Still basking in the glow of having helped engineer the NFL’s 10-year labor with players, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson joked Friday morning he was enthusiastic about the start of a new season — until Thursday night.
“I was very excited about this season until I made the mistake last night of watching the Green Bay Packers, who are coming here in one week,” Richardson cracked, referencing the defending Super Bowl champions’ impressive 42-34 vcitory over New Orleans.
“Ron (Rivera) is a good coach but I wish him well.” (View Mr. Richardson’s Speech below.)
Richardson made his remarks to several hundred guests at the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club meeting at Carmel Country Club, shortly before he was scheduled to fly to Arizona to see the Panthers open their season against the Cardinals Sunday.
During his 25-minute talk, Richardson showed his sense of humor as he touched on a variety of subjects.
— On the 10-year labor agreement he helped broker: “The key word is certainty. We’re living in a country that I have zero confidence in certainty from the people 400 or 500 miles north of us… We’re going to be in business. We’re the gold standard in sports and we’ll continue to widen that.”
— On the public’s discontent with four preseason games: “You don’t have to tell me. I know you don’t like that.
“I’ve got it. They don’t got it (pointing to a table of former Panthers players).”
— On changing directions with the franchise: “We had a plan for the Carolina Panthers that started in January, 2008. It was driving me crazy. We could not have back to back winning seasons. I couldn’t take it anymore.
“We agreed we would try to be the best we could in 2008 and 2009. I said to (general manager) Marty (Hurney) and (former coach) John Fox we’re not going to keep doing this over and over what we’ve been doing. We’re going to change and we’re going to go with younger players…
“Unfortunately in my judgment, the young players didn’t get better and we made a coaching change. Out of all the coaches we’ve hired, I think Ron Rivera is perfect for the Carolina Panthers.”
— On what it was like to work in a room with fellow owners Al Davis, Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder: “That would be like going to a zoo. You see all the specimens.”
— Ron Green Jr.