He's back: Jeff Fisher agrees to become first coach of the USFL's Michigan Panthers

·2 min read

There will be no 9-7 or 8-8 jokes about Jeff Fisher in the USFL's first season. The league plans to play only 10 games this season.

Fisher, the longtime coach of the Tennessee Titans and then Los Angeles Rams, has resurfaced. The Michigan Panthers announced Thursday they've hired Fisher to be their first head coach. The reboot of the USFL, which made a splash as a spring football league for a few years in the 1980s, will start on April 16.

Fisher had a 22-year run as an NFL head coach, starting with the Houston Oilers in 1994. His last job was with the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, the team's first year after moving to L.A. from St. Louis.

Fisher hovering at about a .500 record every season became a running social media joke during his time with the Rams. Fisher had a 173-165-1 record as an NFL coach. He almost won a Super Bowl with the Titans, coming up just short against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.

The USFL is the latest league to try in the spring, leaning on the nostalgia of the league Steve Young, Jim Kelly and Reggie White played in. The games will be in Birmingham, Alabama, but the teams will be named after old USFL franchises like the New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars and Michigan Panthers. The first version of the league was best known for poaching some big stars before the NFL could get them, and then having to fold after an unsuccessful run at becoming a fall league to compete with the NFL. The USFL will try to succeed where other start-up football leagues like the Alliance of American Football and two versions of the XFL failed.

A few USFL coaches have recognizable names from the NFL or college, like Todd Haley, Larry Fedora and Kevin Sumlin. Fisher is the most famous name on the list. Plenty of social media banter will follow.

Former Rams and Titans head coach Jeff Fisher has been hired as the first coach of the USFL's Michigan Panthers. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Former Rams and Titans head coach Jeff Fisher has been hired as the first coach of the USFL's Michigan Panthers. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)