While you were asleep late Sunday night, I was sitting here, doing some research. December 1 is this week (Thursday) and another football season is flying by. As a Rams fan (since 1966, the year of the first Super Bowl), this has been another dismal season.
I like Jeff Fisher well enough as a coach, but he is finishing his 5th season with the Rams and has yet to have a .500 season. Was trying to think of anyone else in the NFL who lasted this long with one team without a winning season. So I decided to research the topic. Here is some of what I learned:
— Here is Fisher’s resume with the Rams: 7-8-1/7-9/6-10/7-9/4-7.
Fisher inherited a dumpster fire from his predecessor, Steve Spagnuolo (10-38 in three years) and he has made the Rams competitive again. He gets credit for that.
When Spags was coaching the Rams, I knew when I got out of bed on Sunday morning that we were getting whupped that day. Now I am pretty sure the Rams will have a chance to win, but because the offense sucks, they probably won’t.
— I limited my search to the Super Bowl era, starting in 1966. During that time, only six NFL head coaches started their tenure in a city with four consecutive losing seasons. The rest either all got fired before that or had at least one .500 season or at least one winning season. Here are the five coaches:
- Dan Hennng (Falcons) 1983-86: 7-9/4-12/4-12/7-8-1.
- Sam Wyche (Bucs) 1992-95: 5-11/5-11/6-10/7-9
- Joe Bugel (Cardinals) 1990-93: 5-11/4-12/4-12/7-9
- Lou Saban (Broncos) 1967-71: 3-11/5-9/5-8-1/5-8-1 (fired in ’71, during a 4-9-1 year)
- Jeff Fisher (Rams) 2012-16: 7-8-1/7-9/6-10/7-9/4-7
- David Shula (Bengals) 1992-95: 5-11/3-13/3-13/7-9 (fired in ’96, after which Bengals rallied for a 8-8 season)
— The thing is, Fisher may already have a contract extension with the Rams, no one knows. He would be the only NFL coach in the last 50 years to start off with five consecutive losing seasons with a team and be offered a sixth year with the same team.
Coach Fisher has been an NFL head coach for 22 years, has been in the playoffs exactly six times. The ultimate irony is that his best year with the Tennessee Titans ended with a Super Bowl loss……to the Rams.
— Then there is this: I go back a little further, to 1960 and do the search again. Look for a coach who started his tenure with five consecutive losing seasons, was retained and wound up doing really well. It actually has happened……once and yes, you’ve heard of the guy.
Ever hear of Tom Landry?
Here are the Cowboys’ records their first five years as an NFL team:
Despite five straight losing years, Landry was not fired, he was retained; Dallas went 7-7 in 1965 and in the seven years after that, they went 83-27-2 and split two Super Bowl appearances.
I know what you’re thinking: Dallas was an expansion team, but in a lot of ways, it is easier to build from scratch than it is to clean up a mess and then build a winner.
— Am I comparing Landry and Jeff Fisher? Not really, but I am saying that the only time in modern NFL history this scenario has played out, it worked out very well for the team that didn’t fire the coach. Stability has its advantages.
Rams just moved to a new city; they have a young QB who they finally let on the field and the kid looks like he can play a little. They have a really good defense and decent special teams.
I’d check with Norv Turner to see if he was interested in being OC and helping Goff turn into a quality QB, the way he did with Troy Aikman.
— I think way too much about this and still I don’t have a concrete opinion on what owner Stan Kroenke should do, but I do firmly believe he should keep GM Les Snead, who drafted Goff, Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley the last three years. Do not fire Les Snead.
This is a billion dollar franchise with a beautiful new stadium being built for the 2019 season; lot of money hangs in the balance. I hope the hell they make the right decision, whatever it is.
No matter what, I’ll still sit there on Sundays and root like hell for the Rams; if that makes me a damn fool, then so be it.