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Panthers Hire Frank Reich As Their Next Head Coach
As the team's official website framed it, "The Panthers are trying something new, while going back to the future at the same time."

Reich, the starting quarterback for the first game in Carolina Panthers history in 1995, is now the team's sixth head coach.

Owner David Tepper chose Reich, 61, after an extensive search that included nine candidates, including interim head coach Steve Wilks and former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

According to's David Newton, it ultimately came down to Reich and Wilks, who went 6-6 after Matt Rhule was fired following a 1-4 start.

Wilks was the sentimental favorite by Carolina players to get the full-time job.

Reich, fired as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in November, is the first offensive-minded head coach hired in Carolina history.

That played a big role in the decision to hire him over Wilks, whose background is on defense.

Seven of the nine candidates had offensive backgrounds in a search that centered around fixing the quarterback position and an offense that has been in flux since quarterback Cam Newton began having shoulder issues midway through the 2018 season.

Since then, Carolina has had eight different quarterbacks start at least one game and has finished no better than 19th in the NFL in scoring. That has played a major role in the Panthers having five straight losing seasons since Tepper bought the franchise in 2018 for, at the time, a league-record $2.275 billion.

"Winning is the most important thing both on the field and in the community, and I am committed to winning a Super Bowl championship together,' Tepper said at the time.

Reich went to four Super Bowls as a player with the Buffalo Bills, where he was primarily a backup. As a coach, he won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2017 season in which he was the offensive coordinator.

In 2017, Reich helped Carson Wentz go 11-2 with MVP-caliber numbers before a season-ending injury and Nick Foles become the Super Bowl MVP in a 41-33 victory against the New England Patriots.

He also worked with future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers with the then-San Diego Chargers and Colts.

Reich was fired by the Colts after a 3-5-1 start, ending his tenure with the team a little over one year after extending his contract through the 2026 season.

He was 40-33-1 during four-plus seasons in Indianapolis, 1-2 in the postseason.

Reich was forced go into each of his five seasons in Indianapolis with a different starting quarterback -- Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Rivers, Wentz and Matt Ryan -- after the sudden retirement of Luck before the coach's second season in 2019.

His dismissal came a week after he benched Ryan in favor of second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger. The Colts ranked last in points per game (14.7) and sacks allowed (35), 27th in yards per game (315.1) and tied for last in turnovers (17) at the time of the firing, which came after a 26-3 loss to the New England Patriots in which the offense had just 121 yards.

To state the obvious: Developing the QB position will be one of the top priorities for Reich.

Over the last two seasons, the Panthers rank last in total QBR, touchdown to interception ratio, and second to last in pass yards per game. Carolina currently only has Matt Corral and Jacob Eason under contract for the 2023 season.

Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and P.J. Walker all started games for the team last season.