The big news yesterday was the , their coach and overall football overlord for the past 17 years. Fisher was the longest tenured coach in the NFL up until his firing. Consider for a moment that Fisher coached the team back when they were playing in Houston and their name was the 'Oilers.' parting ways with Jeff Fisher
Regardless of how we Colts fans feel about our current coach, general perception was that Fisher was the best coach in the AFC South after Tony Dungy retired in 2009.
While, at first glance, his 6 playoff appearances in 17 years don't look all that impressive, when you factor in that Fisher never had a premier quarterback on par with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger, those 6 playoff seasons start looking more and more impressive.
Consider that his best QB was the late Steve McNair. While all accounts show that McNair was a tough guy who cared for his family, friends, and teammates, he was never a true elite QB. His work ethic was lazy, and he never sustained a period of dominance over the NFL at a time when quarterbacks own this league. But, when McNair was on top of his game, the Titans made strong playoff runs in 1999, 2002, and 2003. Much of that should be attributed to Fisher's coaching.
After that, Fisher had to work with perennial draft bust known as Vince Young at quarterback and the steady but ancient veteran Kerry Collins. He went 45-35 with those two at QB, including two playoff appearances and an AFC South championship. His only losing season with them was this past year, when Vince Young threw a hissy fit and quit on the team (again) and Kerry Collins got hurt because he's old as dirt. Rusty Smith had to play three games for the Titans this year because of the issues at quarterback.
Rusty friggin Smith.
Fisher's defenses, regardless of personnel, often were tops in the league in fewest points allowed, fewest rushing yards, and turnovers. He was able to coach these defenses to their maximum potential despite having lazy malcontents like Albert Haynesworth and over-hyped clowns like Keith Bulluck and Cortland Finnegan. He helped mentor some of the best defensive coaches in football, from Jim Washburn to Jim Schwartz, all while utilizing a Tampa-2 style approach to defense.
Fisher was a damn good coach, and anyone who says otherwise is, quite simply, wrong.
So, why was he fired? Simple: Titans owner Bud Adams is an idiot.
But am I going to complain about it? Hell no! With Fisher gone, the AFC South just got THAT much easier for the Colts to win AGAIN in 2011.
I'm sure some Titans fans are happy Fisher is gone, wanting some kind of fresh start and, possibly, another season with Vince Young at quarterback. These fans are delusional people who know nothing about what it takes to win football games, and I personally hope that Bud Adams and the management in Nashville follow this course of action all the way to its natural an inevitable conclusion (i.e., the Colts destroy the Titans yet again and win their eighth AFC South title in nine years).
There's all kinds of silly reasons floating out there as to why Adams canned Fisher weeks after saying he wouldn't. The most ridiculous one is the whole nepotism thing, with Fisher wanting to have his son part of the coaching staff.
Nepotism is how ALL businesses work, people. This it is especially true in the NFL. Trust me. We Colts fans know full and well that Chris Polian certainly didn't earn his 'General Manager' title because 'he paid his dues,' or anything like that. And if the last four drafts are any indication as to what this team will be like when he is eventually made president of the team, we're in for some lean years.
If Fisher, who'd coached the Titans through all manner of situations (from relocation to name change to Albert Haynesworth to Vince Young), wanted to have his son work for him on his coaching staff, firing him for that reason (even though the move was approved by GM Mike Reinhardt) is quite laughable.
It would only highlight Adams' well-documented stupidity.
I truly don't know why Fisher was fired, but the writing was on the wall. Long-time assistants Chuck Cecil and Jim Washburn were let go, and one had to believe those moves were forced by Adams, not Fisher. Fisher then tried to fill some of the vacancies with family members because, well, it's late January! All the best assistant coaches are already hired for next year, and we're approaching a work stoppage on March 4th that will prevent anyone from doing anything.
But, likely Adams got pissed that Fisher was filling coaching vacancies with family and blocked the move. At that point Fisher probably said, 'You know what, I'm done with working for this old, mentally-deficient fool.' With one year left on his contract, Fisher and Adams worked something out which would allow Fisher to walk away with $8 million in 2011. Sure, Adams could have made Fisher coach the team in 2011, but not even Adams is that dumb.
Now, the Titans are scrambling to find a new head coach less than two months before the league will shutdown due to labor disagreements. They also need new coaches on defense, including coordinator and line coach. Not the most ideal situation. The name being floated out there is current Titans offensive line coach Mike Munchak. While Munchak is one heckuva line coach, I doubt Peyton Manning is losing sleep over his potential hiring.
If you want a lesson in the silliness that is the NFL's coaching carousel, look no further than the coaches in the AFC South. Jack Del Rio has just two playoff appearances in nine years as Jaguars coach. On December 19th last year, the Jags were 8-6 and had, essentially, a two game lead over the Colts in the AFC South. If the Jags win their Week 15 match-up with the Colts, they win the South. As we all know, they didn't win, and promptly lost three in a row to close the 2010 season.
Despite this, Del Rio kept his job for 2011.
In Houston, the Texans and head coach Gary Kubiak were 4-2 heading into their bye week. After their bye, they went 2-8, giving them their sixth losing season in the nine years they've existed. Houston has never made the playoffs under Kubiak.
Despite this, Kubiak kept his job in 2011.
Meanwhile, Fisher, widely regarded as the best coach in the AFC South, got fired after the Titans posted their first losing season since 2005, when they were digging themselves out of salary cap hell. He was two years removed from a 13-win season and a #1 Seed in the AFC Playoffs.
Yeah, this move is absolutely GREAT if you are a Colts fan. Fisher was a very talented, well-respected coach in our division. He came up with unique game plans and always got his teams to play hard. I especially like how Fisher was able to put football in it's proper perspective, as illustrated by his 'Peyton Manning jersey' stunt he made to raise money for charity. Titans fans needlessly got mad at Fisher for this. We defended him. Why? Because fans can get stupid sometimes, and bashing Jeff Fisher for wearing a Manning jersey to raise money for charity is stupidity defined.
With Fisher now on the market, it's unlikely that Jim Irsay will force a coaching change and dump the underwhelming Jim Caldwell for Fisher. But, if he did so, I know I personally wouldn't have any problem with it. I'm sure many other Colts fans wouldn't be upset either.
Wherever Jeff Fisher goes, he'll make that team competitive. Meanwhile, if the Colts don't sweep the Fisher-less Titans next year, Jim Caldwell should join Jeff Fisher in the unemployment line.