The Panthers improved from 2-14 (2010) to 6-10 (2011) in Rivera's first season. Expectations skyrocketed as No. 1 overall draft pick Cam Newton broke NFL records as a rookie. The Panthers didn't live up to those expectations in 2012 with a 3-9 start, but four consecutive wins to end the season probably saved Rivera's job.
Rivera's fate is tied to Newton's success. It's that simple.