It's not of Jon Gruden epic-like proportions, but the deal does save the Carolina Panthers coach from a "lame duck" situation in 2018, when he would have been working out the last of a three-year extension he signed for $19.5 million.
During a period of uncertainty in Carolina, the Panthers have made things a little more certain. Things are in place and we can continue this success.
The extension would be the first major move for Tina Becker, the Panthers' chief operating officer who has taken over for owner Jerry Richardson after he stepped away amid an investigation into alleged workplace misconduct. Originally set to expire following next year, Rivera should now remain in Carolina for at least a few more seasons. In seven seasons as coach, Rivera, a two-time coach of the year (2013 and 2015) has led the Panthers to a Super Bowl berth, an NFC championship and three NFC South titles. He is a two-time (2013 and 2015) Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award victor. "That's a big reason why I want to continue my association with this organization". Rivera oversaw an NFC-record 18-game regular season winning streak that spanned the 2014 and 2015 seasons. They are making their fourth playoff appearance in Rivera's seven years at the helm.
Carolina finished the 2017 season with a 11-5 record, good for a wild-card berth.
Its defense finished third in the National Football League with 50 sacks during the regular season, and it is the only team in the National Football League to not allow an individual 100-yard rusher in any game this season. The Chicago Bears, for whom Rivera both played and coached, are among the teams searching.
If Carolina and coach Rivera hope to extend their season, nearly flawless play will be needed in all three phases of the game - offense, defense and special teams. Carolina reached its second Super Bowl but lost to the Denver Broncos.
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