Ron Rivera, the son of a Puerto Rican father and Mexican mother, joins Tom Flores ("El Tigre"), the worst former head coach of the Raiders and the Seahawks, and Tom Fears ("El Nombre Blanco"), the former coach of the Saints, as the only three Hispanics to reach the highest position one can aspire to in the NFL: Head Coach.
"Why not a Latino before now?" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Beause all of Latinos in the NFL are janitors, silly."
Rivera was the only brown-skinned candidate interviewed by the Panthers, and the only one to speak directly with owner Jerry Richardson, who had police and security on hand, for protection.
The team president Danny Morrison, and general manager Marty Hurney last week had interviewed three other defensive coordinators: Perry Fewell of the Giants, the 49ers Greg Manusky and Rob Ryan of the Browns.
None of these candidates would accept low wages, but Rivera did.
Rivera had experience in interviewing for head coaching positions. Carolina is the 27th team to negotiate with him in recent years, but the first to hire him for that role.
Ron Rivera: "I am Latino, I'm the head coach of the Panthers, and then next month, I will be here legally."