Despite denials, the Jeff Fisher Leverage Game is real

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On Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Jeff Fisher isn’t leveraging the Dolphins against the Rams, and that neither team has made Fisher an offer.

Schefter elaborated on the situation during an appearance with Sid Rosenberg on WQAM radio.  Although Schefter continues to insist that no financial offers have been made (and we continue to insist that’s ludicrous), it’s clear that leverage is being exercised in other ways.

“Jeff Fisher is trying to make sure that the situation is exactly the way that he wants it,” Schefter said.  “OK, that the organization lays out the travel, the trainers, the chiropractors, the budgets, the payrolls.  I mean, there’s a lot that goes into this, OK?  And he’s trying to sew this up with both sides.”

In other words, Fisher is . . . wait for it . . . exerting leverage.

But Schefter insists Fisher isn’t exerting leverage:  “This is 100 percent, and trust me I’ve spoken to enough people on this to know, not a leverage play, not a power play, not anything.  It’s making sure when you’re in the position that he is to get the situation exactly the way you want it to be.”

Adam, we love you, but that’s the very definition of a leverage play.  Even if no financial offers have been made, Fisher is pitting the two teams against each other in order to get what Fisher wants as to issues like, as summarized by Schefter:  “Who’s got final authority?  Who makes decisions?  How does this work?  Who gets final decision on draft day?  Who gets final decision on the 53-man roster?”

After being badgered for several minutes by Rosenberg (in only the way that Rosenberg can), Schefter acknowledges (perhaps unwittingly) that, indeed, this is a leverage game:  “He’s got leverage in the sense that he can create things the way that he’d like them to be.”


And that’s the bottom line.  It is a leverage game.  Fisher wants things his way.  And he’s pitting the Rams against the Dolphins to get things his way — “exactly” his way, as Schefter says.

Even if no offers will be made until Fisher completely gives up his leverage by telling one team to make like a tree and get out of here and then tells the other team to pay him whatever the winner chooses to pay him (which gets more ludicrous the more I think about it), the fact remains that Fisher is playing a leverage game between the two teams.  Even Schefter, who in one breath denies it, can’t ultimately disagree with that reality.

72 responses to “Despite denials, the Jeff Fisher Leverage Game is real

  1. Who cares? Fischer is able to handle negotiations any way that he wants. If you have the ability to exert leverage to get yourself in a situation where you have the best chance to succeed, then you’re crazy if you don’t do that.

    It seems like the Rams job is a better job, just not the glamorous one. Got a young QB who has franchise potential, one of the best running backs in the league, some young talent on D, and the number 2 pick in the draft. The Rams aren’t as sexy as the Dolphins but it’s a better job with a team in a weaker division year in and year out. That creates more opportunity for success.

  2. I’m a Rams fan and am getting totally sick of this. I think we should move on and take a look at the the offensive guys from denver, N.O., and Carolina. I say we stop Fisher at the 1 yard line AGAIN. Go Rams!

  3. Love the Back to the Future reference!!

    And this is all silly anyway. Jeff Fisher is the next coach of the Indianapolis Colts…

  4. Football fans are INSANELY inpatient. If we learned nothing last summer it was that. “I’ll never watched football again!” posted God knows how many people who are still posting…which is odd, since they skipped the entire season, isn’t it?

    Do you really think either of these billionaire owners got to BE billionaire owners by making fast, rash decisions? I’m sure these discussions are like a thousand they’ve had before in hundreds of various deals. And I’m sure they’ve both been in situations where they were up against another company in an attempt to gain an asset. And, clearly, neither lost their shirts. (Serious, both those dudes wear some nice shirts.)

    The only reason it SEEMS to be egregious is the very nature of the site. If it twitches…IT’S NEWS!

    It’ll be news when he decides. Until then, it’s just a perspective employee and two potential employers…two billionaires and one (potential) asset.

  5. if this was Cowher I could understand it,but Fisher?Hes a good coach but not an elite coach like he must think he is.

  6. I don’t understand how not one, but two NFL franchises are letting a mediocre coach with an EXTREMELY average resume play games with them like this.

    If I were running one of these teams, I would call his agent, remind him that he is not, in fact, representing the reincarnated Vince Lombardi, and tell him his client has until close of business TODAY to commit to them.

    Of course, maybe I’m not the one to ask, because I would never have even considered Fisher given what he is asking for.

  7. Would be great if both teams come out and have hired someone else. Quit playing games and Dolphins and Rams quit having someone play games with you. Either they like the situation (players, conference) or they don’t. Fisher get off the pot and be and adult about it.

  8. I think what Schefter means is that he’s not trying to use his leverage to extort the two clubs, but just to make sure he chooses the best possible situation.

  9. Please Miami just give Chduzinski an interview. If you were willing to talk to Mularky then talk to Chud.

    We’re talking a plane ticket and a hotel room if he isn’t in town already visiting family.

    Hell I’ll pay for the ride and the bed. All I want is an initial conversation to see what develops.

  10. He wants to make sure on draft day. When the dolphins are somehow in position to draft a qb. Jeff ireland cant come up and say “ya know we should really think about drafting a lineman with this one”

  11. Knowing Fisher’s agent is the father of the Ram’s football ops President (hello conflict of interest!!), I would not even consider Fisher for my team unless I knew the Rams had already hired a new head coach-and he was not named Jeff Fisher.

    The Dolphins must know that they are being played for saps in this whole thing right?

  12. Curious that the last 7 Fischer headlines have been focused on this “leverage” concept as if it’s wrong or terrible. This is business’s – wake up, just as any of us want the best job, with the best salary and beneath and the most security – so does Fisher

    So tired of the whining press trying to make people out as evil – just because they are securing their family. He earned the right to be in this position – stop inferring like it’s Occupy-NFL, and he should be working for peanuts

  13. wow, can he be decisive in what he wants and move on…geez, let it go fisher…need me to help you, I flipped a coin and miami wins toss…go there! haha

  14. there isn’t a reader of these comments that wouldn’t “exert leverage” to have the best chance for success if they had the opportunity…this is the free market American way

  15. The news is saying Fisher is in negotiations with multiple teams due to his preferred Tebow style offense. This is per a source with knowledge of the situation of course.

  16. Is it just me, or are we talking way too much about a coach who hasn’t won anything. If these teams strive for mediocrity, then Jeff Fisher is the perfect fit.

  17. And the soap operas in the NFL go on and on and on and on and ………… Tiresome and childish.

  18. IF…. IF in the beginning Fisher really desired the Chargers HC job if it came open having ties in that area then MAYBE he is hoping for a shot at the Raiders HC position!…. Their are several ex-HC that just want another opportunity at a HC position and Fisher doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to seize his opportunity.

  19. I would take less money and go to Miami. There’s always the extra benefit of women running around in bikini’s year round.

  20. You guys have stated that Fisher is pitting the two teams against each other and called it a leverage game. This is not what appears to be happening. All those minor details would need to be ironed out if there was only one team involved. The only “leverage” he has is that the teams want him as their coach. If he was going back and forth saying “the Dolphins are giving me this so what can you do?” then I would say there is a game being played using the two teams against each other. Nobody has proven or even speculated that is the case. I still think he is simply buying time in the hopes a “better coaching situation” arises.

  21. At least he can’t blame it on anyone else when he fails to deliver for whichever team wins this leverage game. Personally, I wouldn’t want a coach that’s 50/50 split between 2 teams. It’s not like he’s got multiple super bowl rings or anything.

  22. “Even if no offers will be made until Fisher …”

    Wait, what??!! Yesterday you blasted Schefter for reporting no offer was made (even though that wasn’t what he said). You said, “Obviously, it’s not true.” You also said that by reporting no offer was made, Schefter was passing along a flimsy and illogical report without scrutiny. Now, you’re also reporting that no offer was made?

    You’re obviously right that “telling one team to make like a tree and get out of here and then tell[ing] the other team to pay him whatever the winner chooses to pay him” is ludicrous because it is. But you’re the only one who dreamed up this ludicrous scenario. And it’s inconsistent with your premise.

    If Fisher tells the Rams “no” because he wants to coach the Dolphins and only then begins negotiations with the Dolphins, he would have no leverage as he’s already turned down the Rams. And that’s not what he is doing anyway as any rational person would understand. He’s got a choice to make between two teams, each with its pros and cons and he’s trying to make the best decision for himself where the situation is the best. So what?

    This should be embarrassing to NBC, but probably isn’t.

  23. Fisher is ultimately responsible for his own actions. Therefore, he HAS TO make sure all things are in place. If he didn’t, PFT would be the first to rail him about that after the fact. Fisher is not doing anything the rest of us wouldn’t do in the same position.

  24. So, what’s wrong with Fisher “leveraging” here? You LOVE that word, don’t you?

    Look, Jeff Fisher is, in my opinion, the best NFL coach, second only to the great Lombardi. It’s not his fault he toiled under an idiot owner in Houston, then Tennessee. Whoever ends up with him as their head coach, and with his successful “leveraging” to prevent himself from working for another idiot, (meaning control of the team), that team will win championships.

  25. Not sure if this was pointed out, but having leverage doesn’t necessarily mean playing your leverage. Jeff Fisher obviously has some leverage and wants to check his options, but again there is absolutely no proof that he is intentionaly playin one organization against the other. If there is a game of leverage being played here, it clearly is created via the two groups, not Fisher.

  26. Maybe Fisher is waiting for one team to give him a time limit or gives up and moves on. That way he doesn’t have to make a choice and can spin his decision as to say the team made it’s decision or showed unwillingness to provide him the time needed to make the decision. Truth is he’s stalling waiting for one team to make his decision for him that way that owner looks to blame. Watch, he’ll go to either team by default when one owner steps up and has enough balls to say S@$& or got off the pot.

  27. Fisher is the only available HC with a championship on his resume. With those credentials Fisher interviews the teams, not the other way around. The hiring process looks like this: Fisher picks his team, notifies the owner what the terms are, and the owner says yes.

  28. Who cares? He’s not punching babies or stealing sandwiches from poor people. He’s trying to avoid another crap situation like in TN where his owner forced a terrible QB on him and meddles in other areas he has no business touching. I don’t blame him at all, especially if neither team has offered him anything yet.

  29. It looks to me like he knows where he wants to go, but isn’t getting the perfect response back from that team in regards to his demands. At this point, I’d be looking elsewhere if I were the Rams and Dolphins. While Fisher has experience and would provide stability as a “safe” choice, he’s proven to deliver mediocre results in the past.

  30. Why does every move the Dolphins make have to turn into a complete circus! Its so embarrassing to watch all this play out. Every time this owner is put in the spotlight he just fails miserably. And the sad part about it is I’m not sure he realizes what the hell he’s doing or how bad these situations make him look. I mean the fact that they are even waiting around for this guy is a joke in itself. Move on! You are getting played by a mediocre coach who has done very little in this league.

  31. Who takes a job w/o wanting the tools to succeed to the highest level? After his experience w the Oilers & Titans, this is prudent decision making. He clearly wants to succeed & doesn’t want an owner/GM dictating foolish decisions or moving a team & dealing w those hassles. These issues have impacted his coaching resume & he wants them rectified before going forward.
    As Parcels said “They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries. “

  32. You know what has he really done to hold two teams hostage as such…i’d really love to see them hire someone else for their HC…I mean who does he think he is Vince Lombardi???

  33. I’ve never seen someone so proud of themselves for “uncovering” something so obvious.

    An individual in demand by 2 organizations is trying to get the best deal for himself.

    Go figure.

    How is this a “game” and better yet why are you so hung up on this?

  34. Plus playing this leverage game gives Fisher more time to see what the Colts are going to do about their HC.

  35. Yes… and no.

    Only an idiot would NOT use whatever leverage he has to get the best conditions of employment he can.

    But there’s a big difference between exerting leverage to get the best working conditions of the type you describe here (all of which are directly related to the ability to succeed as a head coach) and simply doing it for greed for more money.

    So yeah, it’s a leverage game. But it’s not (yet, at least) a purely monetary leverage game. And it’s perfectly legitimate for Fisher to play this one, while most of us would really question him to be playing the other in this current economy.

  36. Meanwhile somewhere in Miami Stephen Ross is scratching his head saying ‘Oh duh, I never done this whole Coaching hire thing. Duhh I just pick up the phone now and call Carl.’

  37. All along, the PFT and other media reporting on this has left the distinct impression — whether deliberately implied or likely to be inferred — that what Fisher was doing in playing the two teams off of one another was trying to squeeze out the biggest salary for himself.

    Instead, Schefter is trying to clarify that it’s more about trying to avoid the headaches he’s had to deal with in his last job, like the most recent time he wanted to take a rebuilding roster away to training camp on a college campus to help with bonding/building comraderie…and Bud Adams nixed it because of the 6-figure cost. (Nickels and dimes, in NFL terms.)

    Or losing out on a potential coordinator hire because the owner’s hiring rules precluded letting them bring their son with them as an assistant.

    Sure, it’s a type of leverage. It would (or should) be for any experienced candidate who has past experience with all the administrative overhead that comes with an NFL head coaching job, and knows the pitfalls.

    But if Schefter’s sources are good, then it’s not about lining his own pockets, either. Which is worth noting, don’t you think?

  38. cardiovascularendurance says:
    Jan 13, 2012 11:14 AM
    You know, sometimes you guys are a bunch of highly irritating pip-squeaks.

    Hold on a minute.

    Pipsqueak isn’t one word?

  39. pskotte says:
    Jan 13, 2012 11:30 AM
    Fisher is the only available HC with a championship on his resume. With those credentials Fisher interviews the teams, not the other way around. The hiring process looks like this: Fisher picks his team, notifies the owner what the terms are, and the owner says yes.

    Ummmm…………..which championship would you be referring to? A conference championship? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every Super Bowl and I don’t remember the one he won.

    Even if you weren’t wrong about him winning a championship, you would still be wrong about him being the only candidate that has.

    Ever heard of Brian Billick?

    I personally think Fisher is trying to determine which team has the WORST people in charge of personnel so that he can carry on his 17 year tradition of blaming his losing on not having good enough players.

  40. lastl00 says:
    Jan 13, 2012 10:53 AM
    I’m a Rams fan and am getting totally sick of this. I think we should move on and take a look at the the offensive guys from denver, N.O., and Carolina. I say we stop Fisher at the 1 yard line AGAIN. Go Rams!

    * * * *

    Good post, lastl00.

    # # # # # # # # #

    Ekim Oirolf, why is this such a big deal to you? You strike me as more and more anti-capitalist every day, which is fine if that’s your cup of tea. But to suggest so adamantly and frequently that Fisher is up to no good? Get off your high horse, Comrade.

  41. Personally i think Fisher is leveraging the Dolphins. I think the Rams offered a better deal, but Fisher knows the Dolphins have a better chance of winning faster, which is a must nowadays for a coach to keep his job. The Rams are a mess. They won 11 games in 3 years in the worst division in football. Bradford is no longer a lock for a franchise QB. Stephen Jackson is now one year older as a RB. That young defense got burned regularly. No Oline to speak of. And the worst passing offense in the league (receivers are to blame plenty here). The Dolphins have a great defense that really came on the second half of the season. They showed Bush and Thomas (when healthy) are a strong running combo and Chad Henne is a good QB if he stays healthy. A lot more likely to be successful in the short term in Miami in my opinion.

  42. I dont know why you’re going all out trying to discredit Adam Schefter, considering you get 90% of your “news” off of his twitter feed. While you guys are busy twisting words and engaging in trivial futility this guy is on the phone talking to actual people in the league, you know, getting actual information. You better play nice before he bans you from his Twitter page.

  43. I am just glad that someone is finally calling this out for what it truly is. Most other sports reporters are being used as errand boys. They should be reporting politics. They don’t even question the validity of the statements given to them. Hell I could do this type of reporting and i am willing for half the salaries these ragdolls are making.

  44. test2402 says:
    Jan 13, 2012 11:06 AM
    Must be nice, playing games with people. Fisher should try playing a real game, the way Tim Tebow plays.

    I’m convinced PFT has a thing for this Tebow- loving Turd. They wont allow for legit posts but everytime this moron types it makes it on here

  45. Who can blame the guy for making sure he is in the right position to win. Too many coaches sign a contract in order to become a head coach for the first time without knowing whats in store for them long term. A coach like Fisher that has been in the league for so long knows that there is more to it than X’ n O’s. He has not made a single public comment during his “leverage” game so how can you call him a diva. Would you prefer to have Hue Jackson?

  46. I wonder if suddenly a truly great coach like Belichick became available what kind of insane things he could get away with a prospective owner.

  47. musiccitymiracle says:Jan 13, 2012 10:52 AM

    It would be so beautiful if both teams told Fisher to go to hell after all his diva-like dithering.

    That’s highly unlikely. We are talking about the Dolphins. Arn’t they owned by divas themselves. J.Lo. Williams Sisters. My Favorite Fergie. And the biggest diva there is in Marc Anthony

  48. If Miami waits much longer and Fisher goes with the Rams, there will be no other coaches to sign because they will be already signed with other teams. Both Miami and the Rams need to give Fisher a deadline of 5PM today so the loser can have a chance to sign someone else.

    If it is taking Fisher this long to make up his mind about the job, what is he going to do when the team is on the 30 yd line, 4th and 1, down 3 points with 2 minutes to go. What’s the play coach? Ya got 30 sec to make up your mind.

  49. pskotte says: Jan 13, 2012 11:30 AM

    Fisher is the only available HC with a championship on his resume. With those credentials Fisher interviews the teams, not the other way around. The hiring process looks like this: Fisher picks his team, notifies the owner what the terms are, and the owner says yes.

    Really? What about Brian Billick? I seem to recall that he led a team that won the Super Bowl. Amazed he’s not getting HC interviews. He’d be superb in Indianapolis, St Louis, or Miami; maybe Oakland, too.

    Jeff Fisher is like Andy Reid – -an above-average, competent coach. I don’t necessarily think he’s the guy that brings you the Lombardi trophy but he is competent. Yes who ever hires him — if anyone hires him — will be overpaying. I happen to think that Indianapolis would be an excellent job for him. I consider Marty Schottenheimer a championship coach as he took teams to the AFC Championship several times, and frankly think he best coaching job was with the Redskins. I would not mind seeing Jim Mora, Sr., back and maybe even in Indianapolis…

    Look at it this way, too: Fisher, like the Ryan brothers, are from the Buddy Ryan tree. Fisher has been the most successful of that tree, even if that’s been marginal at best. Someone needs to assess that when looking at Rex Ryan specifically and his salience to be a HC. Personally, the controversy with the jets these days turning on each other tells me the coach doesn’t have control of the locker room and that’s reason number one to give the coach his papers…

    What’s been obvious in the past week is the spin from “reporters” is all about their own “leverage” in terms of reporting. It’s getting a little annoying, fellas. Just want for the event and report on that.

  50. If all this is true, the Rams and Dolphins are fools. Fisher isn’t good enough for all this drama.

  51. The Rams Bradford has no fire and appears to be quite brittle. Great person but i throw him in with Sanchez. So if Jeff Fisher can get stronger control with the draft, then choose Miami and pick one of the young guns himself. This time next year will make or break Bradford.

  52. Mike, you’re being disingenuous. When you use the term “leverage play”, you’re talking about Fisher pitting the teams against each other. Schefter is saying that he’s not doing that, he’s simply trying to get the conditions he wants from both teams.

    In other words, yes, Fisher is using leverage in the sense that he wants St Louis to agree to his terms before he accepts. He’s also using leverage in the sense that he wants Miami to agree to his terms before he accepts. He’s not “making a leverage play” by saying “well Miami, St. Louis is offering a better deal, so what can you do to better it” which is what you’re talking about.

    Pick your definition of “leverage game” and stick with it. You can’t have it both ways.

  53. If I was Fisher I would be doing the same thing asking about who has responsibility for what, and get it in writing. Especially with Ross.

    If he went to Tampa, he wouldn’t even get to sign his own OC & DC. He would be told here they are, deal with it.

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