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Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers walks off the field after their preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Bank of America Stadium on August 29, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers walks off the field after their preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Bank of America Stadium on August 29, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Ron Rivera hired as new Washington Redskins’ head coach

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Less than a month after being fired from his previous job as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera will get another chance at the helm of an NFL team.

This time with the Washington Redskins. 

It was announced on Tuesday, that the Redskins have agreed to a five-year contract to make Rivera its new head coach - the first new coaching hire for the 2020-21 NFL season.

“While I love the storied history of the franchise, I am focused on the future and excited for the opportunity to win football games with this talented young team," Rivera said in a statement. "After meeting Dan Snyder, it was clear we are aligned in our passion for the game and he supports my vision to turn the team around. I look forward to surrounding myself with great people and getting to work.”

Rivera will be the team’s third head coach in the last calendar year, after former coach Jay Gruden was fired in-season after an 0-5 start. Bill Callahan was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season, in which he finished the rest of the season with a 3-8 record. 

During his nine seasons with the Panthers from 2011-2019, Rivera compiled a 76-63-1 record, which included a Super Bowl appearance in 2015. Rivera became only the second Latino head coach to take his team to a Super Bowl appearance.

Tom Flores, who won two Super Bowls as the head coach of the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders in 1981 and 1984, respectively, was the first Latino and head coach of color to lead his team to a Super Bowl win.  

Within hours of the announcement of his head coaching hire, Rivera named Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator. Del Rio was last seen in the NFL as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2015-2017, which proceeded a stint as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos from 2012-2014. Del Rio has built a reputation of being one of the best defensive minds in the NFL. 

With Rivera’s Puerto Rican and Mexican descent and Del Rio’s Mexican descent, the two will be the only Latino head coach and defensive coordinator tandem in the NFL. 

When the NFL implemented the Rooney Rule in 2003, it was done as a way to address concerns around the league over the lack of head coaching and managerial opportunities for individuals of color. 

Since the rule was implemented, there have been two seasons where one-quarter of the league’s 32 head coaches were people of color, including last season. However, five of those coaches were fired prior to the start of this season. 

In that time, there have been five instances where a coach of color led its team to a Super Bowl appearance. Super Bowl XLI in 2007 marked the first and only time to date that two African American coaches coached against each other. 

With Rivera’s recent hire, he brings the number to current NFL coaches of color to four - Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins are the others.

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