Titans coach Jeff Fisher understandably wants to move on from his seemingly innocent decision to don a Peyton Manning jersey and poke fun at his team’s 0-6 record by saying, “I just wanted to feel like a winner.”
Plenty of Titans fans don’t see the humor in that moment of self-deprecation, since Fisher arguably wasn’t making fun only of himself, but of the entire franchise.
Though we continue to think it was harmless, we realize that the popularity of the league (and thus the enormous salaries of its players and coaches) flows from the passions of the fans.
So Fisher’s move, regardless of his intent, was received by many as the equivalent of making like Matt Spaeth on an underground nest of yellow jackets.
And the reaction from some of the players won’t help Fisher put this behind him. Said linebacker Keith Bulluck on Wednesday (per the Tennessean), “It didn’t make me laugh at all. But it was for charity. It was for a great cause. He is trying to move the crowd. He is our head coach. He doesn’t have to explain himself. But he
did. If people found it funny, then it’s funny. Of course it didn’t sit
well with everyone, but it doesn’t matter what we think. You know what
The video of other quotes from Bulluck, playing hourly or more often on ESPN’s SportsCenter, reflected an even stronger sense of quiet frustration. And in that same clip package defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch had the demeanor of a hostage reading a message scrawled by his captors while saying, “It wasn’t a big deal amongst the players.”
So, apparently, Fisher has plenty of work to do in order to win back the fans of a team that hasn’t won a single game since four days before Christmas 2008.
To make that happen, Fisher needs one or more of his players to stand up and tell everyone who took offense to the incident to grow up. The fact that it hasn’t occurred yet makes us wonder whether Fisher needs to win back the locker room, too.