Since David Tepper’s first press conference as the new owner of the Carolina Panthers earlier this week, fans have speculated potential changes forthcoming all aspects of the organization. Let’s dive into what Tepper may, or may not, alter when it comes to his most recent multi-billion-dollar investment.
The Changes We Could See Under New Carolina Panthers Owner David Tepper
In what seems to be the hottest topic of all when it comes to ownership changes in professional sports, relocation is out of the question. Tepper has repeatedly enforced his intent to keep the Panthers in the Carolinas, where they belong.
Where does that leave the Bank of America stadium, which is turning 22 years old this season, in the new owner’s plans? While Tepper doesn’t sound like he intends to immediately demolish The Vault, as fans have affectionately referred to it, the stadium could be due for an overhaul and even an expansion in the near future.
Something that Tepper stressed in his press conference was an expansion of the venue for non-Panthers activities. “If we do development here, that’s new development that keeps people here not just on game day,” said Tepper, “and we open up for other things, and I make an investment in [Major League Soccer] and I bring that in here, I bring that many more dollars into the community. That’s business in the community and that’s more tax dollars generated.”
These activities would also include concerts and high school championship games to help create revenue, something former owner Jerry Richardson failed to accomplish.
Speaking of fixing Richardson’s mistakes, Panthers fans everywhere can agree for certain, the midfield logo needs to be changed. As long as the Panthers have played football, an NFL emblem has stretched between the 45-yard lines at Bank of America Stadium. Richardson vouched to keep this for as long as he owned the team, tributing to the NFL for allowing him to establish his own franchise. Tepper needs to change this. Whether it’s the Panthers primary logo, or something similar to the tiger eye at LSU, this should be a top priority for Tepper in the aesthetics department of this franchise.
Regarding more of the aesthetics of the stadium, when asked about the standing statue of the Panthers’ former owner, Tepper was quoted: “I am contractually obligated to keep that statue as it is.” Clearly, Tepper isn’t a fan of keeping that statue up, but it will remain. He could consider erecting a statue of his own dedicated to a certain player who wore number 89. That could help to cover the embarrassment of having to endure the immortalization of a tarnished legacy that is the Richardson statue. Ice up son.
A topic that seemed to interest Tepper the most when it came to the immediate future is the lackluster state of the Panthers current practice facilities. “There is other development (opportunities) here. We do (need to) move the practice field somewhere other than right next to the stadium. … You do open up a lot of area for development.” Tepper didn’t hold back about these facilities falling behind the rest of the NFL’s standards. This is something that could have a substantial effect when recruiting players in free agency. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones set the bar high with his state of the art facilities at the new Cowboys Stadium.
As for the location of the practice facilities, Tepper stressed that the Panthers should have a presence in both North and South Carolina. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a brand new training camp facility established somewhere in South Carolina.
When it comes to the football team itself, ownership inheriting a team with recent success is a historical anomaly. The Panthers have made the playoffs in four of the last five seasons and have the fifth best winning percentage in the NFL since 2014. In short, the Panthers are good at football right now. Tepper doesn’t intend to make any changes on the football side of things, which is a smart move on his part. Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera and company can rest easy…for now.
The new owner had this to say regarding the state of the on-field product he’s acquired, “You actually have, I don’t want to give people too many compliments, but you actually are blessed with a pretty good football side here. A head coach that understands himself. I appreciate some of the changes that were made on the staff side in my view. I had nothing to do with it, but I’m just going to appreciate it. Norv (Turner) is a pretty good addition in my mind on the offensive side, and I think Ron (Rivera) is a natural defensive guy, just natural.”. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
These Panthers ain’t broke, and neither are their uniforms. Some fans are calling for a modern update of the Panthers threads, but, like the team itself, I say leave it alone. One request though, MORE BLACK PANTS.
David Tepper is going to make a massive impact on this franchise, as any new owner should and would. He’s also not someone who is afraid to speak his mind and be transparent with the media. Based on this first press conference, it seems the Panthers are in good hands moving forward under Tepper and should anticipate exciting developments within the franchise over the next decade. Something Tepper absolutely will not change? The mascot. The beloved Sir Purr was recently awarded Mascot of the Year in 2018.
Training camp can’t get here soon enough.