NFL Head Coach Fired After Nearly Three Seasons With Team

The 2022 NFL season is just five weeks old, and a head coach has been fired. On Monday, the Carolina Panthers announced they have parted ways with Matt Rhule one day after the team lost to the San Francisco 49ers to fall to 1-4 on the season. Defensive pass game coordinator/secondary coach Steve Wilks will take over as the interim head coach. 

The firing was first speculated by Pro Football Talk last week as the outlet was wondering if Panthers owner David Tepper would fire Rhule soon because if the coach lands a job with a college football team, the Panthers would get a dollar-for-dollar credit as to any remaining buyout. If Tepper waited until the end of the year, the head coaching jobs on the college level might be filled. 

After the game, Rhule talked about the most disappointing thing about being 1-4 on the year. "Just to talk about this game, you know, I believe that we had a chance to be closer than it was," Rhule said after the Panthers' loss to the 49ers on Sunday, per the team's official website. "You know I think the pick-6 and then I think our defense kind of hung in there. Just a couple plays late in that third quarter. I thought that 4th and four was really, really a big deal. We knocked the ball down. Unfortunately, it was a penalty. If we win that 4th down, it is a whole different game to me. I just feel like we are better than we've shown. It's how I feel but you are what your record says you are. We are 1-4. It's not where any of us intended to be. We got to get that turned around."

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Rhule was hired by the Panthers in 2020. He signed a seven-year, $62 million contract with the Panthers, and according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the team owes Rule over $40 million. Rhule was brought in to turn the Panthers around as he did with college teams, Temple and Baylor. Rhule was the head coach at Temple from 2013 to 2016 and registered a 28-23 record while winning the American Athletic Conference title in 2016. He was the head coach at Baylor from 2017 to 2019 and posted a 19-20 record. In 2019, Rhule led Baylor to the Big 12 Championship game and an appearance in the Sugar Bowl. In his two-plus seasons with the Panthers, Rhule tallied an 11-27 record.