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Fisher's reputation doesn't match Titans' results

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist

It seems we're bombarded daily with the steady propagandizing that Jeff Fisher is the best coach in the free world. He's Lombardi and Belichick with a little Paul Brown. Maybe some Beyoncé, too.

Some of the analyst types might as well propose marriage to Fisher (Not that there's anything wrong with that). Smooch, smooch, smooch goes the butt kissing. Pucker up, smooch, rinse, repeat. If you believe some media, Jesus celebrates Jeff Fisher's birthday.

Titans fans aren't shy about expressing their dissatisfaction with Jeff Fisher. (AP)  
Titans fans aren't shy about expressing their dissatisfaction with Jeff Fisher. (AP)  
Jeff Fisher invented the Internet. Jeff Fisher's coaching skills can break the sound barrier. Jeff Fisher counted to infinity ... twice.

It's possible Fisher and the Tennessee Titans will part ways after this season, launching the slobber-fest of Fisher into the Tim Tebow stratosphere. In what might be one of the more tumultuous periods of head coaching turnover in recent league history, much of the discussion is that Fisher and CBS analyst Bill "I'm not lobbying for other people's jobs but my agent might be" Cowher are at the top of many lists.

Regarding Fisher, I ask a simple question: What is it that makes him so great?

He's a good person, to be sure. Also, longevity counts for something. He has been with the Titans franchise since 1994, making him the longest-tenured NFL head coach with one team.

Still, Fisher has made just one Super Bowl appearance as Tennessee coach. His biggest claim to fame is that he hasn't had many losing seasons, but Fisher has also coached some dizzying playoff implosions leading to a 5-6 postseason record.

Fisher doesn't lose much but he also doesn't win a whole lot. That's the essence of Fisher. Fisher is lauded for treading postseason water. He has lived off the one Super Bowl appearance while coaches like Tom Coughlin (who actually won one) fight yearly for their lives.

One of the most puzzling aspects of media and fan perception of coaches is how one coach who doesn't win Super Bowls is given an almost eternal grace period and multiple chances while a coach with a similar background isn't. Mike Shanahan got a coaching job with Washington despite a horrible post-John Elway tenure in Denver. Eric Mangini has done little to prove he deserved another chance after his New York Jets stint. There are other examples.

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Fisher will have every owner looking for a head coach drooling because teams want big names, despite proof that no-name new bloods such as Steve Spagnuolo, Raheem Morris and Mike Smith are proving to be relentlessly talented. John Harbaugh just led Baltimore to three straight playoff appearances, a first in franchise history, and he was a minor globe in the NFL galaxy until the Ravens hired him.

Fisher has maintained (mostly) extensive control over personnel while the team's talent level has dipped. He has consistently botched the handling of Vince Young, has let his once proud defense rot and the Titans overall are consistently among the least disciplined teams in the NFL.

Tennessee defensive back Cortland Finnegan has long been one of the league's true punks and his brawl with Andre Johnson was inevitable due to Fisher's inability (or unwillingness) to control Finnegan.

Earlier this month, the Tennessean reported the Titans led the NFL in personal fouls, are among the league leaders in penalty yardage and have been fined at least $184,500. The team is among the league leaders in false-start and offside penalties.

Tennessee has lost seven of its past eight and on Sunday against Kansas City fell behind 24-0. The Titans, clearly, have quit on Fisher.

Yet he's considered a great coach. A great, great coach.



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