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Panthers owner David Tepper gets underwhelming grade, mixed reviews in NFLPA survey

The NFLPA’s annual player team report card has revealed an uninspiring grade for Carolina Panthers ownership.

While the Panthers graded out in the middle of the pack — 17th out of 32 teams — within the overall player survey, Carolina owner David Tepper received a “D” grade from his roster.

The ownership grade, according to the NFLPA, was impacted in a major way because of “Tepper’s decision to change their home stadium from grass to turf while 100% of the players said they prefer to play on grass.”

The turf vs. grass debate has been broached by Panthers players over the past two years, most notably by veteran linebacker Shaq Thompson, who sustained a season-ending leg injury at Bank of America Stadium in Week 2 of last season.

“Everybody should want grass,” Thompson said in Jan. 2023. “They don’t understand how our bodies feel on that turf. (We) should go to grass.”

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, left, speaks with cornerback Jaycee Horn prior to the team’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Jan. 7, 2024.
Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, left, speaks with cornerback Jaycee Horn prior to the team’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Jan. 7, 2024.

According to the survey, Tepper received a 6.6 out of 10 from his players “6.6/10 when considering his willingness to invest in the facilities.”

While Tepper’s grade, largely impacted by field conditions, was rough, the Panthers did get positive marks elsewhere. The team received a B or higher in seven different categories, ranging from treatment of families (B) to training staff (A-) to strength coaches (A).

The report card noted that nutrition was a big upgrade this past year. In 2023, the survey gave the Panthers a “D” grade. This year, the Panthers earned a “B+” for the category.

“They hired a new head chef and made major renovations,” the NFLPA said in its summary. “(One hundred percent) of returning player respondents said that the cafeteria/food program improved from last year.”

Another noteworthy category for the Panthers was head coach. The category received an “A-” despite former head coach Frank Reich’s firing after just 11 games in November with a 1-10 record.

The survey revealed that 97% of players felt Reich “was efficient with their time.”

Said the NFLPA: “Players feel that Frank Reich was very willing to listen to the locker room.”

Reich was replaced for the final six games of last season by special teams coordinator Chris Tabor. After a 1-5 home stretch, Tabor wasn’t retained under new head coach Dave Canales.

Below are the Panthers grades for the 2024:

Treatment of families: B (7th overall)

Food/cafeteria: B (13th)

Nutritionist/dietitian: B+ (6th)

Locker room: C+ (18th)

Training room: C+ (18th)

Training staff: A- (3rd)

Weight room: B (15th)

Strength coaches: A (4th)

Team travel: B- (11th)

Head coach: A- (16th)

Ownership: D (28th)