(Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
He's not the biggest guy on the block, standing just shy of six feet tall. He's graying a little around the temples, and his mustache and beard have been salt and pepper for years.
He's not a big yeller; you very rarely see him or hear of him screaming his head off in frustration at a player who just screwed up. In pre- and post-game interviews, he is somewhat soft-spoken, but very direct and erudite.
Yet when he talks, people—particularly players—listen. Those behemoths, those Titans of football, lean on his every word, and they respond to his requests—nay, his demands—as if they fear doing otherwise.
One look from him is usually enough to quiet even the most rambunctious player, a quick grasp of the face mask and a few softly spoken words into an ear hole typically result in a head nod, a "yes coach", and a subsequent attempt to do whatever it was coach just said to do.
Just who is this guy?
He is Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, and he—and his staff—command attention and respect.
And they get it.
One of the things that makes a football team successful is continuity. and that is one thing Coach Fisher gives the Titans. At the helm of the team since 1994, Fisher has seen the team through thick and thin, from the highs of a Super Bowl appearance in 1999—same year as the Music City Miracle—to the lows of a 4-12 record, from a city change to a name change, Coach Fisher has been there. And from the looks of things, he isn't going anywhere soon.
He demands athleticism, physicality, and endurance from his players and staff. He isn't afraid to sit a player down when he deserves it. And he absolutely will not compromise excellence.
When his playing days as a cornerback with the Chicago Bears were over, he began his coaching career; under the tutelage of greats like Mike Ditka, Buddy Ryan, George Seifert (of the Bill Walsh coaching tree), Coach Fisher very quickly developed an eye for defenses, and was rewarded by becoming the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles by the time he was 30.
After a trip throgh the west coast, where he coached for the Los Angeles Rams and the San Fransico 49ers, Coach Fisher joined the Houston Oilers organization in 1994, and he's been there ever since.
He brings a quite but demanding presence to the sidelines each and every week. His players know what he expects, and they go out of their way to give it to him.
One of the hallmarks I have always thought made a good leader was to be able to get people to do what you want them to, and make them think it was their idea. Coach Fisher has perfected this technique.