The 2010 season just wrapped up and the Panthers managed to win just 2 games that year. John Fox’s tenure with the Panthers had come to an end. From the start of the season he was a lame duck, he and everyone knew he was done after the season. A lockout also was looming between owners and the players that offseason.
QB’s Matt Moore and rookie Jimmy Clausen (puke) took turns starting that year. The Offense was ranked dead last 32nd and the defense was ranked 15th.
Andrew Luck, Stanford, was arguably the hottest college QB in the nation. Every “list” (we all love lists) named him the top draft pick for the 2011 draft, should he declare. There was also little debate as to who Marty/Jerry were drafting. It was well known Luck was there guy.
Jim Harbaugh from Stanford was the hottest coaching prospect in the offseason. Many speculated he and Luck could be a package deal to the Panthers who held the #1 pick. He was a fan favorite amount Panther fans especially since he played for the Panthers in 2001.
Jan. 6 2011 - Luck announces he will return to Stanford
Jan. 7 2011 - Harbourgh agrees to become the HC of the 49ers (2010 record 6-10)
Jan. 11 2011 - Ron Rivera agrees to become the HC of the Panthers (2010 record 2-14)
*I thought this timeline was really interesting. Without going into a bunch of detail, I speculate that Richardson never wanted Harbaugh. He was somewhat known as a loose cannon, and certainly no where near the mold of “yes-men” that Jerry famously surrounded himself with. I bet he and Luck seriously considered going as a package deal to Carolina, but Jerry (was was leading the charge with the lockout) was the reason they both passed.
Ron Rivera, 8 seasons, 71-56-1 (.559), 3x NFCS championships, 1x NFC championship, 2015 coach of the year
Jim Harbaugh, 4 seasons, 64-44 (.695), 3x NFCW championships, 1x NFC championship, 2011 coach of the year
*just from a stats perspective, JH did more in less the time. Both coaches have the exact same accomplishments, which is interesting.
*I am going to preface this with, I know a lot of people here get extremely thinned skin when comparing any other QB to Cam. We all agree, Cam was the best thing that ever happened to the Panthers.
Cam Newton, 8 seasons, 68-53-1, 3x pro bowls, 1x All-Pro, 1 MVP, 3x NFCS Championships, 1x NFC Championship
Andrew Luck, 6 seasons, 53-33, 4x pro bowls, NFL Comeback Player of the Year 2018
Its always interesting to me to consider hypothetical situations like this. And certainly the thought of Harbaugh/Luck lead Panthers is a fascinating concept.
How do you guys think it would have played out if we got those guys and not Cam/RR? Where would we be today? The same success? Worse? Superb owl?