Panthers coach Ron Rivera entered the season on the hot seat, with extra heat coming from the offseason hiring of a new General Manager. While Rivera’s accomplishments this year ensure that he’ll be back for 2014, a very real question has arisen regarding his security beyond the coming year.

Three years ago today, Rivera became the head coach of the Panthers, signing a four-year deal. Next year will be the final year of the contract. Absent an extension, he’ll be a lame duck.

He wouldn’t be the first lame duck in Carolina. Four years ago, John Fox worked the final year of his contract, in large part because owner Jerry Richardson wanted to move on but didn’t want to pay Fox to not coach.