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Jeffrey Michael Fisher (born February 25, 1958) is an American football coach and former player.
He is the current head coach of the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). He was previously the head coach of the NFL's Tennessee Titans franchise, a position he held for 17 seasons.
Fisher became the coach of the Titans franchise near the end of the 1994 season during their tenure as the Houston Oilers and remained with the team when they relocated to Tennessee. He and the Titans parted ways after the end of the 2010 season and following a season away from football, Fisher was hired as the head coach of the Rams franchise in 2012.
A native of Southern California, Fisher starred as a high school All-American wide receiver at Taft High School in Woodland Hills.
Fisher later went on to star at USC, under coach John Robinson. During his collegiate career (1977–80), he played alongside such defensive stars as Ronnie Lott, Dennis Smith, and Joey Browner. Fisher's USC teammates also included star offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, whom he would coach years later with the Oilers and Titans. Fisher and the Trojans won a national championship during the 1978 season, and in 1980 he was honored as a Pac-10 All-Academic selection.
Fisher was drafted in the 7th round of the 1981 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He appeared in 49 games as a defensive back and return specialist in his five seasons with the Bears.
In 1983, Fisher had suffered a broken leg on a punt return when he was tackled by then-Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Bill Cowher. Coincidentally the two became rivals as head coaches beginning in the AFC Central in 1995; Fisher's Oilers/Titans squads came out with an 11–7 record against Cowher's Pittsburgh Steelers. Fisher earned a Super Bowl ring after Chicago's 1985 Super Bowl season, despite spending the year on injured reserve with an ankle injury that prematurely ended his playing career. Fisher stayed with the Bears as a defensive assistant while on injured reserve for the season.
Early coaching career
During 1985, Fisher used his time on the Bears' injured reserve to assist defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. After the Bears won the Super Bowl that season, Ryan was hired as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Fisher joined as a defensive backs coach. In 1988, Fisher was promoted to defensive coordinator at age 30, the youngest such coach in the league. The 1989 Eagles defense led the NFL in interceptions (30) and sacks (62). The 1990 squad led the league in rushing defense and finished second in sacks.
In 1991, Fisher was hired as defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, which reunited him with his college coach John Robinson. The next two seasons, he served as the defensive backs coach for the San Francisco 49ers. These years as an assistant to George Seifert placed Fisher in the Bill Walsh coaching tree. On February 9, 1994, Fisher again became a defensive coordinator, this time for the Houston Oilers under Jack Pardee. Fisher had succeeded Ryan, who left the post to become the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans
On November 14, 1994, Pardee was fired, and Fisher was promoted to replace him for the last six games of the season. The Oilers retained Fisher as head coach, and the Oilers drafted quarterback Steve McNair in the 1995 NFL Draft. The new coach did not disappoint, leading the team to a 7–9 record in 1995, tied for second place in the division. The following year the Oilers added Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, and they achieved an 8–8 record. However, an inability to get a new stadium deal in Houston caused owner Bud Adams to relocate the team to Tennessee for the 1997 season.
In the team's first two seasons in Tennessee the Oilers compiled a record of 16–16. In 1998, the team's home games moved from Memphis to Nashville.
In the 1999 season, the newly renamed Tennessee Titans finished with a 13–3 regular season record, going all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV, in part due to the Music City Miracle. There the team fell to the St. Louis Rams, 23–16; wideout Kevin Dyson was tackled one yard short of the end zone with no time remaining, in what became known as "The Tackle". Tennessee achieved the same record the next year, but were defeated in the AFC playoffs by the Baltimore Ravens who would go on to win Super Bowl XXXV.
The 2001 season was a disappointing one for the Titans, as they could only muster a 7–9 showing. The beginning of the next season proved to be even worse, with the franchise starting off with a 1–4 record. Following one home loss, owner Bud Adams made the comment to reporters that perhaps the Titans "were getting outcoached." This provided a spark the team needed, and they finished the season with an 11–5 record and made it to the AFC Championship Game.
The 2003 season saw more success, with yet another trip to the playoffs and McNair tying for the League MVP award (with Peyton Manning). Again, they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, but the team's progress did not go unnoticed. The 2004 season, however, was plagued by injuries from the start, and Fisher's worst record as head coach (4–12) was the result. Following the season, many veteran players (such as Samari Rolle and Derrick Mason) were cut in an effort to comply with the strict salary cap. The relative youth of the team resulted in a disappointing 2005 season as well. Before the 2005 season, Fisher hired Norm Chow out of USC to be his offensive coordinator.
In 2006, the Titans finished a better-than-expected 8–8. Quarterback Steve McNair was traded to the Baltimore Ravens and Vince Young was drafted, but began the season as backup to Billy Volek and Kerry Collins. The season began slowly at 0–3 before Volek was replaced by Kerry Collins and, later, Young. The team ultimately started 2–7, but following a 27–26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and McNair, the Titans erupted to win six straight games under Young, including a 24-point rally to beat the Giants. With this promising record the Titans exercised their right to extend his contract by a year, keeping him as the head coach through the 2007 NFL season.
In 2007, he led the Titans to a 10–6 record and made the AFC playoffs as the 6th seed, but lost in the opening round to the San Diego Chargers.
In 2008, Fisher led the Titans to a 10–0 undefeated streak only to be upset by Brett Favre and the New York Jets midway through the 2008 season. The Titans finished 13–3 and secured the number 1 seed in the AFC, yet lost in the second round of the 2008 NFL Playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens.
In 2009 the Titans lost in overtime to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season's opening game. The loss began a six-game slide that reached its nadir in a 59–0 slaughter by the New England Patriots. Collins, at the public recommendation of Titans owner Bud Adams, was benched and replaced by Young; the Titans responded by winning eight of their next ten games, highlighted by a dramatic comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals, a season-ending comeback against the Seattle Seahawks, and a hard-fought overtime win over the Miami Dolphins. Highlighting this season was the play of running back Chris Johnson; in his second year of professional football (he'd been drafted 24th in the 2008 NFL Draft) Johnson broke Marshall Faulk's record of total yards from scrimmage with 2,509, becoming the sixth back in NFL history to rush over 2000 yards.
In 2010, relations between Fisher and Vince Young became increasingly strained. In a home game against the Washington Redskins, Young was removed following a injury to his thumb and subsequently not allowed to re-enter the game. In disgust, he began removing his equipment while still on the sidelines, eventually throwing his shoulder pads into the stands. He walked off of the field as the contest continued. Young never appeared in another game for the Titans and was released at the end of the season.
Initially it appeared that Fisher's tenure with the Titans would survive this situation; however,on January 27, 2011, almost four weeks after the end of the 2010 regular season, it was formally announced that Fisher and the Titans had mutually agreed to part ways following a buyout of the one remaining season on Fisher's contract. At more than 16 full seasons, Fisher had been the longest-tenured NFL head coach with one team among active head coaches.
Fisher coached teams that have been referred to as aggressive, edgy, chippy and dirty.
St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams
After a season off in 2011, Fisher agreed to become the head coach of the St. Louis Rams for the 2012 season.
In Fisher's first season in St. Louis the team finished with a 7–8–1 record, a five–win improvement from the previous year. Furthermore, the Rams were competitive in every game, with the exception of the London-played game against New England, which the Rams lost by a score of 45-7.
In 2013, the Rams finished with a 7–9 record.
During the 2014 season, the Rams went 6–10. It was the team's worst record under Fisher, and also Fisher's 4th consecutive losing season as a head coach. In the team's final season in St. Louis in 2015 they finished with a 7–9 record, an improvement over their previous season.