Ron Rivera had his Friday wrap-up press conference as his Carolina Panthers face the San Francisco 49ers, and he’s feeling a little disrespected. Someone asked him if there will be a moment to honor the team’s 2015 NFC Championship. The team came up short in the Super Bowl, but had a great run prior, so it would make sense to commemorate it.
He said he hopes so, but then he used that as a complaint about the team’s schedule. The Panthers faced the Denver Broncos in the kickoff game last Thursday. Rivera was unhappy with a couple issues. The first is having to play the team that just beat them in the Super Bowl and deal with five months of questions about that. The second is not getting a chance to open at home to honor the conference championship. Here’s some of what he said (transcript):
“ I felt like everything we could have hoped for for scheduling that would have really been, to me, a salute to the fact that you won the NFC, they decide they're going to have the two Super Bowl opponents play against each other. I struggled with that, I really did from Day One. I just think that there are so many things that could have been done to honor us and our team, our fans and our city. I thought this would have been a great opportunity to show it, and unfortunately, I feel like we were robbed of that, and we had to wait a whole week to do it. You can tell I'm just disappointed that it didn't work out that way.
"We asked for certain things to help us out. We didn't get any of it. So I'm disappointed, let's be honest. I've got a group of men in there that have done nothing but do the things that we've asked for the last five years. It's been a battle to get to where we are and sometimes I feel disrespected."
They did win the NFC title game, so I get wanting to have a chance to honor the team in the opener. At the same time, maybe Rivera would have preferred opening in the late game of the Monday Night Football double-header, and then having to travel on short rest to face the team that played in the Thursday kickoff game. And maybe he would have preferred this be the second straight season this has happened. That would not have been about disrespect so much as just general scheduling lunacy.
But we wouldn’t know anything about that.