Just when we thought the annual NFL coaching carousel was finished, the Tennessee Titans threw us all for a loop when the organization announced the sudden departure of long time head coach Jeff Fisher. I’ve always been someone who has been in Jeff Fisher’s corner. He comes across as a hard nosed guy, having served under the likes of Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan – two hard nosed guys themselves. He also comes across as a nice guy, which, judging by the full-page ad he placed in the Nashville Tennesean, he apparently is. But, enough of that emotional stuff. Save that for Valentine’s Day next Monday. Did the guy deserve to get the heave ho?
We can all agree that the timing of this move was dreadful… even Al Davis made a move before the Titans did. What Jeff Fisher did in between the end of the regular season in early January and his dismissal in late January to cause his ouster is beyond me. Nonetheless, we’ll be seeing him on a T.V. network in all likelihood this fall, provided there is a season.
Sports Geek felt that Fisher went wrong by giving owner Bud Adams too much say so. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Adams, feel free to take a peek at this clip… makes me laugh every time!) Adams is the guy who essentially gave the keys to the car to Vince Young. Unfortunately, it was Jeff Fisher’s car before Young got there. Fisher and Steve McNair nearly won a Super Bowl in that car, and that caused friction right off the bat between the two. Fisher lost his authority and therefore was possibly undermined in the locker room.
Optimist Prime places a lot of the blame on the organization’s handling of the Vince Young saga. Adams continuously said that Young was his guy, and his persistence lead to a lot of uncertainty regarding Fisher’s future. The firing also brings an uncertain future as it has been a long time since a guy not named Jeff Fisher has been roaming the sidelines in Nashville. Besides, as Prime points out, the Titans did post double digit wins in 2007 and 2008.
Here’s where I decided to go with this verdict. Optimist Prime states in his argument that, “… the whole Young/Fisher saga makes me wonder what kind of organizational leadership the Titans have these days.” Hmm… isn’t Jeff Fisher part of that organizational leadership? He is the head coach after all. It is ultimately his responsibility to get those 53 guys ready to play for 16 games every season.
Unfortunately, something had to give. Adams has decided to move on from both Young AND Fisher, and it’s the right move. Besides, for all the hoopla surrounding Fisher, look at his overall record as a head coach. It’s not like we’re talking about Vince Lombardi. He’s 146-120, made it to ONE Super Bowl (and lost), made it to the post-season six times in 17 seasons, and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2003! Someone besides fantasy football owners need to take advantage of having Chris Johnson on a team.
Maybe Tennessee takes a step back this year with new coach Mike Munchak. But perhaps he will also provide some stability. This year, at least, you really could see Fisher lost that team, and it was obvious a change was necessary.