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Panthers GM Gettleman Got The NFC Champs Built Without Firing Anyone

The NFL can be a really cold business-those corny “Football is Family” commercials notwithstanding-so the saga of Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is a true rarity.

Gettleman got his dream job as the Panthers GM in 2013 and has the team on the brink of a Super Bowl trophy-and he did it without firing a single person according to Darin Gantt of

Not only did Gettleman not blow up the front office or the coaching staff or the scouting department. He kept every member of former GM Marty Hurney’s staff. Doing so was not dictated by ownership and bringing in his own people had to be tempting as Gettleman had toiled in the NFL for 27 years before finally getting hired for a top job and undoubtedly had a rolodex full of friends and former co-workers to bring with him. But Gettleman says that he decided decades earlier that that would not be his style.

The decision to retain good people dates back to 1986, when he was a lowly scouting intern for the Buffalo Bills and saw new head coach Marv Levy clean house midseason. While Levy’s decisions were sound and eventually led to four Super Bowl appearances, Gettleman saw the toll it took on employees and their families. “I said to myself, if I ever get one of these jobs, I’m determined to give everybody an opportunity,” Gettleman said. “I just believe everybody deserves a shot. Firing people ain’t easy, and when you fire a coach or a scout, you fire all their wives and kids too.”

Gettleman did interview every Panthers employee upon getting the job to discuss some “philosophical changes” but those changes did not cost a single job. Many expected head coach Ron Rivera’s head to be on the chopping block with a new GM coming in but Gettleman chose to retain Riverboat Ron and his staff. The Panthers are now a model of stability in the NFL and the 64-year-old Gettleman has proven to be one of the most principled men in a very cutthroat environment.

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