As frustrating as it’s been to be a Rams fan for the last half-decade, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a Tennessee Titans fan right now.
Jeff Fisher’s departure from the Titans ends the longest tenure of any current NFL coach.The news comes on the heels of the Titans’ announcement twenty days earlier that they would part ways with quarterback Vince Young, the third pick in the 2006 NFL draft.
After losing to the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, the Titans returned to the playoffs in 2000 with an identical 13-3 record.In a home playoff game against the Ravens, Tennessee allowed a tie breaking 90-yard blocked field goal for a touchdown and then a 50-yard interception return by Ray Lewis in a 24-10 loss to Baltimore.
After that season, the Titans fell back to 7-9, but rebounded with division winning seasons in 2002 and 2003.In ’02, they lost the AFC Championship game to the Raiders in Oakland, and in ’03 dropped a divisional contest to eventual Super Bowl Champion New England.So over the course of a five-year span, Fisher had led the Titans to the playoffs four times, with a Super Bowl loss, an AFC Championship loss, a divisional round loss and a wildcard round loss.
Then Fisher lost his mojo.Over the next three years, the Titans went 17-31 – enough to get most coaches fired.But he rebounded with the selection of Young.Owner Bud Adams forced the pick on Fisher and the club, but the quarterback DID go 9-6 in his second year, leading Tennessee to the playoffs.
That didn’t matter to Fisher, who benched Young in the second game of 2008.The team went 13-3, but lost in the playoffs again.Since then, they’ve gone 8-8 and 6-10.
It’s great that Fisher was the longest tenured coach in the NFL, but it’s also clear that once the team took Young with such a high pick, Fisher didn’t want him.He continued to go with the ancient Kerry Collins, and didn’t make a serious playoff run in the last eight years.
If I were a Titans fan, I’d be frustrated.Frustrated that we wasted the third pick in the draft on a quarterback our coach never liked.Frustrated that the coach had just six winning seasons out of sixteen coaching the team.Frustrated that we didn’t win the Super Bowl we got to.Frustrated that it took so long for the owner to recognize a change was needed, and frustrated that it took the owner until January 27 of this year to make a decision to fire him.
There are problems with the Tennessee Titans, and they aren’t all gone with Jeff Fisher’s departure.The guy who hired Fisher, drafted Young and fired Fisher is a culprit, too.And until Bud Adams is gone, the Titans are going to continue to frustrate their fans.