Jeff Fisher is 3 games away from setting the record for career losses by a coach to 166. He would have one more than former Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Reeves. Last week’s blow-out loss to the New Orleans Saints set him at one more loss than Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry. Just behind is Landry is Don Shula with 156 losses, Tom Coughlin with 150, and George Halas and Chuck Noll both with 148.
From this angle it doesn’t seem to be terrible company. All of these coaches are respectable and have a reputation of being winners. Most would consider them to be among the best ever, legendary status coaches. When you look at this list there is a very glaring difference between Jeff Fisher and the other coaches. How many games did they win?
Well, with the exception of Coughlin with 170 wins and Chuck Noll with 193 wins, they all have well over 250 wins each. Shula and Halas have 328 and 318 respectively, all dwarfing Jeff Fisher’s 173 career wins. That’s tenth on the list ahead of Bill Parcells who was 172-130.
As I looked into these stats I couldn’t help but wonder how Jeff Fisher has been a head coach in the NFL for 22 years. He was head coach for the Oilers/Titans from 1994-2010 posting a 142-120 W-L record where he had only 6 seasons with a winning record including three 13-3 seasons. He had five losing seasons not counting his first year at 1-5 when he took over with 6 games left in the season. In today’s NFL he’d been long gone by 1999 when he finally saw a winning season as head coach when they ultimately lost the Super Bowl to the St Louis Rams’ greatest show on turf.
Oh, I know, “A yard away from being a Super Bowl winning coach.” Not so fast. They were a yard away from tying the Super Bowl. But, in the Super Bowl they were all the same. That being by far the best season he’s had as head coach. It’s actually been 8 seasons since he’s had a winning one.
As a fan watching games, I’ve always considered him to be sub-par as a coach. The stats will say I’m wrong because he’s just over par with a 51.5% winning percentage, but my eyes tell me he’s often out coached. This brings me to his matchup against a Bill Belichick. The last two times these head coaches matched wits didn’t go well for Fisher. In 2012, the Patriots beat the Rams in London 45-3 and in 2009 the Patriots beat the Tennessee Titans 59-0 in the snow at Gillette.
As banged-up as the Patriots are going into this game against the Fisher-coached LA Rams, I can’t help but feel confident as a fan that this meeting will get Mr Fisher one loss closer to being a 50% head coach and the record as the losingest coach in NFL history.
The Patriots will be without Rob Gronkowski, arguably their best player not named Brady. They’ll have a banged up Bennett and Brady. They’ll have the porous defense we’ve seen lately and the best offensive line on rollerskates. Fisher hasn’t beaten Belichick since 2003, so maybe he’s due. All that in consideration, I don’t think Jeff Fisher will have a shot, with his team to win. Besides the Rams not being very good, when Bill Belichick gushes about how good a team’s punter is, you have to think there may not be a lot of respect for the rest of the team. We will see Sunday if Fisher can help delay the inevitable, but, I and all of Patriots nation should be shocked if it actually happens.
At least Jeff Fisher has some of the best facial hair in the NFL coaching ranks, right?