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Since VY is out, what’s the reason for Jeff Fisher to be let go in Tennessee?

BREAKING NEWS: Within the last hour on Thursday night, SI.COM first broke the story that the longest tenure coach in the National Football League will be walking away from his job. The Titans later released a statement to the same effect.

There has been only one head coach in the history of the Tennessee Titans, and since the franchises move from the Houston Oliers, Jeff Fisher, 52, has been that head coach. Promoted at the age of 36 from the defensive coordinator to interim head coach in November of 1994 and then officially as the head coach in January of 1995, Fisher helped the franchise get adjusted to Steve McNair as they moved to Tennessee in 1997. With one Super Bowl Appearance (a loss to the greatest show on turf St. Louis Rams in 2000), he coached the Titans team that orchestrated “The Music City Miracle” against the  Buffalo Bills to win the AFC Championship in 2000. Before leaving the franchise, he was 3rd among active head coaches in wins only behind Bill Belichick (176) and Washington Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan (160).  (check out below)

Fisher, as the head coach, went 142-120 (.542 winning percentage) in 16 full seasons, went 5-6 in the playoffs, as mentioned one Super Bowl appearance, four division titles and six post season berths.

Titans owner Bud Adams said on January 7th in a statement after releasing 5th year QB and former Texas Longhorns QB Vince Young on January 5th, after he and Fisher butted heads, “I have informed our senior management that Jeff Fisher will be our head coach next season… The results of his leadership have been some very good football teams and I believe he will get us back to an elite level.” This must come to a shock to Titans fans everywhere that less than a month after a vote of confidence, he was let go. Perhaps since Bud Adams wanted to badly for the failed Vince Young experiment to work and for Young to be the franchise quarterback, that the relationship between head coach and owner was far from repairable.

AP PHOTO

But, according to FoxSports.com, Fisher will not be walking away from this franchise empty handed. Fisher will receive $8 million as his settlement, most of which was due in the final year of his contract.

The Titans finished 6-10 this year, with Vince Young being injured and back up quarterbacks playing most of the season in his place. 

Fisher, who was also a college football player at USC and drafted in the 7th round by the Chicago Bears in 1980, got a Super Bowl ring with the Bears in their 1985 season in Super Bowl XX, despite not playing that year. Learning from Buddy Ryan, then Bears defensive coordinator, he became, at 30, the defensive backs coach for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988, one of the youngest at the time. He became the defensive coordinator for the then Houston Oilers in February of 1994 under then head coach Jack Pardee, where the rest is history.

I am sure there are teams who have already hired new head coaches (Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, etc.) that were looking for a head coach three weeks ago would have loved a shot at Jeff Fisher, a proven head coach in this league. Now, some other team will have to take a shot at it…

If we have football in 2011.

(stats and info used in this post from espn.com, foxsports.com, and si.com)

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