Panthers head coach Ron Rivera expressed frustration Friday at the NFL’s decision to have his team open at Denver in a Super Bowl rematch.
The Panthers lost 21–20 to the Broncos in Week 1 on opening night. Rivera called it a “pain in the ass” that his team had to dwell on the Super Bowl loss all off-season, then head to Denver to begin the new slate of games.
“Forget the fact that you're the defending NFC champs and you deserve to open up at home in front of your home crowd on opening week,” Rivera told reporters Friday. “We're going to make you guys relive it for five more months. That's how I felt. "So for the next five months I've got to put up with it, deal with it, answer the questions and relive it constantly over and over and over. Honestly, it became a pain in the ass.”
Rivera felt the Panthers deserved to play at home after winning the conference and going 15–1.
“I struggled with that," Rivera said. “I really did from Day 1. There are so many things they could have done to honor us and honor our team, our fans and our city that I thought this would have been a great opportunity to show it. I feel like we were robbed of that. We had to wait a whole week to do it. You can tell, I'm disappointed it didn't work out that way.”
The Panthers open at home against the 49ers on Sunday.