clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jeff Fisher fired as Rams head coach

After five seasons with the team, Los Angeles is moving on.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a coaching stint that lasted five years and two cities, Jeff Fisher is done with the Los Angeles Rams, the team announced.

“Making a decision such as this - especially during the season - is one of the most difficult in sports,” Rams owner Stan Kroenke said in a statement 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 always will 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 all are 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.”

Special teams coordinator John Fassel will serve as the team’s interim head coach, as Rams COO Kevin Demoff discussed in a press conference Monday afternoon. He had nothing but glowing things to say about Fassel.

“The players love him, they have tremendous energy, they play hard for him,” Demoff said. “I think if you look at our team, our special teams units have been among the best performing. I think for those of you who watch Hard Knocks, the energy, the excitement the players have for coach Fassel is evident.”

The decision to fire the 58-year-old head coach came after a lackluster return to southern California that was marred by quarterback controversies, multiple losing streaks and a bizarre “he-said, he-said” conflict between Fisher and former Rams Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson. Los Angeles has a record of 4-9 as Fisher failed to lead the Rams to single a winning season during his tenure.

Every NFC West team has earned a division title in the past five seasons except for the Rams.

Sunday’s loss to the Falcons tied Fisher with Dan Reeves for the all-time record for the most ever losses by an NFL head coach, 165 each.

Fisher joined the franchise in 2012 after the team went 2-14 with Steve Spagnuolo at the helm in 2011. His signing followed an intense battle between the Rams and Dolphins to win over the former long-time Titans head coach. He ultimately chose the then-St. Louis based team after reports surfaced that Fisher demanded, and was denied, “complete control” in Miami.

Despite having three former Rookie of the Year winners on his rosters (Sam Bradford, Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley), Fisher was only ever able to take the team from disaster to mediocrity as the Rams are still looking to finish above .500 for the first time since 2003.

They seemed to be on track to do just that in their return to Los Angeles with Gurley returning for his sophomore season and the Rams drafting quarterback Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft. Yet Fisher kept the top pick on the bench until finally starting him in Week 11 after going with Case Keenum up until that point.

However, the players were fond of Fisher and Goff said that Monday was “very emotional” and the team felt like it it had let him down.

Fisher was "very well liked, very giving, he treated us the right now,” Goff said. “And in return, we didn't do enough for him."

The Rams have one of the worst offenses in the NFL this season. And while that was never Fisher’s specialty, the defense rarely did enough to make up for the lack of scoring.

In the latter half of the season, one of the team’s most prominent alums, running back Eric Dickerson, blasted the head coach and announced he wouldn’t attend any games as long as Fisher was with the franchise. Dickerson alleged that Fisher had barred him from the sidelines during games for comments that made the players “uncomfortable.” The incident made a bad year look even uglier and created a public relations crisis in the midst of the team rebuilding its brand in California.

Dickerson can return to Rams games now, and has said that he would. “I’ll go to a game, of course I will,” he said on NFL Network Monday evening. “I said I wouldn’t go back as long as Jeff Fisher is coach so I’ll go back to a game.”

The season was supposed to trumpet the return of professional football to Los Angeles. Instead, the Rams have seldom given fans much to get excited about. They’ll now move to find their sixth head coach since winning Super Bowl XXXIV, while Fisher looks to rebuild his own reputation.