The Los Angeles Rams fired coach Jeff Fisher Monday, one day after a 42-14 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons dropped the team’s record to 4-9, and a little over a week after news of his recent contract extension through 2018 was leaked to the media.
The Rams have been a disappointment in their first season back in Los Angeles since 1994, as No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff has struggled at quarterback and the team’s offense has sputtered.
“Making a decision such as this — especially during the season — is one of the most difficult in sports,” Rams owner and Chairman Stan Kroenke said Monday. “I have great respect for Jeff as a coach, person, father and friend.
He has worked tirelessly despite some challenging circumstances. He played an integral role in helping this team make history in returning the NFL to Los Angeles, and we will always be grateful for his commitment and dedication to our organization.
However, this is the right time to make a change as our performance has not lived up to my or our fans’ expectations. We are all focused on improving as an organization and building a team that makes Los Angeles proud. Our mission is to celebrate a Super Bowl title with our fans in Los Angeles. Today is the first step to bringing us closer to that goal.”
Fisher was 31-45-1 since being named Rams head coach in 2012. Prior to that he was the head coach of the Tennessee Titans, taking that team to the Super Bowl after the 1999 season, where they lost — coincidentally — to the St. Louis Rams.
Fisher played college football at USC and later played for the NFL’s Chicago Bears, winning a Super Bowl after the 1985 season.
Special teams coordinator John Fassel was named interim head coach, the team announced, and he’ll have his work cut out for him: The Rams play the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle on Thursday night.
Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff said the cumulative effect of a few recent blowout losses sealed Fisher’s fate.
“When you look at our team having lost eight of the last nine, and some of the performances the past few weeks have been a little more lopsided, and I think that’s what tipped it,” Demoff said at a press conference this afternoon.
Demoff said Fassel was tapped for the interim job with three games left in the season because “the players love him, they have tremendous energy, they play hard for him. I think if you look at our team, our special teams units have been among the best.”
Fisher departs the Rams having tied the NFL record for most career losses by a head coach, joining Dan Reeves with 165 losses after Sunday’s defeat to the Falcons. Fisher’s career record as a head coach in the NFL is 173- 165-1.
— City News Service
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