Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher is the longest-tenured head coach with one franchise currently doing business in the NFL, having coached the Oilers/Titans since just about the time Buddy Ryan tried to punch Kevin Gilbride's lights out in 1994. He's been to a Super Bowl and almost won it, and has guided the franchise through more than one salary cap purge. By any standard, he's one of the most respected coaches in the NFL, and that hasn't really changed despite the fact that his team is 0-6 and just got destroyed 59-0 by the Patriots.
What, then, can we make of Fisher's gesture at a benefit rally Tuesday for Rocketown, a Nashville music venue/skatepark/coffee bar? He spoke at the dais for a while before stepping back, taking off his shirt, and revealing ... a Peyton Manning(notes) jersey.
Fisher explained himself as follows: "I just wanted to feel like a winner." As you can see from the video, the crowd found it funny at the time, and there's no reason for Fisher to bash himself upside the head in public for his team's terrible season when he's taking time for the public good.
That said, and judging from the R-rated delayed fan reaction, this might be one of those things that backfires on a guy who just turns off his brain for a minute, kinda like Howard Dean's shrieking "YEEEEEEAH!" or Jim Mora's insistence to a Seattle radio station that he'd quit the Falcons to coach the Washington Huskies.
Titans fans are understandably apoplectic about their team's current fate, and I can't imagine the front office and ownership are too pleased about it, either. This shouldn't be a misstep that costs Fisher his job, or even leads in that direction, but methinks he's got some 'splaining to do before this one blows over.
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- Jeff Fisher