Fox on the hot seat? History says no.

Despite what you'll read in our FOX Sports fantasy guide and other various sources, we at don't feel that Panthers head coach John Fox is on the hot seat this season. Why? After all, many experts have Fox on their lists as a coach that could be fired after the season. The answer is a bit complex, and requires that you know a bit of Panther history.

Dom Capers was the first head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Capers enjoyed some initial success, but was given too much responsibility after GM Bill Polian left and wasn't replaced. Capers saw the team unravel beneath him. As general manager and head coach, Capers made some tremendously poor decisions that led to his firing.

1998 was the year it went sour. Kerry Collins suffered a near nervous breakdown, which ultimately led to the team releasing its franchise QB early in the season. During the offseason, Capers gave up two first-round draft picks to sign Redskins defensive end Sean Gilbert -- a move which started the dark period of the Carolina Panthers' short existence. In the draft, Capers selected defensive end Jason Peter in the first round. Peter never realized his potential due to injury and drug dependencies. 1998 was also the year where Kevin Greene, the standout linebacker, snapped and attacked assistant coach Kevin Steele on the sidelines. Greene received a game suspension, but the tone it set and the way Capers handled it might have been THE moment when Richardson realized a change had to be made.

The panthers finished 4-12 in 1998 and the team had given up on Capers and his staff. 4-12 was the worst finish of the team's short life, and there was no sign of Capers being able to right the ship. Capers had lost the team and made tremendous blunders as a GM, and owner Jerry Richardson had to do something to set progress in motion. Richardson would then turn to former San Francisco 49ers coach George Seifert, who in his eight years with the 49ers had never won any less than 10 games. Seifert was available at the time because he sat out a season after the 49ers chose to go with the young Steve Mariucci at head coach.

in 1999, Seifert came in and brought a new style of offense to the team. It was during his tenure that the team had some of its most productive offensive performances, with Muhsin Muhammad, Patrick Jeffers and Steve Beuerlein having outstanding performances. Seifert, however, was not an astute general manager and made several poor decisions. The decision to bring in a broken-down Chuck Smith under a high-dollar contract put the Panthers behind the 8-ball financially. Seifert also presided over some of the worst drafts in Carolina Panthers history. Seifert went 8-8 in his first season with the Panthers and 7-9 in his second, however, it would be perhaps the worst decision in Carolina Panthers football history that would send him to the unemployment line in 2001 and ultimately change his legacy from that as a sure-fire hall of famer to that of an inept and aloof head coach. Despite Steve Beuerlein being the team's leader in the locker room and on the field, and his coming off a year in which he threw for 3,730 yards, 19 TDs and 18 interceptions, Seifert decided to cut Beuerlein outright and put all his faith in his unproven understudy Jeff Lewis in 2001. Lewis didn't make it out of preseason due to his lack of knowledge of the playbook and his horrible decision making ability on the field. Seifert then turned to fourth-round pick Chris Weinke, who led the team to a 1-15 season -- the worst in the franchise's history.

Owner Jerry Richardson again had to make a move. The Panthers had quit on Seifert; he'd made horrible moves as a GM and coach and the season ticket holders were calling for his head.

It was then that Richardson decided that he needed to split up the roles of general manager and head coach once again.

Richardson brought in Marty Hurney, an inexperienced but intelligent candidate who understood the league's salary cap and worked with Bobby Beathard in Washington.

Hurney conducted the search for the next coach. Tony Dungy and Steve Spurrier were the favorites, but the Panthers settled on the lesser known John Fox. Fox had served as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants for a number of years and was regarded as a tough-nosed, no-nonsense player's coach -- which was a much needed 180-degree change from Seifert.

This next bit is of great importance.

Fox was recommended by Giants co-owner Wellington Mara -- one of the most influential icons in the history of the National Football League. People must keep in mind the mindset and professional outlook of Jerry Richardson. This is a guy who wants to model his team after the Pittsburgh Steers; a team that doesn't change head coaches every 3 years, and a team that is known for its toughness.

In John Fox, Richardson knows what he has: a great manager and motivator and a relatively low-maintenance tactician that never gives too much away. Fox has led the Panthers to two NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl appearance. The team was only one win away from making the playoffs last season, despite losing Jake Delhomme early and having a carosell at QB after that. Fox has shown that he can pull his team up when facing adversity -- unlike his predecessors. He's made necessary moves, like replacing underperforming coaches, which are necessary to win in the NFL. He has also, with the help of GM Marty Hurney, reloaded the Panthers with an influx of young talent without having to rebuild the team.

Fox surely isn't invincible. He couldn't withstand a relatively healthy Panthers team going 4-12. The one wild card in the equation is Bill Cower. If the Panthers were to finish 6-10 or worse while having their key players injury-free and Cower was interested in the job, the team might make a move. However, if the Panthers make the playoffs, Cower's interest is moot; Richardson won't change what is working.

The fact that many people are missing is that Fox hasn't done anything to give Richardson a reason to fire him, unlike Capers and Seifert before him.

Until Fox does, expect him to stay in Carolina under his own terms. History is on his side.

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