The Carolina Panthers' season will end Sunday. Ron Rivera says he hasn't been led to believe his coaching tenure will too.
It was only seven weeks ago that Rivera was being discussed as a possible coach of the year. But seven consecutive losses has many wondering if he is on the hot seat.
In advance of Sunday's regular-season finale against the New Orleans Saints, Rivera intimated he has the support of Carolina's first-year owner David Tepper and is already preparing for 2019.
"I feel pretty good. My intention, everything I've been doing is working towards the future and we'll go from there," Rivera said Friday, via the team's website. "My conversations with the owner have been all positive. That's why I am just going forward."
Carolina was then blasted by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football, which also might have been the origin of Cam Newton's lingering shoulder injury. The Panthers proceeded to lose their next five games by one possession, their slim playoff hopes officially dying last weekend in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Carolina (6-9) will miss the playoffs for only the second time since 2013. But it's also the second instance in three years.
"I truly am disappointed. The hard part about it too, losing is truly disappointing, but sometimes you feel like you let some people down," said Rivera, who assumed defensive play-calling duties earlier this month and parted ways with two assistants. "That's probably one of the things I've struggled with.
"I think we're better than our record says, but at the end of the day you are what your record says you are. That's been the hard pill for me to swallow."