It’s been 23 years since a Super Bowl loser returned to the big game. As coach of the Panthers, Ron Rivera has defied presumption for some time. After surviving the hot seat in 2013, he completed a dramatic career resurgence by leading the Panthers to a 14-0 start in 2015, which led to a three-year, $19.5 million contract extension this summer. Carolina isn’t afforded the luxury of underestimation in 2016. Though he returns a similar cast, including the reigning MVP quarterback, Rivera must manage emotions after one of the Super Bowl’s most anticlimactic finishes.
— Emily Kaplan