As NFL.com's Nick Shook reminded readers, Ron Rivera called his shot in early December and sank it before the end of the month.
Rivera, who was fired in early December by the Carolina Panthers and told reporters before he left "I will coach again," landed his next head coaching job about as soon as possible, become the latest in charge of the Washington Redskins.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Michael Silver reported Rivera's deal is for five years.
Rivera's eight and a half-season tenure with the Carolina Panthers came to an end at the start of 2019's final month. The decision was a result of an underperforming Panthers team that appeared rudderless without the services of Cam Newton
, who was sidelined for the season due to injury, leaving Carolina to put its hopes and dreams on the arm of Kyle Allen
The Panthers saw positive results initially, but as the season took a turn for the worst, a coaching change under fairly new owner David Tepper became inevitable.
That opened a door into a vast expanse of opportunity for Rivera, whose name was mentioned as a possible candidate for most head coaching vacancies across the league. Redskins owner Dan Snyder moved quickly, though, ensuring the other clubs competing for the services of Rivera wouldn't even get an interview with him by bringing him in on the first day after the conclusion of the 2019 season and securing his signature before leaving their meeting.
The Redskins hope the moves can revive a franchise that hasn't won a playoff game in 14 seasons and faces plummeting attendance.
Rivera, 57, becomes the seventh head coach hired by Snyder.
The Redskins fired Jay Gruden after an 0-5 start in his sixth season. Some players bemoaned a lack of discipline, something interim coach Bill Callahan said he wanted to correct.
Bruce Allen was the primary voice in Washington's football matters since the firing of coach Mike Shanahan in 2013. The Redskins hired Scot McCloughan as general manager after the 2014 season, but he was fired after the 2016 season, and Allen regained control. Snyder had hired Allen to be his top executive late in the 2009 season.
The team released a statement from Snyder on Monday morning regarding Allen's ouster:
"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. Like our passionate fan base, I recognize we have not lived up to the high standards set by great Redskins teams, coaches and players who have come before us. As we reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process of winning football games, I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead to renew our singular focus and purpose of bringing championship football back to Washington D.C."
Now the team turns to Rivera.
He'll try to revive a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 2015 and hasn't won a postseason game since 2005. Attendance at Washington home games has plummeted, and opposing fans often outnumber Redskins fans. Washington ranked 19th in the NFL
in attendance and 30th in percentage of seats used this season.
As ESPN.com reminded readers, Rivera quickly turned around the Panthers after taking over a team that went 2-14 in 2010, the season before he took over. Three seasons later, they went 12-4 and played in the NFC championship. In 2015, they were 15-1 and reached the Super Bowl.
Rivera compiled a 76-63-1 record with Carolina, although the Panthers had only three winning seasons in his eight full years. They reached the playoffs four times, including in 2014 with a 7-8-1 record.
Rivera had a reputation in Carolina for being firm with players but also for getting to know them beyond the field.
Rivera also was Chicago's defensive coordinator in 2006 when the Bears reached the Super Bowl. He served in the same role from 2008 to 2010 with the San Diego Chargers. Carolina hired him as its head coach in January 2011. With the Panthers, Rivera earned a reputation in his first two seasons for being conservative.
But in 2013, he changed tactics and became known as Riverboat Ron for what others called gambling but he referred to as "calculated risks."
In Washington, he'll inherit a team with plenty of young players, including quarterback Dwayne Haskins
. By season's end, partly because of injuries, the Redskins used 12 players aged 25 or younger as consistent starters. Washington also owns the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Rivera is targeting former Jaguars and Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio as a possible defensive coordinator.
As Profootballtalk.com notes, Del Rio has a strong resume, and a common former address with Rivera. Del Rio was John Fox’s defensive coordinator in Carolina in 2002, helping them go from the league’s worst defense the previous year to second overall (adding a Julius Peppers helped too).
Del Rio had a 93-94 record as a head coach, but had some playoff runs in Jacksonville and Oakland.