Everyone in Tennessee remembers the early years of NFL football in Nashville fondly. There was a trip to the Super Bowl, a trip to the AFC championship and multiple playoff appearances on top of that. It looked like the team would be a competitor under Jeff Fisher forever. But surrounding all those playoff and championship game appearances was something that is now known as the Jeff Fisher Paradigm.
Jeff finished 8-8 or 7-9 in 7 of his 14 years as leader of the franchise. Now, you may say that a .500 record most seasons with championship and playoff games sandwiched around is not a bad thing, too that we say, you’re wrong. The franchise was a beacon of mediocrity, not winning a super bowl and also never acquiring a high pick. They were the best of times and they were the worst of times.
Now, you may ask what this has to do with the current Titans team and coach and to that we say, everything. In year one of Coach Js tenure as the HC of the Titans, they finished 8-8. In the first THREE years of Jeff Fishers reign in Tennessee, he finished 8-8. Then magic struck for Fisher as he guided the team to a Super Bowl and 13-3 regular season. Last year, following an 8-8 season, the XCFL Titans finished 10-6 and many in the organization believe they were the best team in the AFC, only losing to the Texans in the playoffs after Bell and Dion Lewis were hurt (on a last second fg).
So, as you can see, the similarities are there. The Titans currently sit at 4-3 after winning three straight. The vibe is eerily similar to year 1, where the Titans started 0-3 only to rattle off 3 wins and then streak their way to a .500 record. Now, the question on everyone’s mind is, are we cursed?
Will we forever wallow in the mediocrity that is Jeff Fishers shadow. Sure, there will be good seasons and yes, there will be bad ones. But will the sting of 8-8 follow us around more often then anything, will we never escape the 15th pick and either a wild card game as the last seed or watching from our couches after barely missing out?
No one has the answer as of now, most see this Tennessee team as potentially the best that they’ve had in years. If the Offense can start clicking, if Mariota throws like he did in the slaughter of the Texans last week and the D starts to force a few more turnovers, you could see this team on the big stage. Or, Jeff’s Paradigm will rear its ugly head and this team will finish, once again, at 8-8.