After 16 seasons, Jeff Fisher is out as Tennessee Titans coach, the eighth NFL coaching change over the course of this season. That’s too bad for Fisher, since in the other seven cases, the positions have already been filled. “Talk about bad timing,” says Clark Judge at CBS Sports. Maybe this is evidence that Fisher was canned, since “it sure looks suspicious when a head coach who is in demand leaves when there are no jobs available.”
Also, it’s a surprising move considering it appeared that the team had opted to stand by Fisher when it parted ways with Vince Young earlier this off-season. Since there’s no early word on who initiated the move – Fisher or the Titans – some are speculating about what led to Fisher’s firing. Here, the best theories:
The writing was on the wall: “Prevailing NFL wisdom holds that if you have a coach entering the final year of his contract, you really don’t have a coach at all,” says David Climer in The Tennessean. You become a “coaching lame duck,” and “the players tune you out because they know you’re a short-timer.” The bigger problem with this is that others will see how “dysfunctional the organization has become.” Anything is possible now: “Maybe [owner] Bud [Adams] will name Vince Young player-coach.”
Fisher got fed up: “The recent history between Fisher and [Bud] has been strained, says Doug Farrar at Yahoo! Sports. There was news of a “supposed reconciliation,” but reports now “indicate that Fisher may be specifically unhappy over losing two valued assistants” this off-season. He couldn’t make it work anymore.
Nepotism did him in: After offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger fell ill, Fisher brought in his son, Brandon, for “a crash course in play-calling terminology,” says ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky. The proud father “apparently wanted more,” according to a source who said that Fisher wanted to add Brandon to his 2011 staff. That was apparently “a breaking point.” If that’s the case, what’s surprising then isn’t that Fisher was fired, but that “Fisher didn’t know it would be.”