Thursday, January 27, 2011
Fisher's stellar Titans resume has one hole
Finishing one yard short of a chance at a Super Bowl victory left Jeff Fisher as an outlier on a number of impressive statistical lists.
Jeff Fisher's 142 regular-season wins with the Titans franchise are the sixth-most by any coach with a single franchise during the Super Bowl era (since 1966). However, each of the five coaches with more (Don Shula, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Joe Gibbs and Bill Cowher) has at least one Super Bowl victory.
Since 1995, Jeff Fisher's first full season as head coach, he led the Titans to the fifth-best winning percentage in the AFC, and eighth-best in the NFL.
However, each of the four AFC teams with a better record won at least one Super Bowl. Fisher lost in his lone Super Bowl appearance, Super Bowl XXXIV, which ended with Kevin Dyson being tackled by St. Louis Rams linebacker Mike Jones at the one-yard line in a 23-16 defeat.
Fisher’s 142 career regular-season wins are the most in franchise history, 87 more than the coach with the next-most, Bum Phillips (55 with the Houston Oilers from 1975 to 1980). The 87-win differential between the top two coaches is tied for the fifth-largest in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, but well behind the all-time leading Miami Dolphins (Shula 257, Dave Wannstedt 42).
Fisher had six winning seasons and six losing seasons in his time as Titans coach. That’s the fewest winning seasons for anyone with at least 100 NFL wins.
What did Fisher in? Though the Titans had issues at the quarterback position, their points-per-game averages were nearly identical in each of the last three seasons (23.4, 22.1 and 22.3).
Had Vince Young been fully healthy and had a better relationship with Fisher, perhaps things would have been different.
In his 10 games this season, our video review team found that Young was 25-for-35 for four touchdowns in play-action situations. Partly due to the presence of Chris Johnson, Young rated the second-best in the NFL in completion percentage and passer rating when play-action passing (minimum 100 attempts) over the last three seasons.
He could blame the Titans defense, which allowed only 14.6 points per game in 2008, yielded 25.1 per game in 2009 and 21.2 in 2010. But both sides of the ball could share blame for the team’s turnover differential, which was -4 in each of the last two seasons.
The Titans biggest issue defensively over the last two seasons was their struggle to generate pressure when sending four or fewer pass rushers.
The Titans allowed only seven touchdowns and recorded 15 interceptions, when rushing four or fewer in 2008. But since then, they yielded 36 touchdowns (netting 30 interceptions), this despite an apparent attempt to solve the problem, by increasing the frequency with which they blitzed.
Fisher’s departure leaves Andy Reid as the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach. He became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999. Like Fisher, his record currently includes no Super Bowl victories.