Well, Titans fans, it finally, horribly, inevitably happened.
After years of not-so-private back and forth struggles between the owner's suite and the coach's office, Jeff Fisher, the longest-tenured coach in franchise history, has been shown the door.
In opening the press conference, Coach Fisher reminded us of November 11, 1994, when he was "summoned" to Bud Adams' office prior to a game against the Cincinnati Bengals and informed that he was the new head coach of the then-Houston Oilers.
"It is hard for me to imagine that 17 years later, it has come to this. I really at that point could never imagine doing this as long as I have done it," said Fisher.
"I have no regrets," Coach Fisher said while reminiscing over his past 17 years with the organization, including 15 full seasons as the head coach.
Coach Fisher refused to go into specifics regarding his departure, mentioning only that "there were some differences" of opinion, particularly over the last two years.
"I need some time; I need a break," he stated, referencing his 25 years as a coach in the NFL.
"It's time to move on."
Fisher is part of a small group of coaches in NFL history who spent 15 or more consecutive years with the same team. Don Shula (Miami Dolphins 1970-1995), Hank Stram (Kansas City Chiefs, 1960-1974), Steve Owen (New York Giants, 1931-1953), Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher (Pittsburgh Steelers, 1969-1991 and 1992-2006, respectively), Tom Landry (1960-1987) and Bud Grant (1967-1983) all led their teams through 15 or more seasons as the head coach.
Coach Fisher's record of 142-120 in the regular season and 5-6 in the postseason ranks him as one of the top coaches in franchise history, rivaled only by Bum Phillips.
More importantly, he was the only head coach in franchise history to lead the team to the Super Bowl, which they lost to the St. Louis Rams on a last-second tackle at the 1-yard line.
"I haven't thought about my future," he stated when asked what his plans were to continue coaching in the NFL.
"There's a lot of emotions involved," he stated, again referencing that he is "tired" and "needs to rest." He added, "I'm going to take time."
"In closing," Fisher said abruptly, possibly tiring of repeated questions as to what happened to predicate the move—as if most people didn't already know—and possibly wishing to leave the interview before emotions got the better of him, "I want to thank Steve (Underwood) and Mike (Reinfeldt), Mr. Adams once again, Robby, coaches, everyone in this organization, including all of you (referencing the crowd of reporters in attendance), for just a tremendous experience over the last 17 years.
Coach Fisher's departure leaves open the question of how the organization will move forward. As owner Bud Adams said earlier in the press conference via voice conference, "organizations and coaches almost always reach a point when it is time to change, and this is where we are.
"This isn't personal. It's just time for a change. And I believe that both the team and Jeff will benefit from this move."
As he walked away, one final question was fired from the crowd: "What do you think football historians will have to say about your tenure, Jeff?"
Ever humble, Coach Fisher paused momentarily, smiled and said, "You'll have to speak with the historians."
And with a wave, he walked from Baptist Sports Park for the last time.
Something tells me that the historians will be kind.
Good luck, Coach; you will be missed.
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