Heaven Help Us, Jeff Fisher Might Return To Coaching

Jeff Fisher has not patrolled a sideline since his dismissal from the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. We may see him very soon, however. Multiple reports have named him as a candidate for a vacant head coaching position at, of all places, FBS school Montana State.

Guess who’s back?

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Fisher has given one clue to his whereabouts. On Saturday night, he tweeted a photo of a snow-covered city, presumably taken from a plane. According to FootballScoop, that city is Bozeman, Mont., where Montana State University is located.

If Fisher did get the job at Montana State, it would be his first-ever coaching experience in the college ranks. His resume so far is entirely comprised of work in the NFL.

Jeff Fisher’s abridged resume

Former NFL head coach Jeff Fisher
Head coach Jeff Fisher of the Los Angeles Rams looks on during a game against the New England Patriots in 2016 | Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

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Fisher’s head coaching career in the NFL began with the Houston Oilers. He ascended to interim head coach midway through a disastrous 1994 season and kept the role permanently for 1995. After they finally settled in their permanent home of Nashville, Fisher led the franchise through their longest sustained run of success in their history.

From 1999 to 2003, the newly-renamed Titans reached the playoffs in four of those five seasons, winning two division titles. In the first of those seasons, they reached Super Bowl XXXIV, famously losing that game to the St. Louis Rams in heartbreaking fashion. After a three-year hiatus from the playoffs, Vince Young led them back for a two-year stretch in 2007 and 2008, finishing as the top seed in the AFC in the latter season. However, they failed to win a playoff game in either of those seasons.

Fisher’s time with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams was nowhere near as successful. In five seasons with the team, he failed to lead them to a winning record. After another disappointing finish in 2016, Los Angeles did away with Fisher and brought in Sean McVay. Fisher has been out of coaching ever since.

Although he ended his career with a winning record of 173-165-1, he is tied with Dan Reeves for most losses by an NFL head coach.

Why Montana State?

Montana State may not seem like an attractive destination at first glance. However, it is one of the stronger football programs in the FCS. In five of the last ten seasons, the Bobcats have reached the FCS playoff tournament, reaching the semifinals in 2019 under head coach Jeff Choate. The position is vacant because Choate is leaving Montana State to become the defensive coordinator with the Texas Longhorns.

Fisher has a surprising amount of competition for the Bobcats’ head coaching position. Also in the mix, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, are Nebraska offensive coordinator Mike Lubick, former San Diego Chargers head coach Mike Riley (currently offensive coordinator for the XFL’s Seattle Dragons) and Oklahoma State running backs/tight ends coach Jason McEndoo.