Jerry Richardson takes “full responsibility” for Panthers’ struggles

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who keeps a very low profile, has penned a letter to the holders of Personal Seat Licenses at Bank of America Stadium in the midst of a disappointing 1-11 season.

“I know how difficult the season has been for you,” Richardson said in a copy of the letter obtained by Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette.  “As the person ultimately responsible for putting a team on the field, I take full responsibility for our shortfalls.  It is agonizing that we have not performed at the level we had planned for and expected.”

At a time when many believe it’s a foregone conclusion that coach John Fox won’t return in 2011, Richardson promised generally to evaluate the entire operation.

“I want all of you to know that we plan to look at every aspect of our organization,” Richardson wrote.  “What we do in the future will entirely be geared toward putting the best possible team on the field.  I am committed to fielding a winning team, and I’m willing to invest the resources necessary to make it happen.”

Plenty of Panthers fans would take issue with that last statement.  If anything, it appears that Richardson has tightened the belt.  And there’s a growing belief that, when it’s time to hire a new head coach, Richardson will refuse to dish out the kind of money that would attract a guy like Bill Cowher.

And so it could be that the Panthers are destined to perform over the next few years like the baseball team in the city where Cowher used to coach.  Successful on the balance sheet, unsuccessful in the standings.

17 responses to “Jerry Richardson takes “full responsibility” for Panthers’ struggles

  1. Saying Richardson won’t pay Cowher and this proves Richardson is not committed to winning anymore makes the same mistake made when someone criticizes successful NFL teams by accusing them of cheaping out because they don’t bring in names – the premise of the criticism is that the name warrants being brought in regardless of cost.

    The reality is Cowher was simply not good enough – he got everything he could want in Pittsburgh and was very successful but even though he finally won a Superbowl, to get it he needed a convergence of injury to Carson Palmer and a lineup of a failure of a playoff quarterback (Peyton Manning), a fraud playoff team ready to quit (Shanahan’s Broncos), and another fraud playoff team with no ability to handle tough competition (the Seahawks). Outside of that Cowher had a fundamental inability to finish the job and it regularly showed in his playoff losses, be it with incompetent quarterbacks (Neil O’Donnell vs. the Cowboys and Kordell Stewart twice vs. the Patriots), bad coaching (inability to decide from one down to the next who’d quarterback against the Patriots in 1996), or just being outclassed in all phases of the game. The only playoff loss by Cowher where the team put up enough effort to win was against the Titans in 2002.

    If people have learned nothing else about the NFL the last ten years they should have learned that spending money is not how you win – you have to have a plan, a sensible economic approach, and commitment to sticking it out through bad times. I’m not ready to say Jerry Richardson is not committed to winning.

  2. The 2010 Panthers are a model example of why you can’t have a lame duck coach. This team quit on John Fox in training camp. That’s Richardson’s fault. He probably doesn’t want to pay a coach in 2011 if there is a long term lockout and so he sacrificed the 2010 season. After the labor dispute is resolved he’ll hire a first time head coach like Russ Grimm to in order to keep costs low.

  3. At least the Pirates have PNC Park which, IMO, is the best baseball park to watch a game at (of the 20 I’ve seen… not including SF).

    Sure, the Steelers have more championships… but are they all “earned?” The NFL gave them Super Bowl XL thanks to the refs. I’ll admit the others are earned though. Still, Steeler fans will complain… even though they were given 102,484,559 calls in Super Bowl XL.

  4. Dear Jerry – I’d just like to thank you and your organization for all that you’ve done this year to improve the value of that 2nd round draft choice you traded to us for some guy. I suspect our 1st round pick this year will only be one higher than your 2nd. Between the two, we should be able to come up with a new starting guard for next year, and some bonehead like you will probably give us a 1st next year for the other one. Which reminds me – would you be interested in the #32-33 pick next year in exchange for your #1 in 1012?

    Best Regards
    Bill Belichick.

  5. This guy should take responibility for the team’s struggles, he’s the guy who hung John Fox out to dry with his lack of activity in free agency. Now he talks about ‘utilizing all resources’…..are you kidding me? Where has this been the last few years?

  6. Dear Bill,
    You need to continue to do what you have been doing. Keep up the good work.
    Love you long time.

    Thomas Dimittrof
    Mike Smith
    Matt Ryan
    Roddy White and the gang.Merry Christmas.

  7. Bill Cower should be the Panthers coach next year, his coaching philosophy meshes perfectly with they like to do, especially with the offense and running the damn ball.

    Their not that far from being a competitive team, they will draft a franchise qb by the name of Andrew Luck and upgrade the wide receiver position as well as the d-line. Look for the NFC South to be the best division in football year.

  8. im hoping they win the rest out! The Skins NEED A GOOD QB IN THE DRAFT! McNAbb is A JOKE!!!

  9. the panthers need a qb like cam newton- jason campbell 2.0 while the Redskins SYSTEM WOULD BE PERFECT FOR ANDREW LUCK AFTER ALL HE WAS BORN IN DC

  10. Panthers are too cheap to be competitive. Should have kept their veterans (Peppers, Will Witherspoon, and etc). Can’t win with a bunch of rookies and second year guys. And now they are going to let go of the best coach they ever had.

  11. Total BS. Its a desperate plea for fans to buy tickets.

    Intelligent people need more of a reason to buy tickets other than an “Im sorry we stink”.

    The Panthers roster has so little NFL caliber talent, it would a record contract to attract a high level NFL coach.

    How many teams have gone 1-15 twice in 10 years?

  12. “Hello.”

    “Bill, it’s Jerry.”

    “I’ve been waiting for your call.”

    – partial transcript of phone call to Cowher last July

    There’s an old NFL adage that says when the owner quits on a coach, the the team does too. In between the lined Richardson as much as says so. Welcome to Jerryworld Panther fans. Fox is the best coach you guys will ever have. You are about to become the Raiders, sorry.

  13. @ osborn38 says: Dec 8, 2010 12:59 AM

    ‘Their (sic) not that far from being a competitive team….’


    Osborn, do you use that screen name because you fried your brain like Ozzie.

    “Not far from being competitive”? Really! My recommendation: either cut out all the drugs or begin using them MUCH more heavily.

  14. I have to laugh at the ignorant vitriol here. John Fox was hung out to dry because Richardson wouldn’t be active in free agency or wouldn;t keep Julius Peppers, a malcontent who wanted money more than to play football, or Will Witherspoon – as though a team that salvaged 8-8 last season was somehow primed to collapse. The Jets with their top-heavy roster and win-now approach are more primed to collapse than the Panthers were.

  15. “You can’t win with rookies and a bunch of second-year guys.” The Patriots are.
    You don’t win by spending money – the Patriots keep proving that as they succeed by “nickel and diming” people and not bringing in names.

    People keep forgetting the Panthers became a power in the last eight years and can certainly begin becoming one again.

  16. Criticizing Richardson for being cheap is not fair. He is paying about 30 million to players they cut since last year. The payroll is low it doesn’t reflect that 30 million he is paying to former players. Peppers was the highest paid guy in the league for 2 years.

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