- - Monday, December 30, 2019

From nearly all accounts, former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera — reportedly the next head coach of the Washington Redskins — is a fine human being and a heck of a football coach.

Josh Norman played for Rivera for four years with the Panthers. The Redskins cornerback was asked Monday what Rivera would bring to the team in terms of culture, and responded, “Everything as you see it today would be different. I’ll say that … because he gets the best out of players.”

Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told The Athletic the arrival of Rivera at Redskins Park will be “the greatest thing in their careers” for Redskins players.

Rivera, 57 (he will be 58 on Jan. 7), is a pretty good football coach — a two-time NFL Coach of the Year with a 76-63-1 record with Carolina over nine years, including four playoff appearances, three division titles and a 15-1 season in 2015 that led to an NFC championship and a Super Bowl trip, losing to the Denver Broncos 24-10.

“Obviously, he’s a great coach,” Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said after Rivera was fired last month with a 5-7 record. “He’s given a lot of people a chance in this league. The best part about Coach Rivera is who he is as a person. He genuinely cares about everybody in this locker room — whether you’ve been here for a year, whether you’re an undrafted guy.”



He would also not be the most successful coach that owner Dan Snyder hired to change the losing culture of Washington Redskins since he fired Norv Turner near the end of the 2000 season. He’s fourth on that list.

Marty Schottenheimer had a record of 192-118-1 with 13 playoff appearances in 20 seasons before he was hired in 2001. Joe Gibbs was hired in 2004 and, well, you know his Hall of Fame resume. Mike Shanahan had a record of 138-86 in 14 years with seven playoff appearances and two Super Bowls in Denver before he arrived at Redskins Park in 2010.

Since 2001, the franchise has a record of 124-178-1 — just in case you assume that hiring successful coaches leads to Redskins success.

Look, I’m sorry to be the guy at the party blowing out the candles, but any reasonable person would have to have their memory banks wiped clean to believe that hiring Rivera will then translate to the respect and results that Snyder has futilely searched for during his ownership. Redskins Park is the elephant graveyard of the NFL, where careers go to die.

A deity like Rivera obviously couldn’t survive in the same building with the Prince of Darkness, so team president Bruce Allen got the official boot all the way out the door Monday, exiled to his multi-million dollar West Coast mansion.

Here is part of the statement Snyder issued:

“As this season concludes, Bruce Allen has been relieved of his duties as president of the Washington Redskins and is no longer with the organization.”

No thanks to Allen, Snyder’s wings and beer guy, for being the owner’s lackey for 10 years. It was a far cry from the departure of the last lackey Snyder had in charge, Vinny Cerrato, who was not officially “relieved” but “resigned.”

“We agreed that the franchise needs someone different in this position,” Cerrato said in a statement released by the team.

That, too, was a happy day for Redskins fans — not only celebrating the departure of Cerrato but the arrival of the new savior, someone with a name that was spoken in reverential tones among those fans — the late, great Redskins coach George Allen’s son, Bruce.

Forgive me, but here’s what I wrote when Allen was hired 10 years ago: “The presence of the likable Allen, who seems very much connected to the passion of Redskins fans, might make the franchise better — depending on who his dance partner is (at that point, Mike Shanahan had not been hired yet as head coach).

And then, damn me to hell, I wrote this: “His record as a talent evaluator as general manager of the Raiders and Buccaneers is a mixed bag of success and woeful failures. But now, at least, the dysfunction that permeates Redskin Park might disappear.”

Then at least I had a moment of clarity: “Allen’s arrival and Cerrato’s departure might make fans feel better, but his presence is no guarantee the franchise will rise above the mediocrity in which it has wallowed for 10 years now.”

Now I am drowning in clarity. And you should be as well.

Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan podcast Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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