Some observers say it was a joke, and those of us who don”t get it need to get a life.
But an article by Reed Kerr has forced me to think a little deeper about Fisher. Here”s a key quote:
Let me try and get this straight. Jeff Fisher is the longest tenured coach in the NFL. That means he knows how things work.
Let’s put fan opinion to the side for a moment. Jeff Fisher is not stupid. He knows his teammates look to him as a leader. As the saying goes, teams reflect the personality of the head coach.
Introducing Tony Dungy at a fundraiser did not require Fisher to put on an Indianapolis Colts jersey. He could have honored Dungy and contributed to the event without the theatrics.
Fisher had to know some of his players would not think it was cool to wear the jersey of the team that handed you the fifth loss of your season. Here’s LenDale White’s reaction to the incident (source: Nashville City Paper):
“I hate UCLA. We [former USC Trojans] hate UCLA and we hate Notre Dame. You will never, I don’t care if Joe Montana paid me, I’m not putting that Notre Dame jersey on.”
When asked specifically for an opinion on his coach, White said, “No comment.” (see video)
And Fisher certainly did not have to say “I just wanted to feel like a winner.” Additionally, Fisher apologized if he offended anyone, but said he’d do it again and that offended fans need to reexamine themselves.
This in Fisher’s attitude toward fans aftermath of the Titans’ embarrassing 59-0 beatdown at the hands of the Patriots.
Here’s the bottom line: this is not only about “Jerseygate.” Losing a game 59-0 indicts the coaching staff along with the players. Fisher, Mike Heimerdinger and Chuck Cecil did not do enough to put the players in a position to succeed in New England.
So the Titans 0-6 start, owner Bud Adams displeasure with the team and support of Vince Young (who as of today, Fisher refuses to utilize in any fashion), and the jersey incident has many diehard fans more than a little miffed.
I’m starting to wonder, along with Reed Kerr, if Jeff Fisher is sabotaging the season and his public perception in order to be fired at the end of the season.