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Nepotism may have greased the skids for Fisher’s exit

Jeff Fisher

Four years ago, the Chargers abruptly fired coach Marty Schottenheimer weeks after the conclusion of a 14-2 regular season that was followed by a one-and-out performance in the playoffs.  The move reportedly occurred after Schottenheimer tried to hire his brother, Kurt, to serve as defensive coordinator.

On Thursday, the Titans abruptly fired coach Jeff Fisher weeks after the conclusion of a mediocre regular season that was followed by no performance in the playoffs for the tenth time in Jeff Fisher’s tenure.  There are reports that the abrupt reversal arose from efforts by Fisher to hire his son, Brandon.

According to Darren McFarland of TitanInsider.com, G.M. Mike Reinfeldt initially approved the move.  Owner Bud Adams reportedly intervened, prohibiting the hiring of Brandon Fisher as part of his general philosophy against hiring family members.

As McFarland explains it, Brandon Fisher worked as a volunteer for the Titans last year, and Jeff Fisher planned to take Brandon to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.  But Fisher reportedly was told Brandon could not attend at the team’s expense, and that he would not be given a position on the Titans’ staff.

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, after initially sharing a quote from Fisher that the suggestion that efforts to hire his son triggered the firing are “bogus,” reported via Twitter that the effort to hire Brandon Fisher was a “point of contention,” and but that it was “just a part of the decision” to part ways.

Still, given that Jeff Fisher didn’t make an appearance at the Senior Bowl this week and given that he was fired during Senior Bowl week, there’s a chance that the “point of contention” also became the catalyst.

Nepotism is in many respects a fact of life in the NFL.  Earlier this week, Tony Sparano hired his son in Miami.  In Washington, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan need not worry much about being fired, since his father, Mike, is the head coach.  In Denver, the brother of former head coach Josh McDaniels served as quarterbacks coach in 2009 and 2010.

The acceptance by some teams of nepotism in the coaching ranks possibly comes from the reality that, at the ownership level, nepotism has become an integral part of the long-term management of the business.  But the spoils of holding equity in the club don’t necessarily extend to the men hired to coach the team, especially in a city like Nashville, where the lengthy list of club officials contained in the Record & Fact Book contains only one person named “Adams.”

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20 Responses to “Nepotism may have greased the skids for Fisher’s exit”
  1. foobarfoofoo says: Jan 28, 2011 6:56 AM

    Fisher acted like an ahole the past two seasons … anybody who saw the 59-0 defeat against New England last season knew the guy was trying to get himself fired.

    I hope he never gets another option in the NFL or in broadcasting.

    Getting paid between 6 and 8 Mio and then neither caring nor trying is just disgusting.

  2. joetoronto says: Jan 28, 2011 6:59 AM

    There’s a reason large companies don’t allow Nepotism, it’s just bad business, plain and simple.

    It shouldn’t be allowed in the NFL, in my opinion.

  3. geauxjay says: Jan 28, 2011 7:01 AM

    Mike Nolan
    Wade Phillips
    the Ryan brothers
    Pat Shurmur
    Jim L. Mora

    I thought you could only get a job in the NFL if your daddy worked for them.

  4. zilla1126 says: Jan 28, 2011 7:08 AM

    Too bad the Colts have no such anti-nepotism rules.

    I’m very concerned about Chris Polian and his influence on the last few bad Colts draft classes.

  5. gridassassin says: Jan 28, 2011 7:12 AM

    Lovie Smith’s kid is on his coaching staff also in Chicago, in some throwaway role.

  6. skoobyfl says: Jan 28, 2011 7:49 AM

    Rex Ryan followed Buddy from ball boy to NY Jets headcoach & has done quite well, I cannot see the problems here if you’re normally successful.

    Father has relative who needs job, they hire them. That’s the american way, to take care of family.

  7. nooittall says: Jan 28, 2011 8:17 AM

    zilla1126 you have no idea how unqualified Little Chrissy Polian is. Wait till this wimp takes over, he doesn’t know if a football is blown up or stuffed. His daddy took advantage of a “diminished” owner to bring baby boy on board and position him to be the next GM. The Colts will be going down quicker than a U-Boat. And you can be sure daddy is trying to position baby boy #2, Brian to take the spot of the runningback coach he just fired. Don’t think for a second that it was Caldwell who fired him.

  8. realitypolice says: Jan 28, 2011 8:22 AM

    I believe Jeff Fisher should retire from coaching and cash in on his phantom reputation as a “great coach” while he still can with a fat network talking head gig.

    Because in truth, Jeff Fisher has been the absolute poster child for coaching mediocrity. If he takes another coaching job and has the same tepid results for an owner who isn’t as loyal/tolerant/forgiving/demented as Bud Adams, he’ll be two years and out.

    He’ll suffer the same fate as another over rated, mediocre coach:

    Think George Seifert in Carolina.

  9. dspyank2k11 says: Jan 28, 2011 8:22 AM

    Bud Adams = Idiot

  10. bringbackmetcalf says: Jan 28, 2011 8:44 AM

    geauxjay,

    Shurmur’s father never worked for the NFL. His uncle did!

  11. NFLJunkie says: Jan 28, 2011 9:01 AM

    Second time I’ve heard this story and it cracks me up. Fisher knew full well he couldn’t hire his son; it was reported a while ago that those “no nepotism” rules Adams has is the reason they didn’t get Gregg Williams back a couple of years ago and went with Cecil as defensive coordinator: Williams wanted to bring in his son Blake (who DID go with him to New Orleans), and Adams said no.

    The only way Fisher’s son is an issue now is if Fisher made the request to prove a point. And if he did, he knew full well how that would go.

  12. joetoronto says: Jan 28, 2011 9:03 AM

    An old Operations Manager of mine hired his cousin to work for us on the dock, loading and unloading trailers, even though he knew it was strictly against the rules.

    His cousin was actually doing a great job and then somebody found out he was related to “the boss”.

    The perception was that he was only hired because he was related, and it created an unnecessary crap storm.

    Perception is reality and all that matters, unfortunately.

  13. obamain2012 says: Jan 28, 2011 9:12 AM

    I believe Coach Belichick has both his sons on the sidelines during games… I don’t think this is a bad thing. How else are you going to spend time with your kids in a job like that?

  14. chrisbinjax says: Jan 28, 2011 9:14 AM

    He’s better off, Tennessee isn’t going any where for a long time….one of the worst qb rosters in the league!

  15. brasho says: Jan 28, 2011 9:29 AM

    t the spoils of holding equity in the club don’t necessarily extend to the men hired to coach the team, especially in a city like Nashville, where the lengthy list of club officials contained in the Record & Fact Book contains only one person named “Adams.”

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    That’s because the old man has outlived all of his family.

  16. efangule says: Jan 28, 2011 9:32 AM

    Still, given that Jeff Fisher didn’t make an appearance at the Senior Bowl this week and given that he was fired during Senior Bowl week, there’s a chance that the “point of contention” also became the catalyst.
    —-
    COMPLETE Speculation.

    You have no proof that this is even a possibility.

    Why don’t you just report the facts and stop trying to turn speculation into fact.

  17. krow101 says: Jan 28, 2011 9:45 AM

    Nepotism is rampant… RAMPANT in corporate America. Don’t kid yourself. The NFL is no different. And yes, like any aristocracy it’s destructive.

  18. toe4 says: Jan 28, 2011 9:46 AM

    In support of the Nepotism is a way of life in the NFL comment:

    It isn’t limited to the coaching staff as many organizations are run like family businesses at the highest level.

    In Indianapolis President Bill Polian is grooming his son, Chris, to replace him and Owner Jim Irsay is grooming his daughter, Casey (married to AJ Foyt IV) to take replace him.

    Irsay has also mentioned that he would stay on as long as this current Peyton Manning run lasted.

  19. cappa662 says: Jan 28, 2011 9:54 AM

    It’s worst in college football i.e. all of the damn Bowdens. The majority of them got their breaks on Bobby’s team, and then have went on to ruin other college programs.

  20. chubz82 says: Jan 28, 2011 10:31 AM

    Man if it wasn’t for nepotism I wouldn’t be able to find a job.

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