Bill Belichick vs. Ron Rivera
Bill Belichick has faced the Panthers four times as head coach of the Patriots, going 3-1 in that span. The Patriots beat the Panthers 38-6 in 2001, the final game of the season before the Patriots went on to win their first of thre Super Bowls. The next time the Patriots faced the Panthers was in Super Bowl XXXVIII, in which Adam Vinatieri hit a last minute field goal for the second time in three years for the Patriots’ second Super Bowl title. Belichick’s only loss to the Panthers came in 2005 in Carolina, where the Panthers got revenge for their Super Bowl loss by defeating the Patriots 27-17, a game that included three Patriots turnovers, two coming from Tom Brady. The Patriots won the last meeting between these two teams, 20-10 in Week 14 of the 2009 season.
Ron Rivera has never faced the Patriots as coach of the Panthers. He took over the team in 2011 and brought the Panthers to 6-10 from a 2-14 record the previous year. After a 7-9 2012 season, Rivera has already equaled the team’s win total from 2011 through nine games this year. Rivera is a defensive minded head coach, serving as defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears from 2004-06 and the San Diego Chargers from 2008-10. He played linebacker for the Chicago Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl winning team that demolished opposing offenses using Buddy Ryan’s “46 defense.” Rivera has led the Panthers defense to the top of the league, as they are currently in the top-5 in passing yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, total yards allowed, and points allowed.