Jeff Fisher is the head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Many in South Florida will take that headline and run with it in the direction of Steven Ross and Jeff Ireland blowing another coaching interview with a big name coach, or Jeff Fisher was perfect for the Dolphins or, this or that or anything that ends with Ross messed up and Jeff Fisher should be our coach.
Let me be one of the first to say, that sentence makes me breath a sigh of relief. I want to get that tattoo somewhere on my person. It makes me drop down to my knees in happiness. It makes me feel like we still have a shot at a great coach, and not just one that has proven to only be close to marginal.
So He made it to the Super Bowl and came within a few yards of winning it. He didn’t win it. So he played in two conference championship games. So what he was the coach for the Titans and the Music City Miracle. It’s great that he coach for one team for 17 years and was the face of a franchise. Thats really nice.
These accomplishments were great. You can’t take them away from Fisher. But, in this new era of management, micro management and “what have you done for me lately” owner management, coaches are judged on a year to year basis. So when you take a look at Fishers OTHER numbers, it would be easy to fathom he may not have lastest long in Tennessee over the first 5 seasons. Over his first 5 seasons Fisher had a home .421 winning percentage, even with a top ten defense and rushing attack. Sounds familiar, eh Dolphins fans?
Year six was awesome. The Super Bowl. The Music City Miracle. A really magical run. Then McNair got brittle. Eddie George went kaput and the team just couldn’t seem to win games that they should. One might say that player personnel is a GM’s job but the final word in Tennessee came from Fisher.
Over a 17 year tenure with the Tennessee Titans, Fisher only had 6 seasons over a .500 % winning percentage. And thusly, only six playoff appearances. That is 11 seasons at 8-8 or worse, 6 of which were losing seasons. Of his 6 winning seasons. Only 3 garnered division titles, and not one of those division winning teams won a playoff game. Not one.
It might be easy to say, oh well the defense must have stunk or the offense must have stunk or injuries affect the team or this or that. Not so. Every year of Jeff Fisher’s tenure either the Passing Offense or rushing offense was top ten. Eight seasons, McNair was the top passer and eight season George was the teams top rusher. Those seasons by the two future hall of famers ran concurrently with one another. Result 4 losing seasons, 4 winning seasons. And once those two were gone from their prime, the wheels came off. Over the three year span that saw McNair and George regress the team was 17-31.
Some might say Im nitpicking or that my personal affection for Bill Cowher precedes me. But I’m just saying, if I’m gonna throw $7 million a year at a head coach, and make him the second highest paid coach in NFL history behind Bill Belichick at $7.5 million, his name better be Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Cowher, Brian Billick or be etched one or two times on a Lombardi Trophy, not be a coach that was always good but never good enough.