From FMIA https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2020/01/13/aaron-rodgers-packers-nfl-playoffs-fmia-peter-king/
Matt Rhule • Carolina head coach •
What led you to this moment, being handed the reins of an NFL team by David Tepper?
“I think probably all of the different experiences that I’ve had. Having a chance to be a defensive line coach, an assistant offensive line coach, a special teams coach, an offensive coordinator. I’m a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I took whatever job I could get, scratched and clawed, and worked my way up the ladder . . . getting into places and taking whatever promotion they would give me to try to have different experiences. I think that’s allowed me to be successful as a head coach. Plus, I think being in a place like Temple—when you’re at Temple, you can’t sit there and spend any time worrying about the things you don’t have. You better find the things you have and be really proud of them. I’ll never forget [like Rhule, a former Temple coach] Bruce Arians told me one time: ‘Just remember this. The best thing, the best asset you have at Temple is the people. And that’s all you need.’ He was right. It wasn’t your facilities. I met some of the best people I knew at Temple, and I learned that facilities don’t win; people and players and coaches win. So then I went to Baylor. And Baylor had great facilities and all those things and we had to rebuild it. I think I just said to myself, Hey, remember what you learned at Temple and try to build it with relationships and people.”
Another learning experience, presumably, was being an undersized walk-on linebacker at Penn State in the nineties.
“The biggest thing I learned from Joe Paterno, and it was such an important thing, was that he held his best players the most accountable. And not everyone does that. I was a lowly walk-on at the time. Found a way to play some. But Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins, those guys got held to the highest, highest level of accountability. Which in turn reminded me, well, I better do that as well. That was Joe’s gift—his best players were the hardest-working. The rest of us fell in line. Since I got into coaching, I’ve tried to always hold my best players to the highest standard
“During my interview, I asked Mr. Tepper about the things that made him successful in business. He used the word ‘process,’ which is all I ever talk about. I think I said at one point to him, I think I said, ‘If we’re a 7-9 football team, then when you watch us play that last game, we should be playing to be the best 7-9 football team in the history of football. We will have a mentality of trying to be the very best at everything regardless of the circumstances. The process will be the same. He said, ‘That’s exactly right.’ I think we see things the same way. And so I think his commitment to process in his business life, his commitment to process here as he builds this, and then him recognizing that that’s what I believe and I think that was the synergy that made me realize that hey, we see things the same way.”
Anything heartbreaking to you about not being hired for your dream job, a New York City boy coaching the New York Giants?
“No. I’m so excited about this. I coached at Western Carolina. My son was born here in North Carolina. I had a chance to recruit Charlotte for four years. I knew from my meeting with the Panthers—my wife felt it too—this was the right place for us.”
Lots of 31-other-owners-will-be-pissed-at-Tepper comments swirling around the league in the last few days, after Carolina owner David Tepper gave Matt Rhule a seven-year contract with an estimated total value of $62 million. (Tepper reportedly also paid off the Baylor buyout of $6 million to hire Rhule.)
I don’t think that anger is well-placed.
Of course a seven-year contract for a first-time NFL coach, at first blush, is outlandish—as is the money. But the Panthers weren’t hiring an NFL coordinator working on a two-year, $4-million contract. They were competing against the Monopoly money of college football, and they were hiring someone to become the front-facing CEO of the football operation, not just the titular head of the team.
Rhule’s contract at Baylor had eight years remaining, and he earned a reported $7.5 million in salary and associated perks on the deal in 2019. So let’s assume—I do not know if there are automatic escalators in the contract—that $7.5-million annual figure for the last eight years of the deal. That would mean Rhule had eight years and $60 million left on his deal. So seven years and $62 million is in that ballpark. The NFL contract is not exactly a parallel financial commitment, but it’s close. So now you know why the Panthers blew up the coaching salary structure for rookie NFL coaches.