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Ron Rivera        

Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers; Former NFL Player

Ron Rivera is head coach of the Carolina Panthers and former NFL player.

Rivera had an All-America career at the University of California. He finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in sacks (22) and tackles (336), while also setting a school record for single-season tackles for loss (26.5 in 1983). Rivera was drafted by Chicago in the second round of the 1984 draft and played 149 games with the Bears. During the 1985 season, he played in Super Bowl XX, where the Bears routed the New England Patriots, 46-10. Rivera was the first Mexican/Puerto Rican to play on a Super Bowl championship team. He became the starter in 1988, serving for three seasons.

In 1993, Rivera went to work for WGN-TV and SportsChannel Chicago as a TV analyst covering the Bears and college football. In 1996, he became a defense quality control coach for the Bears. In 1999, Rivera was named linebackers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. During his tenure, the Eagles advanced to the NFC championship for three consecutive seasons.

In 2004, Rivera returned to the Bears as defensive coordinator. In 2005, the Bears defense was rated second-best in the NFL. The Bears qualified for the NFC playoffs, losing in the second round to the Carolina Panthers, 29-21. In 2007 Rivera was hired by the San Diego Chargers.

In 2011, after a few years as defensive coordinator for the Chargers, Rivera was named the fourth head coach of the Carolina Panthers. He is the fifth Latino to be an NFL head coach. The Panthers produced the best season in franchise history in 2015, and one of the best regular seasons in NFL history. They ultimately finished 15–1, a franchise record for wins in a season, to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for the first time. They defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Playoffs by a score of 31–24, and routed the Arizona Cardinals with a 49–15 victory in the NFC Championship Game, leading the Panthers to their second Super Bowl appearance.

Rivera is the fifth man of color to lead a team to the Super Bowl. He was also recognized as the 2015 AP NFL Coach of the Year; his second such honor of his career. On February 7, 2016, Rivera coached the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers fell to the Denver Broncos by a score of 24–10.


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