Jeff Fisher became a joke after the Rams fired him in 2016, but he deserves legitimate credit for putting Super Bowl pieces in place.
One of the key architects of the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl run won’t be on the sideline in Atlanta, he’ll be in a remote part of Tennessee.
Jeff Fisher is infamous for his ‘7-9 bullshit’ and his mediocre coaching record, the jokes write themselves. But as easy as it is to rag on him for not doing anything with the talent we now know the Rams have, he was instrumental in the construction of building a winner.
If Fisher wasn’t able to coach the Rams to the Super Bowl, he was certainly able to put together a team capable of getting there.
Like it or not, of the players heading to the Super Bowl for Los Angeles, 18 were drafted, signed, or traded for by Fisher. In his five years with the team, Fisher’s draft classes produced 12 starters (which accounts for roughly half of the starting roster) and 16 Pro Bowl selections.
Not too shabby.
The three pillars of Los Angeles’ identity — Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Aaron Donald — were all Fisher picks. Over half of the starters on the Rams ferocious defense were put in place by him as well, including two undrafted free agents who ascended to starting roles.
Speaking of UDFA’s, Fisher was meticulous in seeing talent in guys no one else in the league wanted. Cory Littleton was cast aside by 31 other teams, but Eric Dickerson’s favorite head coach brought him in and he’s now a Pro Bowl starting linebacker. Matt Longacre went undrafted in 2015, and three years later is going to be starting in the middle of one of the league’s best defenses when it takes the field at the Super Bowl.
Fisher was also involved with bringing in Greg Zuerlein and Johnny Hekker, perhaps the best special teams tandem in the league. Above that, he was instrumental in the hiring of John Fassel to run it all. Pure brilliance.
Was this all the work of Rams General Manager Les Snead and not Fisher? Probably.
Does it matter? Not really.
Is the idea of Fisher getting any ounce of credit for this Super Bowl run going to piss a lot of people off?
It’s undeniable that Sean McVay crafted his team using a lot of the tools Fisher left behind for him.
If the Rams win the Super Bowl, having Dickerson personally deliver a ring to Jeff Fisher is the least the team can do.