Ron Rivera would be a great coaching addition with Kansas City Chiefs

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 27: Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers looks on during pregame warm ups prior to the start of their game against the San Francisco 49ersat Levi's Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 27: Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers looks on during pregame warm ups prior to the start of their game against the San Francisco 49ersat Levi's Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

It’s a total pipe dream, to be sure, but Ron Rivera would make an excellent veteran addition to the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff.

Let’s get this out of the way: Ron Rivera joining the Kansas City Chiefs in any way is a total pipe dream. Rumors are not swirling. The notion has little-to-no bearing in reality. It’s complete conjecture on my part, a move that would require a ridiculous number of planets to properly align.

Still, it’s worth discussing.

In case you did not know, the Carolina Panthers sent their longtime head coach, a two-time Coach of the Year winner, packing with four games left in the regular season. It’s a team’s desperate attempt to get ahead of the coach-less pack as the year draws to a close, a franchise willing to trade a (good) known commodity for the sake of unearthing a hidden gem. It’s vocational roulette.

In case you also did not know, Ron Rivera is part of the giant sequoia known as Andy Reid‘s coaching tree, a pretend plant now so large you could probably drive your fake car through the trunk. Andy Reid was an assistant head coach with the Green Bay Packers when he likely first heard of Rivera with the rival Chicago Bears as a quality control coach on defense. A couple years later, Reid invited Rivera to join his own staff with the Philadelphia Eagles as his first ever linebackers coach.

Rivera held that post for five seasons before going on to bigger and better things.

At this point, while the Panthers search for his replacement, Rivera instantly becomes the hottest name on the head coaching market. He’s a known commodity in a sea of uncertainty. His career record is an impressive 76-63-1 in nine seasons in Charlotte with a postseason record of 3-4.

Detractors will point to the Panthers and say they got rid of Rivera for a reason, but it would be very difficult for anyone to win with the injuries that the team has suffered this year. An offense built for and around Cam Newton doesn’t actually have Cam Newton. Greg Olson has missed time. Kawann Short is in injured reserve. Ross Cockrell, Donte Jackson, Greg Little, Dennis Daley, Eric Reid and more have all been sidelined to one degree or another.

All that to say, Rivera will have no problem finding himself a new job as soon as next season (really, as soon as a few weeks from now). He will likely have multiple head coaching offers from teams anxious to sign the most accomplished head coaching candidate available. The question is this: does he want to sign up again for the job so quickly.

What if—and this is where this is all conjecture—Rivera wanted to take some time to consider his options?

If Rivera wanted to wait a year and ease back into another long-term, head coaching role, he would be the top-tier candidate no matter which year he decides to put on the headset again. If Jon Gruden can find meaningful work a decade after calling it quits, Ron Rivera definitely has a year or five to make his own future considerations.

So back to the whole time to consider thing. If Rivera wants some space to lick his wounds, to distance himself from the emotions, to reorient himself and his family, to enjoy the game that he loves while not shouldering the load of leading an entire team, then Andy Reid might have just the thing for him.

Consider this: Steve Spagnuolo was a defensive assistant alongside Rivera back in the “good ole days” in Philly. Would it not be a fun reunion of sorts for Rivera to join Spags once again as a defensive consultant and assistant head coach?

For Rivera, he would be able to bring his expertise and experience to bear on a developing young roster capable of winning a Super Bowl in any given season. He would be working with long-time friends and enjoying the fruits of his labor in a new, safe space without the immediate demands of being a head coach again. In fact, his time with the Chiefs could even enhance his resume and allow him to be very picky as he considers his next leap.

For the Chiefs, the team fields a young defense that is still coming together filled with young players who are developing with each new week. It’s the ideal scenario for such a seasoned coach with experience playing for the Lombardi (2015) to instill into a new unit what he’s learned. The Chiefs linebackers in particular have been the unit that’s struggled the most on that side of the ball. Together he could work with Matt House for a season (or more) to aid their chemistry and development.

In addition, the Chiefs are a team that continues to lose a coach every season or two and there’s only so much attrition that a staff can take before the toll is taken on the team. It’s nice that Andy Reid’s coaching tree is so successful, but it also means players are constantly saying goodbye to good coaches. Bringing in such a veteran would likely help the coaching staff as well who would have another established winner from whom they could glean wisdom and advice.

Of course, all of this is wishful thinking. A new team is going to be willing to throw millions of dollars at Rivera to be their new head coach, and it’s possible that a rare opportunity might come along sooner than later (say, the chance to coach the NFL’s most popular team down in Dallas). However, if River wants to take his time and survey the field, it’s great to think that Reid could work out a way to give him a home.

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