Ron Rivera talked to Jimmie Johnson about building a championship culture
It’s been an eventful past several months for Ron Rivera, who was fired from his longtime post as head coach of the Carolina Panthers and later shacked up with the Washington Redskins. Despite leaving Charlotte, North Carolina, Rivera, 58, still has some connections down by the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and enlisted professional race car driver Jimmie Johnson to help him out.
Rivera and Johnson have been talking for years and, per the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins, the NFL head coach has sought guidance from the driver on building a championship culture.
“The culture has to be so strong that it doesn’t matter who the person is,” Rivera says. “The culture is so strong that the players are absorbed into it and become part of it and do it willingly, and if someone is not willing, then the guys around them are so strong that they will pull them into the culture. You’re able to assimilate guys into what we’re doing.”
Rivera is currently looking to retool a Redskins franchise that hasn’t seen the postseason in five years. They have a rising sophomore quarterback in Ohio State product Dwayne Haskins, a first-round pick from the 2019 draft, and not much else. Washington recently brought back veteran running back Adrian Peterson and cut All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman.
Meanwhile, his former franchise, the Panthers, are undergoing a rebuild of their own after hiring Baylor University coach Matt Rhule. After years of a coach-quarterback partnership flourishing with Rivera and former MVP Cam Newton, respectively, there are major changes underway with the Panthers.