Jeff Fisher responds to criticism from Rodney Harrison

AP

After Sunday’s game against the Rams, which included a knockout blow to Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer threw a dart or two at St. Louis defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Later that night, Rodney Harrison of NBC’s Football Night in America aimed a level higher.

“I wasn’t surprised because it happened to me in 2006,” Harrison said. “[Titans receiver] Bobby Wade came and chopped my knees and tore my knee up. I’m lying on the ground, and I look at Jeff Fisher and he’s smiling and laughing. So this is typical of Jeff Fisher-type teams.”

It wasn’t the first time Harrison said this; in a 2009 appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Harrison made the same comments.

Six years ago, Fisher didn’t respond. This time, he did.

“I don’t want to say I took things personal, but it was kind of a personal attack on me,” Fisher told reporters on Monday. “I think you have to consider the source. . . . You’re talking about a guy that had a great career. I mean, the guy played a long time. He was hard to defend. He was a really active defensive player. But this is coming from a guy that had 18 unnecessary roughness penalties, seven personal fouls, four roughing the passer penalties, a total of 77 penalties in his career and was voted three times the dirtiest player in the National Football League and was suspended for a hit, a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jerry Rice in 2002. Okay? This is where these comments are coming from. I’ll just say this: Since 2000, it’s been a privilege and honor for me to be on the Competition Committee. Our main focus, as you guys have followed this league for a long time know, our main focus is player safety. So, for Rodney to come out and say that I did something like that is absolutely absurd. So, that’s all I have to say on that.”

Fisher separately was asked whether it bothers him that his teams have been called dirty or chippy.

“I haven’t heard that,” Fisher said. “So, we are going to play fast. We are going to physical and we’re going to play furious and we’re going to play contact football. Okay?”

But the charge of dirty and/or chippy play isn’t new. In 2012, when Fisher became coach of the Rams, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via an assist from Mike Sando of ESPN.com) pointed out that, from 2001 to 2010, the Titans: (1) led the NFL in most personal fouls with 163; (2) had 67 unnecessary roughness penalties, leading the NFL; and (3) had 46 roughing the passer penalties, leading the NFL. More recently, Miklasz combined the full Houston/Tennessee years with Fisher’s Rams teams and concluded that Fisher’s teams had 236 more penalties than their opponents, 1,937 more penalty yards than their opponents, 116 fewer first downs via penalties than their opponents.

Last year, Giants linebacker Jameel McClain dubbed the Rams a “dirty ass team” after a fight that broke out following a late hit from St. Louis linebacker Alec Ogletree on New York receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

So it’s hardly the first time someone has called out a Fisher-coached team. It’s also not the first time someone has taken direct aim at Fisher.

In 2007, former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman suffered a sprained knee on what he dubbed a “cheap shot” from former Titans center Kevin Mawae  and former Titans tackle David Stewart. Merriman said that “several” Chargers players told him Fisher had ordered the hit on Merriman. Reprising the remarks with Colin Cowherd of FOX Sports Radio on Monday, Merriman said that he heard Fisher had ordered the hit from Titans players, too.

On one hand, football is football. Players use raw physicality to achieve results, from overpowering the opponent on a given play to intimidating him on future plays. On the other hand, there’s a line between using force to get results and doing so to inflict injury, especially as the NFL attempts to secure its future by promoting health and safety in a game that is inherently unhealthy and unsafe for those who play it.

The problem is that the recipients of physicality aimed at the former often will perceive it as an effort to accomplish the latter. And it becomes difficult if not impossible to get those inflicting the physicality and those absorbing it to agree regarding the intentions.

102 responses to “Jeff Fisher responds to criticism from Rodney Harrison

  1. So Fisher took the time to look up Rodney Harrison’s career penalty stats, but has never heard anyone say this he or his team is dirty? LIAR.

  2. Rodney Harrison is complaining about someone being dirty? Man, you want to talk about the pot and the kettle… Best just decline to comment on stuff like that if you’re widely regarded as one of the dirtiest ever.

  3. But this is coming from a guy that had 18 unnecessary roughness penalties, seven personal fouls, four roughing the passer penalties, a total of 77 penalties in his career and was voted three times the dirtiest player in the National Football League and was suspended for a hit, a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jerry Rice in 2002. Okay?
    ———–
    That’s like a 3 week total for Brandon Browner these days.
    Rodney Harrison played for 14 years.
    So about
    1.28 unnecessary roughness per year
    0.28 roughing the passer penalties per year
    5.5 penalties per year.

  4. I’ve always thought Fisher’s teams were too aggressive, bordering on dirty. And of course, teams that border on being dirty scream the loudest when they receive hits they think are dirty – like most of the game between the Rams and Panthers in 2013. So I’m certainly no Jeff Fisher fan. And I certainly wasn’t surprised when he hired Guido – er, uh, I mean, Gregg Williams.

    All that being said… Hey, Patriots fans: Would you like to know a top reason why everyone hates your team so much? I can sum it up in two words:

    Rodney
    Harrison

    One of the most dirty, whiny, and hypocritical players to ever put on a uniform.

  5. Follow up question: Jeff, do you think your dirty play covers up for the fact that you’re the most mediocre head coach in NFL history?

  6. Great case laid out for Fisher’s teams being dirtier than most, and in the whole article there was no mention that he hired Gregg Williams as his defensive coordinator. A guy who was suspended for a season because his teams were trying to hurt players!

  7. That this guy runs the Competition Committee says so much about the current state of Roger Goodell’s NFL.

  8. Why is Fisher so hung up on an analyst when the Minnesota coach said at least his team played clean and basically challenged Fisher to a fight him after the game?

  9. Fisher was so condescending toward Zimmer yesterday. Zimmer was completely calm and cool after the game and he’s been around the game for a long time. He knows what’s going on with Fisher’s teams and he doesn’t need to watch the film to know that they were taking cheap shots at his quarterback.

  10. I don’t think Fisher instructs his players to try to injure opponents. But I think he DOES tell them to play through the whistle and hit people as hard as they can, and if they injure someone oh well that’s football. They’re both dirty and this pissing match between two dirty people is hilarious.

  11. Fisher is probably not the best choice to chair the NFL Competition Committee. The League is trying to at least give the appearance of emphasizing player safety. It’s doubtful that’s at the top of his to-do list.

  12. There’s a difference between punching a guy in the face at the bottom of a pile or giving someone a shot a half second after the whistle(RHarrison), and laughing about a player writhing on the ground with a blown out knee. That’s JFischer. I remember it well. They had to hold Bruschi back from going after him. Notice Fischer didn’t deny it, because there’s video. He just tried to turn it around on Harrison. Good coach(though overrated), despicable person.

  13. So basically Jeff Fisher isn’t denying that he showed great enjoyment when Harrison had his knee torn up. The tape doesn’t lie.
    But Fisher says that’s OK because it’s only Rodney Harrison we’re talking about.
    Got it…

  14. In his conscience he knows he coaches dirty methods, in public what is he going to say…yea I coach dirty players…he ultimately has to live with that stigma now and long after he’s gone. It’s just unfortunate that he appears comfortable leaving that legacy.

  15. This clown needs to be gone from the NFL. Dirty team, bad coach, uses his position on the competition committee to change the rules to help his team.

    Also, this is the buffoon who wants to get rid of kickoffs.

    Get him out of the NFL now before he does any more damage to the game.

  16. Jeff Fisher is hurting football. I was frustrated watching the Titans because they play like cheaters who don’t believe they can win following the rules and the Rams are now the same. It is too bad because the Rams have some talented players but Jeff will only ever get them the push after the whistle.

  17. Sounds like Gregg Williams is back to his old tricks again, and Jeff Fisher is his kind of guy.

    I would have liked to have seen that fist fight between Fisher and Zimmer after Sunday’s game. At some point, the league is going to have to step in and just suspend Gregg Williams for good. Obviously, his methods and behavior have not changed. The fact that Fisher is defending this crap and his DC is quite telling.

    Then again, Fisher was stupid enough to go for that two-point conversion after the Rams only TD, and it ended up costing the Rams the game. I’m anxious to see how many late hits Jay Cutler takes this Sunday.

  18. The libs will continue to cry until this game is touch football, because liberals are not man enough to play the sport.

  19. Hey Jeffy, read the article. How do you like your stats thrown in your face? Makes you look like the complete JACK A$$ you really are.

  20. Harrison is right here and good for him for saying something about it. If the Rams got more media coverage, it would be common knowledge.
    Late hits and antagonism are a key component of their game.

  21. As a Rams fan I’ve been holding off on saying it but it’s too obvious that Fisher is not the right guy to coach this team. The Rams commit way too many penalties and those 2 hits on Bridgewater were terrible. The defense is extremely talented and there is no need to let any of this go on. We need to get a coach that promotes good fundamental and physical (within the allowed limits) on both sides of the ball.

  22. .
    Rodney played old school safety. The player he most emulated was Ronnie Lott.

    The Wade hit was particularly egregious. The Titans play called for Wade to go down 10 yards and end the safety’s season. All this took place during the final week of the season when the Patriots were headed to the playoffs and the Titans headed nowhere.

    PS – When will the media call out ” the Teflon Coach” for the overall botch job he did with all the received from Washington in the RG3 trade?
    .

  23. I lived in Nashville until 2010 and started going to Titans games from the moment they stepped foot in Memphis (1997). Yes, Jeff Fisher insisted on an intensely physical team. And not just on defense. (Remember the O-line that blocked for Eddie George all those years?)

    I can honestly say, we Titans fans never considered his approach as being “dirty.” Did we have dirty players? Unfortunately, yes. But those two players, Albert Haynesworth and Pac-man Jones, are the only players I recall Fisher outright berating on the sideline–and in each case, it was because of a dirty hit. I’m proud Jeff Fisher was our coach. And, frankly, I’d love to have him back.

  24. jgedgar70 says:
    Nov 10, 2015 10:44 AM
    I’ve always thought Fisher’s teams were too aggressive, bordering on dirty. And of course, teams that border on being dirty scream the loudest when they receive hits they think are dirty – like most of the game between the Rams and Panthers in 2013. So I’m certainly no Jeff Fisher fan. And I certainly wasn’t surprised when he hired Guido – er, uh, I mean, Gregg Williams.

    All that being said… Hey, Patriots fans: Would you like to know a top reason why everyone hates your team so much? I can sum it up in two words:

    Rodney
    Harrison

    One of the most dirty, whiny, and hypocritical players to ever put on a uniform.
    _____________

    You should look up his penalty stats Pre-Patriots and when he was with them. I bet you won’t change your tune even though there is a significant or even complete drop-off of penalties when he was playing with the Patriots.

  25. Being tough and being dirty aren’t the same thing. Fischer and Williams want tough but have no problem with dirty, just look at the history. Rodney Harrison was a dirty punk and is a lame-ass commentator. I suppose Fischer was just taking delight for the 2007 injury one dirty punk to another.

  26. – 18 unnecessary roughness penalties
    – 7 personal fouls
    – 4 roughing the passer penalties
    – 77 penalties in his career
    – Voted “Dirtiest player in the NFL” three times
    – Suspended for a hit, a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jerry Rice in 2002.

    Looks like the resume of a former player who is most qualified to identify a dirty coach/player.

  27. Fisher is right about Harrison. Just ask Trent Green about his cheap shot taking out Green’s knee. But Fisher is in the same category. He is a mediocre coach who teaches cheap shots to give his team some sort of an edge because he can’t coach up the techniques or tactics to make them real winners. The Rams have real talent and don’t need to resort to below the belt BS to win. Get Fisher out and get a real coach who can teach and lead.

  28. I remember the Charger/Titan game. Merriman had knocked Vince Young down (who was stupidly turning his head around watching the running back). Next two plays the Titans dove at his knees. Second time they tore up his knee. He was never the same player.

    Maybe all those penalty yards is the reason he is a .500 coach for the last 20 years. With his seat on the Competition Committee (seriously, what a joke), he is a corporate syncophant who somehow keeps getting HC jobs.

  29. I always liked him as an ex-Bear and Buddy Ryan disciple. But clearly he is at best a mediocre coach and yes – his teams play dirty. I mean, Greg Williams?? What more needs to be said?

  30. Fishers teams are notouriously dirty. As were his discipline Mr. Gym Shorts. Fisher knows his defense but what has he done since he lost Steve McNair? He had one 13-3 season behind Chris Johnson and thats it. Hes a good coach but an overrated coach (.524 wpct).

  31. And I’ll add this.

    Mr. Fisher– You signed-up for this type of criticism the moment you decided to hire the ring leader of Bounty Gate. So don’t stand there and try to act like you’re surprised at this attention.

  32. I take that to mean Harrison knows a cheap-shot artist when he sees one; so when he says Fisher is one, you would do well to listen.

  33. Fisher may be a dirty coach but Rodney should know better than to say anything about anyone being a dirty player. For the record I loved Rodney as a player…when he was on my team.

  34. Fisher said. “So, we are going to play fast. We are going to physical and we’re going to play furious and we’re going to play contact football. Okay?”

    Amen Fisher. Tell it like it really is.

    Rodney you know what happens when you point a finger at someone. You’ve got 4 pointing right back at you!

  35. “Miklasz combined the full Houston/Tennessee years with Fisher’s Rams teams and concluded that Fisher’s teams had 236 more penalties than their opponents, 1,937 more penalty yards than their opponents, 116 fewer first downs via penalties than their opponents”

    So, over 20 years of coaching, his teams have:

    11.8 penalties/YEAR, 0.7 per GAME more,
    97 penalty yards/YEAR, 6.1 per GAME more
    5.8 fewer first downs/YEAR, 0.4 per GAME

    Sounds to me like statistics used the way a drunk uses a lamp post….for support rather than illumination.

  36. I’m a Broncos fan. We played against Rodney at least a couple times every year. He had a rep as a player who would hit you dirty. We had Romanaski. Tit for tat. I do love to watch Rodney calling out Flo on some of his snarky comments on PFT, though.

  37. When one of the league’s all-time dirtiest players says your team is dirty… it’s dirty.
    Harrison pointing it out is fine, that’s this job and he speaks from a place of expertise.
    Complaining about it, however, is a little hilarious.

  38. I think the Rams play dirty ( Giants punched them back last year and they didnt like it) but Fisher got Rodney pretty good with his response.

  39. clock is ticking on Fisher. Age, lack of success and these allegations will make another job hard to come by. Better start winning real soon or you’ll be put out to pasture.

  40. I actually prefer hard hitting smashmouth defensive football but Fisher’s teams have always been dirty. They walk the line but lack the discipline and willingness to not cross it. One season can be an anomaly but looking at his history you must conclude thatnitnis coached.

  41. The thing is that Fischer’s teams haven’t exactly set the world on fire with his self-described “furious football” have they? You’d think that lack of success would be enough to consider alternative and more successful methods of play.

  42. So basically he goes with the tried and true – I know you are, but what am I? – to fend off the attack…wisely keeping “Sticks and stones may break my bones…” In his back pocket in case things get nasty…

  43. Make no mistake, JEFF FISHER IS A DIRTY HC and a career .500 LOSER!!!

    What is even more amazing is true St Louis Rams fans are supporting this annual loser!!!

    Rams fans, you deserve better than this lousy and dirty coach!!!

  44. The penalty history of any Fisher coached team is obvious. The guys a total scumbag.. I’d love too see Rodney slap him silly!!

  45. Fisher is the architect of Bountygate as well as the most over rated coach in the history of the NFL…writers must be enamored of his sun glasses and goatee because that is about all he has going for him..20 years and six playoff appearances.

  46. This clown needs to get off the competition committee. He had always coachef dirty teams. Look at some of his players.
    Kevin mawae, albert haynesworth, cortland finegan. Just look back at preseason join practices, remember the sucker punch kn dez bryant? The rams and fisher are dirty

  47. sigbouncer says:
    Nov 10, 2015 11:25 AM
    Fisher said. “So, we are going to play fast. We are going to physical and we’re going to play furious and we’re going to play contact football. Okay?”

    Amen Fisher. Tell it like it really is.

    Rodney you know what happens when you point a finger at someone. You’ve got 4 pointing right back at you!..

    And Fisher has a million fingers pointing right back at him

  48. Rodney Harrison was a great player. He was certainly a dirty player early in his career, but apparently grew up and cleaned up his act when he was with the Pats. (Maybe he had a “come to Bill” meeting.) He deserves credit for that.
    Fisher, meanwhile, has coached dirty his whole career. I mean, one of the dirtiest player of all time, Cortland Finnegan, played for him.

  49. Rodney has a rep because he hit hard, not because he took cheap shots. Like the cheap shot he received from Cortland Finnegan to the knee, while he was on Fisher’s team. Fisher’s teams have always been dirty teams.

  50. Rodney Harrison was commenting in his role as a broadcaster, not as a current player. Saying he can’t comment on Fisher’s tactic is like saying Tim Hasselback can’t comment on good quarterbacking because he wasn’t that good. To put it another way, Rodney knows dirty football when he sees it. Let’s just say that he has expertise in that area. Who better to comment on it?

  51. Fisher’s teams play football…not his problem that everyone else is too scared to walk the line!

    …and yes, guys like Rodney need to look in the mirror as everyone who follows football know exactly what kind of player he was. “Seeing the light” when you’re in retirement does not give your opinion any more weight than while you were cheap-shotting guys on the field.

  52. I might be only one now, but i prefer old style physical football, now its called dirty football. i think if a qb leaves a pocket they should become hitable.

  53. I want to see Zimmer and Fisher square off on this one and settle it once and for all. No wait, Fisher and Harrison. No wait………Fisher has a lot of enemies.

  54. Cry me a river, Rodney. Football is a collision sport and lots of players get hurt as a natural consequence of the physical forces at work, nobody targeted you specifically. Maybe Jeff Fisher laughed, maybe he didn’t, maybe he was laughing at something else, maybe he wasn’t; who cares?

  55. So Fisher’s defense against being called “dirty” is to attack Harrison for being dirty???

    Even if he WAS, how does that change whether Fisher’s dirty or not?

  56. “So it’s hardly the first time someone has called out a Fisher-coached team. It’s also not the first time someone has taken direct aim at Fisher.”

    It’s hardly the first time someone has called out, or taken aim at Harrison either. But good that you’re standing up for your co-worker Florio – that’s teamwork!

    Harrison sounds like an ex-smoker whining about second-hand smoke.

  57. The real issue is Rodney talks on TV like he was Pastor Harrison on the football field which he was clearly was not.
    Rodney looks like an ass callin people out like TO when he was suspended for using roids or HGH whatever it was he cheated with.

    Rodney’s charge of an intentional hit being put on him should be address somewhere else & there should be plenty of tape/players to backup what he claims as well any1 else. Bring that to table becuz Rodney claiming hes altar boy on the field & people dive at your knees for no reason is not something any1 believes!

  58. I love how people are saying this is irrelevant because Harrison said it. Fisher has been a dirty coach. He intentionally hires scum bag players. He gave Gregg freaking Williams a job. No one else in the league would do that. He has given Cortland Finnegan jobs despite him being terrible, because he plays football like a dirty player. Janoris Jenkins does too. Ignore how many flags this team has picked up since he became coach, just watch a game. They should be getting players ejected on a weekly basis for the way they play. You can call it physical, i call it dirty. Almost as dirty as fishers porn stache.

  59. Jeff Fisher totally deserves being called out. He’s remained on the NFL competition committee for 15 years? Well there ya go, proof that term limits are a good thing. On the other hand, how the hell did Harrison get hired by NBC? He’s without a doubt the most snarky, unpleasant commentator on Sunday Night Football in America. Can’t stand him.

  60. Rodney is just telling it like it is. In 2006 coach Fisher had Wagner hurt Rodney H, or if he didn’t order it he was at least gloriously happy as he was carted off. Own up to it, coach.

  61. Most overrated coach in the NFL. His teams have always been dirty. He re-hired Gregg Williams, which tells you everything you need to know.

  62. This guy hasn’t won chit in the NFL. He has no class and his teams are dirty. Look at who his current DC, whom Fisher hired. As a coach he is over rated and as a person he is a low class slime ball. Fisher sucks donkey!

  63. Belichick put up a 59 -0 score against the Titans the year after wade tore up Harrison’s knee.

  64. What Fisher really meant to say was: “I just wanna feel like a winner (while wearing a No.18 Broncos jersey).” lol

  65. To all of the Rodney Harrison haters, you don’t know football. Harrison was a great player and he is an excellent analyst. Clearly, he is one of the sharpest and most direct speaking guys covering the NFL. He tells the truth and shames the devil. That’s why Fisher is trying so hard to discredit Harrison.

    Belichick called him and recruited him to come to the Patriots because he understood what a great player Rodney was. I am glad he had a chance to come to the Patriots and win a couple of super bowls. I doubt the team would have won them without him.

    There is one great post above that deconstructs Fisher’s attack on Harrison, showing that the level of penalties he was flagged for were within reason.

  66. So you all so called football fans are saying that Fisher tells his team to play dirty? If you really believe that then you know nothing about the Rams and nothing about football.

    If you watched the game or the so call dirty hit you would see that Joyner was trying to spin off the tackle after committing to tackling Bridgewater. That hit had nothing to do with playing dirty and nothing to do with Fisher.

    And anyone who says he is overrated is clearing not paying attention. There is not one person I know who says he is a good coach, so how in the heck is he overrated!

    GO RAMS! GO FISHER! GO MOB SQUAD!

  67. Rodney Harrison knows all about dirty playing because he was one.
    Just because he’s on the tv now, he thinks he can insult everyone, which is what he does. He’s getting hard to listen to he’s so “perfect” now!!!

  68. Fisher has a point. Rodney Harrison was generally regarded as the league’s dirtiest player when he was active, which obviously never seemed to be a problem for Bill Belichick. But just because Harrison labels Fisher a dirty coach doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Takes one to know one, Jeff.

  69. Who cares how many penalties Harrison was guilty of committing in his career??? Even if he had been flagged 1000 times, does that not mean he isn’t right about what he said about Fisher? These are two separate issues.

    Harrison’s guilt does not mean Fisher is innocent. Far from it.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.