In NFL Coaching, Solid Consistency Better than Momentary Greatness


Jeff Fisher has come under fire this season for his relationship with embattled quarterback Vince Young. Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams has an affinity for those players that come out of the University of Texas, so the coach is definitely on the hot seat at the moment. Fisher is in his sixteenth full season with the organization. He displays stability in the NFL, in an area where it’s otherwise hard to come by. Employment is a fragile thing in the league, but Fisher should be given the benefit of the doubt over a player who has demonstrated his penchant for instability through immature behavior.

Especially when you consider what Jon Gruden, Jim Fassell, and Brian Billick all have in common…

They all won Super Bowls this past decade, but are currently out of the league.

They are all gainfully employed in and around the game of football, but they do not have the enviable role of being a NFL head coach any longer. In a profession where re-treads are the norm, they are still on the sidelines. It would be naïve to think that none of them have had another job offered during this lapse, but I guess the situation hasn’t met the standard.

Marty Schottenheimer was unceremoniously dismissed by the San Diego Chargers after an apparent personal riff with management.  It was the opinion of the front office that he forgot how to coach in the playoffs despite his years of experience in the league. Guiding the squad to a 14-2 finish in 2006 would not suffice because he couldn’t “win the big one.”

One of the most common used clichés throughout life is, “be careful what you wish for.” San Diego is in that position now with head coach Norv Turner; who doesn’t deserve the kind of respect Schottenheimer did.

The consistency provided in San Diego did not suffice. By shooting for the stars, the organization set itself back years. And that’s unfortunate because quarterback Phillip Rivers fell into their lap when Eli Manning decided he would blind side the organization and choose to play in New York. It should have been apparent he would do so when he came out of Ole Miss.

Tony Dungy is a man who has been instrumental in the turnaround of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. His tutelage has provided the necessary foundation for Vick to not only reach his former glory, but to surpass it. Unlike some previous NFL head coaches mentioned that are out of the league, he has done so entirely of his own volition.

One of the tenants that is emphasized by Dungy is the process is more important than the results. If someone focuses on the process, then the results will take care of themselves. “Do what you do” is a mantra repeated often by him.

Bud Adams and the Titans should continue to let Fisher do what he does.

–Patrick Herbert

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