Rivera's job hangs on the new GM. I would imagine the order is
1) Find a new GM
2) New GM decides if he wants to interview Rivera.
Rivera, especially with a win today, has done well enough that we don't know whether the new GM will want to try him for another year.
I agree with you, for the most part. However, if I am the new GM, when I evaluate Rivera, I do not consider wins and losses without looking into the reasons for the wins and losses..
I interview him, randomly-selected players, and I watch game tape to determine his decison-making process.
If you want to look at wins, look at the significance of the win. I am estimating and repeating things I have heard here because I am too lazy to look it up:
RR has 1 win in close games, 10+ losses (TD or less)
RR may get 7 wins this season, but only 1 was vs. a winniing team (Atlanta-the Skins were losers when we played them). The rest (NOrleans, San Diego, Oakland, and Eagles) were either coachless or are soon going to be. Teams in disarrray.
Losing teams beat the Panthers on 3 occasions: Tampa Bay twice and the Chiefs (48 hours after a player committed suicide on the facility in front of the coach and GM.)--4 if you include Dallas, who was terrible at the time and could finish 8-8 today.
Rivera managed (chose that verb carefully) to extract defeat from the jaws of victory vs. Tampa Bay in Charlotte, Atlanta in Atlanta, Chicago in the Windy City (That is 3 games the Panthers had locked up if the coach had the team prepared and managed the game well), and poor performances against winnable teams at home (Dallas, Seattle). Losing to KC was inexcusable. In all cases, our players panicked. Leadership eliminates panic and replaces it with confidence.
There is no excuse, as a coach, for causing a team to lose 3 games based on poor management. We had the Falcons, Bears, and Bucs beaten--just manage the clock and do nothing stupid. RIvera failed. I recall when Bill Bellichek went for it on 4th and 2 and lost to the Colts a few years back. There was talk of firing him. Because it was arguably the best coach in NFL history, there was an overreaction. Rivera did this 3 times and nobody says much--it is because it was expected.
Those three games are the difference--we could be 9-6 right now, playing for our 10th win and a playoff birth if our coach had not let us down 3 times. That matters. If you accept mediocrity (7-9 and a helluva run agianst lame duck coaches down the stretch) then that is what you will get. If Rivera says,"We were 4-2 down the stretch" again this year, then I hope someone says, "About the 2-8 stretch before that...."