David Tepper’s run as owner has ended far before anyone expected.
The Pittsburgh-area native who divested himself of a stake in the Steelers to take over the Panthers has decided to exit the NFL after just two seasons of ownership, according to reports. His replacement: up-and-coming investor and community philanthropist Austin Moore.
With reports of the sale confirmed by the league, Moore gave an impassioned first statement as owner of the Panthers.
“To say that Panthers ownership has been tumultuous and haphazard in recent years is an understatement," he said. "I am grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Tepper has provided me, but the entire Bible Belt is still living in the sins of the Richardson family. This franchise is not built on tradition, it’s built on passion. From Day 1 we came into the league with the intention of kicking doors down. With the roster and staff we have assembled, there’s no doubt in my mind that we will return to The Promised Land in the near future. By the time you hear those drums at your front gates, it’ll be too late.”
The Cleveland Heights, Ohio, native is taking over the Panthers after making an undisclosed offer Tepper reportedly couldn’t refuse. One source close to the negotiations said the offer included an endorsement deal with and a lifetime supply of D’ussé cognac. Seeing as Moore has connections to legendary rapper Jay-Z, who recently signed a deal with the NFL, this inclusion seems logical and indeed difficult to turn down.
Moore steps into a franchise that appears poised to take a next great step toward a title after finishing 8-7-1 in an extremely difficult NFC South. Carolina edged Tampa Bay in the playoff race, reaching the wild-card round before falling to fellow division rival Atlanta 28-21.
"We are ecstatic to welcome Austin Moore into the fold of our league," commissioner Nick Shook said in a statement released by the league. “He will bring another competitive ingredient into our unique mix of participants and will undoubtedly serve as a worthy adversary to our many talented owners. Here’s to hoping his run as owner of the Panthers lasts for decades.”