Rams fire Jeff Fisher after nearly five seasons and no playoff appearances

After five years and dozens of ugly losses, the Jeff Fisher era is finally over with the Los Angeles Rams. Fisher was fired Monday, less than 24 hours after a 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke said the decision to let Fisher go was a difficult one.

"Making a decision such as this -- especially during the season -- is one of the most difficult in sports," Kroenke said in a statement. "I have great respect for Jeff as a coach, person, father and friend. He has worked tirelessly despite some challenging circumstances. However, this is the right time to make a change as our performance has not lived up to my or our fans' expectations."

Special teams coordinator John Fassel will serve as the team's interim coach for the final three games of the season, beginning Thursday night at Seattle.

Although Fisher signed a two-year contract extension with the Rams before the season started, it never felt like he was going to make it through the entire deal.

The past two weeks have been especially ugly. First, the coach butted heads with Rams legend Eric Dickerson. Dickerson called the Rams embarrassing and said that Fisher should be fired.

That was followed by an MMQB.com report that suggested that Fisher didn't get along with Rams general manager Les Snead.

During his 22 years of coaching, Jeff Fisher is 173-165-1. To put Fisher's all-time loss record in perspective, he tied Dan Reeves even though he has coached in 18 fewer regular-season games.

The ugliness of the past two weeks was only exacerbated by the team's 28-point loss to the Falcons. The Rams were so bad in the loss that running back Todd Gurley made fun of his team's offense, calling it a "middle school offense."

The running back has a point -- the Rams' offense has been such a disaster this year that the Falcons have actually scored more touchdowns in L.A. this season than the Rams have. The Falcons have played one game in L.A. The Rams have played six.

The loss to the Falcons was the Rams' fourth straight and the eighth loss in nine games. The losing definitely appeared to take a toll on the team's attendance.

The Rams haven't even played a whole season in Los Angeles and fans have already stopped showing up to watch the team play. For Sunday's game, the Rams played in front of a half-empty stadium, which is a horrible sign for a a team in its first year in a city and with two home games left.

The loss to the Falcons was the 165th of Fisher's career, which tied him with Dan Reeves for the most losses in NFL history. If you're Kroenke, employing the man who holds the NFL record for most losses just doesn't make any sense when you're trying to revive football in a city that hasn't had the NFL in more than 20 years.

The loss to the Falcons also dropped Fisher's career record with the Rams to 31-45-1, which is unacceptable for any coach of any team. During his 22 years of coaching, Fisher is 173-165-1. To put Fisher's all-time loss record in perspective, he tied Reeves even though he has coached in 18 fewer regular-season games.

Fisher never had a winning record with the Rams, and after Sunday's loss, which dropped the Rams to 4-9, the team was guaranteed to have its fifth straight losing season under Fisher.

As for a possible replacement, expect Kroenke to go big. The real estate tycoon is one of the richest owners in the NFL and has a lot of money to spend, so don't be surprised to see him go after a big-name coach who has a strong track record of winning, and don't be surprised if he throws $9 million or $10 million per year at that coach.

One name that came up over the weekend was Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. Although Harbaugh might not be ready to jump ship at Michigan, you can bet that the Rams' job -- now that it's based in L.A. -- will be one of the most highly coveted jobs this offseason.

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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