Bud Adams’ support of Vince Young is not the hottest story surrounding the Tennessee Titans.
Peter King did not mention Young or use the phrase “Bud Adams’ boy toy” in today’s “Monday Morning Quarterback.” King, along with the majority of NFL observers, questioned Titans head coach Jeff Fisher’s decision to sit kicker Rob Bironas and go for it on fourth down during Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans.
Fisher’s decision was exceptionally curious, so much so that reporters and fans aren’t letting him slide off the hook. Some fans have speculated that a conspiracy is afoot — Fisher allowed the Titans to lose on purpose.
I have a name for the Fisher controversy: Windgate.
Some might ask: why is this such a big deal? Fisher made a decision not to kick into a strong wind. Get over it.
ESPN blogger Paul Kuharsky wrote a lengthy article about the game. This sentence captures the heart of the skepticism among Titans fans:
It seems incredibly unnatural for a team that’s lived by the field goal for its coach’s entire career to have died by a fourth-down pass.
“Field Goal Fisher” was not true to his reputation, and his decision seems bizarre, regardless of the circumstances.
Was the wind a factor in Reliant Stadium on Sunday? I asked the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain, who said:
Jeff Fisher said the wind was the factor. He said he watched Bironas in pregame, and the 50-yard field goal was 5 yards out of his range into the wind.
I’m guessing McClain is trying to remain objective. However, I detect a hint of sarcasm in the photo caption adjacent to McClain’s story about Fisher’s decision.
Kuharsky, formerly a reporter for the Tennessean, said this about the kick that wasn’t:
I say Bironas had a 65 percent chance of making it. Knock 10 or 15 points off that if you like, it’s still better odds than Collins was providing on an afternoon with a .454 completion percentage, don’t you think?
Yes, I think. Kerry Collins had been overthrowing receivers all day.
Perhaps the wind was a factor.
What did Rob Bironas say about the situation? Here’s an exchange between Bironas and Tennessean commentator Joe Biddle:
I asked Bironas if he was under the impression he was going to kick it.
“I was on the field,” he said.
Was the wind a problem?
“There was a little bit.”
Was it enough not to kick?
“I don’t know. It was a coaches’ decision … a coaches’ decision.”
Would you have liked to try it?
“I was on the field.”
“I was on the field.” Sounds like a guy who’s ready and willling to kick a field goal.
So what’s the bottom line? Fisher made the call on fourth-and-3 and subsequently took blame for the loss. The Titans are 12-2 and stumbling to the playoffs.
It’s absurd to assume a coach would choose to put his team in a position to lose. However, “Windgate” will linger in the minds of Titans fans for some time, especially if the Titans lose to the Steelers next Sunday and fail to earn home field advantage throughout the playoffs.