their new head coach, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Reich served as the Colts head coach since 2018, making the playoffs twice and finishing top-11 in total DVOA three of his first four years. Reich had a different Week 1 starting quarterback in each season he served as head coach, his offense never finishing better than 10th in single-season DVOA. Reich also served as an offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers.

The Colts fired Reich on November 7 after starting the season 3-5-1. Indianapolis went on to finish last in both total DVOA and offensive DVOA, finishing tied for second-lowest in the league with 17.0 points per game.

Reich formally succeeds Matt Rhule, who was fired after the Panthers started their season 1-5. The Panthers also elected to go with Reich over interim head coach Steve Wilks. Under Wilks, Carolina finished 6-5, ranking 19th in total DVOA and 14th in offensive rushing DVOA.  

As a player, Reich spent one season with the Carolina Panthers in 1995, starting the first three games of the season before being replaced by Kerry Collins. Reich threw the first touchdown pass in the franchise's history.  


29 comments, Last at 01 Feb 2023, 12:19pm

#1 by theslothook // Jan 26, 2023 - 2:55pm

If I was Reich, I would extremely leery of jumping onto yet another franchise with a larded QB room and no easy avenue of escaping. 

Points: 0

#4 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 26, 2023 - 3:20pm

I half expect them to announce a Carson Wentz signing next. At last, he'll unlock his potential!

Points: 1

#20 by BJR // Jan 26, 2023 - 11:45pm

There are only ever so many Head Coaching positions available, and Carolina isn't a terrible looking one. There's definitely talent on their roster, and the division competition looks extremely weak right now. They are well stocked with draft picks after the McCaffrey trade. True, Reich could have chosen to go down the OC route for a while to 're-enhance' his reputation, but if he bombed there, then what? The odds of him ever getting a better opportunity than this aren't tremendously short.

From the Panthers POV, I guess they see Reich as the guy to solve their QB issues, however that might be. Darnold showed something at the end of last year, there's a glimmer of light there. Just pray he doesn't go out and sign Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan!


Points: 0

#2 by morganja // Jan 26, 2023 - 3:12pm

Another stupid decision by Tepper. It is amazing how an owner can drive a franchise into the ditch, all while spouting off smug, pretentious nonsense.

"Mediocrity won't be tolerated." -Tepper after taking an 11-5 team to 29-53. 

Points: -1

#9 by BlueStarDude // Jan 26, 2023 - 4:20pm

Serious question: Why do some comments have a thumbs up vote applied to them even without me clicking anything? Like, true, I was probably going to click the thumbs up here—I like to laugh. But if there is an AI tracking this, it's really disconcerting; and if it's just the random coincidence of some weird bug, that's uncanny. 

Points: 0

#15 by BigRichie // Jan 26, 2023 - 6:26pm

Maybe because someone else already upvoted it?

(unsure of your exact question)

Points: 1

#3 by morganja // Jan 26, 2023 - 3:15pm

"In 2019, Tepper and the Panthers announced that they planned to build an $800 million practice facility in Rock Hill, S.C. that would include team offices, a sports medicine complex, hotels and entertainment.

Less than two years into the project, Tepper's company stopped construction on the facility and declared bankruptcy. "

Worth $18.5 billion, and doesn't pay his bills.

Points: 5

#8 by KnotMe // Jan 26, 2023 - 4:04pm

I'm assuming Reich wanted a HC rather than OC job, so he took what he could get. He doesn't seem like a guy you want if plan to draft a QB however. 

Points: 0

#14 by serutan // Jan 26, 2023 - 6:24pm

Example of a young QB he couldn't/didn't develop, please.

It will likely never be proven one way or another, but one does have to wonder how much of refusing to try to draft a QB was on who in Indy - It may well have been Irsay demanding they go with a vet because he thought that would get him a ring quickly.

Points: 1

#10 by turbohappy // Jan 26, 2023 - 5:09pm

He was the poster child of "lost the team" and "checked out" with the Colts this season. No stories have come out with a satisfactory explanation of why this was the case. I hope the Panthers know more than I do about all of that.

Points: 2

#11 by KnotMe // Jan 26, 2023 - 5:36pm

That is true, although he was fine the previous 4 years.  Might have been he whole Ehlinger experiment (which kinda felt like a directive from Irsay rather than Reich's idea unless he was just spitballing to avoid getting fired) 

At some point, the players kinda realize it's over and it happens, esp with a more veteran team. I think the Colts knew they wern't spoiling anything either. 

Points: 3

#16 by BigRichie // Jan 26, 2023 - 6:29pm

At the getgo none of them expected Rhule to be coaching them at this time next year. And of course it happened well before that, again to no one's surprise. Nor did Wilks do anything of the nature of starting the clearly unready Ehlinger.

Points: 0

#17 by BigRichie // Jan 26, 2023 - 6:31pm

Could be interesting to see how Reich and Wilks get along. Though Reich is reportedly a very easy guy to get along with, so if he gives Wilks TOTAL! control of the defense, it could well work.

Points: 0

#18 by KnotMe // Jan 26, 2023 - 6:33pm

Motivation is one aspect of coaching.  Reich wasn't good at it, but was good at other aspects like like scheme. Inablity to modivate players in a losing season...isn't the worst flaw for your coach to have.  Rex Ryan is probably the example of motivation wo other aspects. 


Points: 0

#12 by mansteel // Jan 26, 2023 - 5:39pm

Reich threw the first touchdown pass in the franchise's history.

Wow, really? He would not have been in top 100 guesses. No memory of him playing for them at all. And I live in NC!

Points: 1

#21 by ahmadrashad // Jan 27, 2023 - 12:44am

First thought: it's a funny fact. Second thought: it was a plus on interviews when he said "I loved it here" and named local restaurants and golf courses. 

Points: 0

#19 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 26, 2023 - 6:59pm

Definitely reinforces my idea that Reich isn't a leach and Ballard should've been let go first. 

Regardless, league, unsurprisingly, 1/1 this year so far. 

Points: 0

#22 by NYChem // Jan 27, 2023 - 10:35am

This is Jerry Jones-level lack of imagination, creativity, and risk in coaching hires. 

There are a lot of comparables to Reich in past coaching hires - recently fired coach and NFL guy with a lot of name recognition, and NONE of them remind me of the guys who have really been successful. Not to say they blew it, and if they flounder for another 3 years, which I think is best case scenario, noone else will say it either. It will be on to the next coach who appears to fit the mold (in both senses).

There's a reason the Cowboys haven't acheived any real success since the last time Jones hired someone who might do things way different - Firing Landry and hiring JJ outta Miami was a bold stroke, and then Jones couldn't stand him and thought the success was all Jerrah and no Jimmuh, and Jones hasn't made a bold coaching decision since. 

Enjoy the Divisional round ceiling (if you're lucky), Panthers fans!

Points: 0

#24 by KnotMe // Jan 27, 2023 - 12:00pm

You gotta consider history with coaching hires. Reich has been reasonably successful till this year. 

And you can say he is totally familiar with "we need a QB" situation. :)

Points: 2

#26 by NYChem // Jan 27, 2023 - 3:21pm

Parcells? You mean as a cowboys retread? definitely NOT a bold move by the cowboys. Directly in line with the divisional round cap of bringing in a guy with no real inspiration other than he's well-known and had been a great coach.

Or you mean as a former player who was successful as a coach? He was definitely successful in his first go-around, and yeah, as an all-time coaching great he was a no-brainer if you can get him. NOT a relevant Reich comp. I'm thinking guys like Garrett, June Jones, Ted Marchibroda, Sam Wyche, Jim Zorn. Not all of those guys got a second shot, but none of them deserved to. They all seemed to get their shot because the owners remembered them from their playing or backing up days.

I'm not a Panthers fan, but this hiring is frustrating. Rivera was probably their best coach ever; not great, but he guided them to a lightning in a bottle year. They might have been right to part ways. But after taking hot college coach Ruhle and now recent retread Reich, it just shows they haven't learned the lessons that name recognition is worse than meaningless.

Points: 0

#27 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 27, 2023 - 4:39pm

I meant in terms of Parcells not being the sort of passive yes-man that Jones prefers.

Points: 1

#29 by Ryan D. // Feb 01, 2023 - 12:19pm

There are a lot of comparables to Reich in past coaching hires - recently fired coach and NFL guy with a lot of name recognition, and NONE of them remind me of the guys who have really been successful.

The closest comp to Frank Reich to Carolina has to be... Doug Pederson to Jacksonville, right? 

  • Played QB in the NFL, mostly as a backup to a Hall of Fame QB (Favre/Pederson & Kelly/Reich).
  • Moved up through coaching ranks, QB coach > OC > Head Coach
  • Coached together in Philly's 2017 Super Bowl win.
  • Left last head coaching job over disagreement with management/ownership over staffing or starting QB decisions.
  • Replaced previous head coach that was fired for redefining the terms incompetence (Rhule) and toxic workplace environment (Meyer).

It's far too early to say that Pederson is going to have sustained success for the next decade, but he certainly has a chance with Trevor Lawrence on his team.  I think he far exceeded expectations in his first season in Jacksonville.  There can't be too many teams that go from #1 overall pick to final 8 in the playoffs within nine months.  The biggest difference is that Doug Pederson took command of a team that had just drafted Trevor Lawrence #1 overall the previous year, and were on the clock with the upcoming #1 overall pick.  Frank's starting point is not quite as promising as Doug's. 

Reich just entered the office in Charlotte with two QBs under contract.  Number one is last year's 3rd round pick Matt Corral (who missed his entire rookie year with a foot injury).  The other is practice squad QB Jacob Eason who just signed a future/reserve contract last week.  The Panthers have the #9 overall pick in the coming draft, with a lot of teams ahead of them looking at the top 3-4 QBs.  Good luck, Frank!


Points: 0

#25 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 27, 2023 - 12:02pm

Jeff Saturday was right there, Carolina.  You could have locked him up before the Colts had a chance to make him their permanent head coach and you blew it.  Going with the guy Saturday replaced instead of Saturday himself?  What a stupid hire.

Points: 8

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