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Ron Rivera: “Missed opportunities” define Super Bowl loss

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

Whether it’s because he’s five weeks behind or because the memory’s too raw, Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman still hasn’t watched the Super Bowl loss to Denver.

But coach Ron Rivera has “several times,” and he kept coming back to the same theme each time he watched it.

“It was mostly the opportunities we had that we didn’t take advantage of,” Rivera said Thursday at the Scouting Combine. “It was the missed opportunities more than anything else.”

The Panthers have every reason to feel that way, having played the kind of defense that ought to have been enough to make them champions.

They allowed the Broncos just 194 yards, but their four turnovers undermined their good work, and issues from missed field goals to botched special teams plays will haunt them even after a 15-1 regular season. And he mentioned that when he met with his team after the season, he pointed out the fact that Denver lost two years earlier to the Seahawks in even more humiliating fashion.

And while the temptation has been to declare the Broncos defense one of the all-timers, Rivera knows something about great defenses, having played for the 1985 Bears.

He was asked if he thought the Broncos defense deserved to be considered alongside his Bears team, but Rivera wasn’t biting.

“I’m very biased about that Bears team,” he replied simply.

It’s not that Rivera’s taking anything away from Denver or being ungracious — as he circled back several times to compliment the Broncos.

But the reality of how close his current team came to a championship is clearly something that’s going to bother him, and many of his players, for a long time.

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33 Responses to “Ron Rivera: “Missed opportunities” define Super Bowl loss”
  1. floratiotime says: Feb 25, 2016 3:24 PM

    And a massive choke job.

  2. dukeearl says: Feb 25, 2016 3:27 PM

    Missed opportunities like the QB not fallling on a loose ball fumble…

  3. key2heat says: Feb 25, 2016 3:28 PM

    Maybe his team should have practiced harder to play instead of how to dance on the field.

  4. mazenblue says: Feb 25, 2016 3:29 PM

    Neither Offense performed that day. Neither will be GOAT.

  5. dansardo says: Feb 25, 2016 3:29 PM

    The only thing that game showed was how truly “weak sauce” the NFC is as a conference, the panthers blew away the best the NFC has and I doubt the panthers could come out on top of any afc division

  6. tennesseeoilers says: Feb 25, 2016 3:31 PM

    If memory serves, Jeff Fisher waited until the 10th anniversary commemoration to watch the Titans’ Super Bowl loss to the Rams. That “one yard short” was just too painful. … So Gettleman may not be cuing that thing up anytime soon.

  7. iamkillerfin says: Feb 25, 2016 3:34 PM

    Crybaby Cam & Riverboat Ron got man handled plain & simple!!! pretty humble now aren’t ya!!!

  8. vicnocal says: Feb 25, 2016 3:37 PM

    Why did Rivera punt while down 24-10 with 2:00 left and facing 4th and 20 from about his own 10-yd line? Yes, the odds of converting 4th and 20 are not high (then again, Green Bay did it just two weeks earlier), but it was his only chance of winning. He punted the game away just so as not to risk the embarrassment of the final score being 31-10 instead of 24-10, which is pathetic. True champions are willing to exhaust every last bullet they have in the chamber, even if it means risking embarrassment – look at Peyton Manning, he suffered his share of embarrassments this season, but he knew if he could just hang in there long enough and things bounced his way, he could get Ring #2 with this team, and he did.

  9. hahalolrofl says: Feb 25, 2016 3:37 PM

    lame play and bad sportsmanship by Newton. There’s a legacy

  10. xbarkingfrogx says: Feb 25, 2016 3:40 PM

    Missed opportunities? Like jumping on a live football with 4 minutes left, down by only six, and having the best offense in football??

    ps: stay pretty Cam.

  11. jjb0811 says: Feb 25, 2016 3:46 PM

    I’d take Ray lewis’ SB D over Denver’s.

  12. skimbell says: Feb 25, 2016 3:50 PM

    The Panthers need to spend a little time brushing up on which way you jump when you see the ball on the ground.

  13. bassplucker says: Feb 25, 2016 3:51 PM

    Translation: Drops. Quite possibly the worst collective performance by a group of WRs and TEs in any Superbowl, ever.

  14. wrlegrand says: Feb 25, 2016 3:54 PM

    Haha, now we are going to bag on Rivera? You people are ridiculous…Denver played better and won. It was the mistakes that cost them the game. As well as Denver’s D played, the Panthers still were likely to win without the 4 TO’s and the missed FG. That’s not whining or anything, it’s the truth.

  15. delhommed says: Feb 25, 2016 3:57 PM

    The fix was in. Cotchery caught that ball (never hit the ground)… Denver was offsides on the missed field goal and refs allowed cam to be hit late the whole game… replay assistant’s wife was at the game in bronco gear. NFL wanted Peyton to win and they got it. What is Peyton’s record with that ref?

  16. patsfan4lifesbchamps says: Feb 25, 2016 4:04 PM

    All their playoffs wins came from opponents turning the ball early and then the Panthers capitalize on those turnovers. The Broncos didn’t do that instead they marched down the field and scored. The Broncos threw the first punch and connected. Just like when a bully picks a someone who is ready to fight back.

  17. stealthjunk says: Feb 25, 2016 4:11 PM

    Every team has missed opportunities. But that’s the difference between being the Super Bowl Champion and being one of the other 31 teams — the Champion usually misses the fewest.

  18. boltsfan31 says: Feb 25, 2016 4:13 PM

    There has been no defense since ’85 that matches up with that Bears team.

    If ranking the great defenses (including non-SB winners) since ’85 there are at least 30 better than the 2015 Donkeys.

    So Ron was right to not even make a discussion out of that ridiculous notion.

  19. bedoubleu16 says: Feb 25, 2016 4:14 PM

    Whoa really? Here I thought missed opportunities was a valid cause for anyone to lose a game but I understand now that it’s unique to only the Panthers

  20. dreadnok89 says: Feb 25, 2016 4:16 PM

    Or a qb who is only good against high school caliber defenses

  21. jgedgar70 says: Feb 25, 2016 4:22 PM

    Yes, it will last a long time. I still can’t talk very much about it.

    My team has now lost two Super Bowls – one on the last play, the other lopsided (despite a close score most of the game). So which one is worse?


  22. jgedgar70 says: Feb 25, 2016 4:25 PM

    My team has now lost 2 Super Bowls – one on the last play, and one that wasn’t close (despite a close score). So which one is worse?


    I’d rather my team not make the Super Bowl than make it and lose.

  23. immafubared says: Feb 25, 2016 4:27 PM

    It didnt go his way early. he wasnt going to be big hero that day and his karma went in the toilet along with his lack of passing skills

  24. wallabear says: Feb 25, 2016 4:54 PM

    Hard to beat a doped-up Von Miller, runnin’ around like a Wild Turkey lol

  25. wtfwtfomgwtf says: Feb 25, 2016 5:00 PM

    Panthers fan here, looking forward to next season and all that goes with it. 34-1-13 last 3 years as we crawled out of salary cap hell.
    We are only getting better. If smiling and celebrating is the worst thing anyone on our roster does I’ll take that any day of the week.

    Keep Pounding!

  26. tindeaux says: Feb 25, 2016 5:20 PM

    I think Ron Rivera meant to say “dabbed opportunities defined super bowl loss”

  27. badmoonrison says: Feb 25, 2016 5:36 PM

    Von Miller is one of the best at the moment, but Ray Lewis in his prime is 10X better and no Im not a Ravens fan. Just stating the obvious. Ray Ray dominated year after year. Consistently.

  28. nhpats says: Feb 25, 2016 5:38 PM

    Panthers have peaked. After watching Cam run away from a loose fumble the other players on the team will no longer accept him as their leader. It will prove to be the pivotal moment in his career.

  29. icebergsimpson says: Feb 25, 2016 5:38 PM

    jjb0811 says:
    Feb 25, 2016 3:46 PM
    I’d take Ray lewis’ SB D over Denver’s.

    14 37
    Report comment


    And I’ll take Derrick Brooks’ SB D over both.

    5 Turnovers
    3 defensive touchdowns
    5 sacks

    In a Super Bowl. Unreal.

  30. gysot says: Feb 25, 2016 5:39 PM

    Keep pounding it.

  31. xbarkingfrogx says: Feb 25, 2016 6:17 PM

    Still looking for all the Kitty Nation fans who, on this board, predicted an epic blow out game and that Manning would be removed from the field on a stretcher. Memba? I do. Here kitty, kitty. Come here girl!

  32. unitedramp says: Feb 26, 2016 7:51 AM

    And I’ll take Derrick Brooks’ SB D over both.

    5 Turnovers
    3 defensive touchdowns
    5 sacks

    In a Super Bowl. Unreal.
    That impressive but the Bucs D knew what Oakland was going to do before they did it – Oakland was too arrogant to change their calls and audibles.

  33. lapantherfan86 says: Feb 29, 2016 4:53 PM

    He’s right. The Panthers didn’t play anywhere close to their potential. What’s wrong with Coach Rivera saying what he did…….?

    Oh, right. They probably beat your team in the regular season. Got it.

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