Rivera's assistants all get extensions too

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The best indication that Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and general manager Dave Gettleman have faith in the direction of the coaching staff and organization came in the form of new contracts.

Not just for head coach Ron Rivera.

The entire staff.

Richardson recently extended the deals of all the coordinators and assistant coaches at the same time he gave Rivera a three-year extension that will run through 2017.

Assistant coaches typically have two years deals, so Rivera's staff is under contract at last through 2015.

"It's about confidence and showing a commitment,'' Rivera told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "Last year, when Dave [was hired] and Mr. Richardson gave the OK to extend our assistant coaches, that was a huge show of confidence.

"Doing the same thing again for myself and the coaches again shows the confidence.''

Rivera was headed into the final year of his initial four-year, $11.2 million deal after a 12-5 season that included the NFC South title and the team's first trip to the playoffs since 2008 when Gettleman approached him about an extension.

Rivera said he didn't ask for the extension, but admitted it "showed the confidence in us as a coaching staff.''

Since the extension, Rivera was named the Associated Press Coach of the Year, giving him a sweep of about every postseason award he could have won.

Rivera said such things "validates who we are, the things that we've done as a football team and a coaching staff.''

Having been presented the award on Saturday night in New York City, which along with New Jersey hosted the Super Bowl between Seattle and Denver, reminded Rivera there's still work to be done.

"This really isn't one of the goals I set for myself personally,'' he said of the awards. "It's all about winning and winning the Super Bowl. But this is nice because it validates who we are, the things that we do, that we're doing things the right way.''