The Tennessee Titans officially named Mike Mularkey as the team's head coach Saturday after going 2-7 under his guidance, per Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com. Mularkey took over when the team dismissed former head coach Ken Whisenhunt following a 1-6 start.
Mularkey espoused optimism Saturday, per Wyatt: "I am going to give all that I have to make this team successful and make our city and fans proud." However, Twitter's reaction didn't match his positivity.
CBS Sports' Will Brinson was quick to point out Mularkey's resume isn't inspiring:
Titans finish back-to-back seasons with a top-2 pick. The solution? Hire a coach with an 18-39 career head coaching record.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) January 16, 2016
However, Brinson pointed out fans can take solace in the fact that Mularkey resembles a Field of Dreams star:
Mike Mularkey cons: 18 career wins. Fired by Bills and Jaguars already. Mike Mularkey pros: Looks a little like Kevin Costner— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) January 16, 2016
FanDuel's Aaron Nagler felt the need to scold a Titans team that has posted one winning record since 2008:
The Titans continue to be a rudderless ship.— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) January 16, 2016
Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld noted a common thread in the AFC South:
The Titans hiring Mike Mularkey is the NFL's most uninspiring hire since the Jaguars hired Mike Mularkey in 2012.— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) January 16, 2016
USA Today's Tom Pelissero joked the Titans used Saturday's decision as a springboard for another move:
Give the #Titans credit for getting a head start on next year’s coaching search.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 17, 2016
The Press Democrat's Phil Barber drew a comparison between Tennessee's move and one the San Francisco 49ers made a year ago, which ended in disappointing fashion:
Does the Mike Mularkey hiring seem like Jim Tomsula East to anyone else?— Phil Barber (@Skinny_Post) January 16, 2016
The move also came off strange to the New York Post's Bart Hubbuch, who pointed to a Week 14 performance that painted the Titans in a bad light:
I have PTSD from seeing the Titans live this year (vs. Jets). Horrible team that quit. Mularkey coming back makes no sense.— Bart Hubbuch (@BartHubbuch) January 16, 2016
SB Nation's MusicCityMiracles.com didn't pull any punches while evaluating the hire:
I don't blame anyone that jumps ship after this. It's a terrible decision. They put in absolutely no effort— TitansMCM (@TitansMCM) January 16, 2016
Saturday's decision was particularly puzzling because the Titans had a chance to bring quarterback Marcus Mariota's former college coach aboard before the 49ers hired him, as Bleacher Report's Bryan Fischer intimated:
But that Chip Kelly fella is a bum. RT @ChrisVannini: Mike Mularkey is 18-39 as an NFL head coach and got the Titans job.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) January 16, 2016
It's not hard to see why much of the football universe joined in a chorus of pessimism following Tennessee's announcement. The Titans have become renowned for complacency over the years, and the absence of a playoff berth since 2008 reinforces that notion.
However, Mularkey evidently showed ownership enough over the season's final nine weeks to capture the job. If he can continue to establish a strong rapport with Mariota and help the offense take a few steps forward, perhaps the franchise can finally start to buck recent trends and emerge as a formidable foe in a wide-open AFC South.