While the legalization of North Carolina sports betting brings new revenue opportunities, the Carolina Panthers hope their latest coaching hire also pays dividends. After firing Frank Reich last November, the Panthers named Dave Canales as their new head coach for the 2023 season. If history is any indicator, Canales faces an uphill battle in his first year according to the team’s past results with debut head coaches.

Panthers fans can use North Carolina betting apps from operators like DraftKings North Carolina to wager on potential outcomes for Canales using North Carolina betting promos. But expectations should remain measured based on previous initial seasons from the likes of Dom Capers, George Seifert, John Fox, Ron Rivera, and Matt Rhule.

In the Panthers’ first year as an expansion franchise in 1995, Capers led the team to a 7-9 record. While a losing record, it showed promise by finishing the season 7-4 after an 0-5 start. Seifert had the best first-year record so far, going 8-8 in 1999. The peak was a big 33-31 upset over the Packers, as Carolina won 3 of its last 4 games.

Despite going .500 under Seifert, the Panthers still missed the playoffs – something that’s happened with every debut head coach. John Fox went 7-9 in 2002, improving from the prior season’s 1-15 result under George Seifert. Ron Rivera started 6-10 in 2011 during his first year at the helm.

More recently, Matt Rhule could only muster a 5-11 campaign in 2020. And Frank Reich was fired after opening 1-10 last season. So while Canales takes over a team with fresh promise, previous first-year coaches have set expectations low in Carolina.

By bringing legal sports betting to North Carolina, the state hopes fans will engage deeply with teams like the Panthers. But if Canales mirrors his predecessors’ early struggles, that fan engagement could face challenges in 2023.

✅ Fact Checked on January 28, 2024 by Ken Weaver