Fisher may well win a Super Bowl somewhere else. I doubt it, because I think the game has passed him by, but he may. What he won't do is win one with the Titans. He's had 17 seasons to make that happen and where does the franchise stand? In the wake of Thursday night's sixth consecutive defeat, a 30-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Titans are 5-8 and nowhere near a Super Bowl-caliber team.
Meanwhile Fisher hasn't won a playoff game since 2003 and his best chances to win a title came at the beginning of the decade. He's 141-115, after 17 seasons of coaching and has a winning percentage of 55 percent. That's not good enough to justify him a coaching job for life, but it's good enough to make him a marketable commodity.
It's time for player and coach to split ways.
Let me be clear about this, I think Jeff Fisher is worth more not actually coaching the Titans than he is as the head man on the sideline. I'd ask for Fisher to resign to save the expense of his contract in 2011. If he wouldn't do that, I'd make him sit on the sideline for a season and find another coaching staff in the meantime. Or, if you really wanted to be cruel, I'd make him return as Titans coach and have to play Vince Young as the starter at quarterback. You know, Vince Young, the player that Fisher got into a heated confrontation with after the Washington Redskins loss a few weeks ago. That fight and Young's subsequent departure would have energized the team if VY had been the locker room cancer that Jeff Fisher wants us to believe he is. Instead, it's done the opposite. Players on offense have openly sided with Vince Young in the dispute with his head coach, going 14 quarters without a touchdown before finally getting on the board just before the half Thursday night.
The Titans' best offensive player not named Chris Johnson, wide receiver Kenny Britt, actually wore a towel with "VY 10" written on it in the first half. That towel was a not so subtle sign that the Titans' best receiver was pining for the return of the player Jeff Fisher isolated from the team and banished to Texas. You think it's a coincidence that the Titans have played their worst football in years since Vince Young was told not to enter the Titans facility?
Of course it isn't. Jeff Fisher fancies himself a player's coach, but he's lost the feud with Vince Young. Indeed, if he's such a player's coach, Fisher would have taken note of the fact that he's lost this locker room. That the Titans are en route to nine consecutive losses to finish off the 2010 season. If Fisher had kept his mouth shut in the locker room, VY would be rehabbing and the team's subsequent collapse wouldn't be placed at his feet. Titan fans would wait another season to see if Young will finally become a franchise quarterback. But instead Fisher picked a fight and lost his team. Now it's time for him to go.
To be fair, there's no doubt that Fisher has been an incredible asset to the community or that he's beloved here. That's what makes this parting so difficult. When the Titans played in Nashville in 1998 this was a town that still couldn't quite believe pro sports had arrived. We were agog at the spectacle. The NFL, really, here? My dad, a native Nashvillian, cheered as loudly as he could when the Titans took the field in Nashville for the first time in a brand new stadium. That was in 1999. For years he would tell me, "I can't believe the NFL is here!" with a grin as wide as the Cumberland.
The city of Nashville fell hard for the Tennessee Titans, there's no doubt about it. And Jeff Fisher was a big part of that, he fit the community well, he wasn't ostentatious, didn't attract attention, he was as solid as the mustache he always wore, like a cop who came to your house when the burglar alarm went off. But in the decade and change since that arrival, the city of Nashville has changed. Instead of feeling fortunate that pro sports came to town, we feel like pro sports are the ones fortunate to have come to our town. This is a great place to live, a city that gives its celebrities space to breathe.
But it's time we expect our coaches to win rather than just be happy that they are here.
Nashville is the only pro sports town in America that has never fired a pro coach. Ever. Not in hockey where Barry Trotz is in his 12th year and not in football where Jeff Fisher in his 13th season in the city. This is not a coincidence. I don't believe there is any other city in America where Jeff Fisher would still be the coach. And somewhere along the way Jeff Fisher has lost touch with the spirit of the city of Nashville and taken advantage of the lenient standard. He truly believes he's a coach for life. I think Fisher's golden touch first deserted him when Fisher wore a Peyton Manning jersey last season amidst an 0-6 start and said he had done so because he wanted to feel like a winner.
The city of Nashville seethed.
That continued Thursday night when Fisher told a NFL Network crew he was thinking about throwing a challenge flag when the Titans scored a touchdown to break the scoring drought so the touchdown feeling would last longer. That's ironic because Jeff Fisher hasn't used his challenge flag very wisely this year. Much of anything very wisely, actually. Anyone notice Randy Moss these past five games? The player who was going to revolutionize the Titans offense? Didn't think so. That's because he has five catches in those five games. He was on the sideline with his gloves inserted in his facemask for the final few minutes of the game.
More than anything else Fisher's brand of football, pound the rock on the ground and win with great defense is antiquated in today's NFL. You can't win a championship like that anymore. The game has passed Fisher by. Especially when you don't have a running back who you can pound the ball with or a defense that can withstand that pounding. Fisher's unwillingness to change crystallized for Titans fans Thursday night when, trailing by six and facing a 4th and 1 with 4:07 remaining in the game, Fisher chose to punt to the greatest quarterback in the history or football. Peyton Manning's Colts took possession, drove the field, kicked a field goal and iced the game.
Game over. Another playoff-less season for the Titans.
That means Fisher has been to the postseason just twice in the last seven years. Right about now is where other NFL fans clamor, "Well, if the Titans don't want Jeff Fisher (insert team here) will be happy to have him." That's fine and dandy. Have your owner make an offer to Bud Adams. Because it's time for Jeff Fisher to go. Think of this as a break-up between a couple that bears each other no ill will. Sometimes relationships need to end. Not because someone has horribly wronged the other person, but just because you know there's nothing good left to come from staying together. Just as you don't hang on to a boyfriend or girlfriend because you think someone else might like them, neither should the Titans hang on to Fisher. Or vice-versa.
It's time for the old oil man Bud Adams to make a deal. He's got a head coach that many seem to think is a hot commodity under contract for one more year. It's high time Fisher hit the NFL auction block. He's got a great mustache and is fond of pumping his fist after big plays.
Opening bid is a single first rounder.
Do I hear any bidders? Going once, going twice ...
Follow Clay Travis on Twitter here. With All That and a Bag of Mail back on a weekly basis, you can e-mail him questions at Clay.Travis@gmail.com.
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