Jeff Fisher coached the Los Angeles Rams for almost five years. We had some good times. We had some bad times; we had some really bad times. By the final year, nobody wanted him to be our coach. So I can see why the headline of this article may shock some of you, but I stand by my statement: Jeff Fisher’s tenure with the Rams was good for the organization.
The St. Louis Rams were so bad it was comical before Fisher arrived. The team won 15 games during the five years before he was hired, and that included a three-year stretch of just six wins. Nobody was ever threatened by the Rams. Even when they almost made the playoffs in 2010, it wasn’t like the other playoff teams were relieved that the Rams missed the playoffs. They were disappointed that they didn’t get to play the Rams.
They wasted Marc Bulger. They really wasted Steven Jackson. They squandered pick after pick on poor players. If you think the Rams are a complete joke today, you clearly weren’t watching football in the late 2000’s.
Enter Jeff Fisher, the man who has earned the title as the most mediocre coach in NFL history. The Rams went 7-8-1 in his first season. It was the best record the team had in over six seasons.
The offense showed flashes. The defense was genuinely frightening at times. People were saying this Rams team would be scary next season.
Scary. It’s a term that any Rams fan who reads the internet hates. We were called scary for years. Sure, the term spawned some great memes, but we didn’t want to be the team that “would be scary next year.” It almost seemed like we were a year away from being scary every season of the Fisher tenure up until the final one. Rams fans were sick of looking toward the next year. We wanted to finally have a winning season. We were sick of the “7-9 bull—-.”
And that’s why Jeff Fisher’s tenure was a good thing.
We no longer accepted mediocrity. It took us almost four years to reach seven wins just a few seasons prior, and we were already sick of being a 7-9 team just two years into Fisher’s tenure. He gave the team an identity. He gave us a team that at times could be the most frustrating team on the planet, and at other times look like a team nobody would want to face. Every time the Fisher Rams entered a divisional game, the other team had to take us seriously, no matter the difference in record. And most importantly, he made us hate the fact that this team could never win seven games.
The 2010 7-9 season was the most exciting year the Rams have had since their last playoff appearance. It wasn’t because the team was particularly exciting or even playing great football; it was because of how out of left field the season felt. Everyone was excited for Sam Bradford. We had hopes for the future. But to win more games in that year than we had in the previous three years combined was shocking. We’d forgotten what it was like to be an actual football team.
Just a few years later, we were already sick and tired of 7-win seasons.
Jeff Fisher’s time was up. He had to go. I rejoiced with everyone else when Fisher was finally let go. I’m excited about the team’s new direction with Sean McVay. But before Jeff Fisher joined the Rams, there was hardly anything to get excited for. We forgot what it was like to watch a real football team. We forgot what it was like to have playoff aspirations. We forgot what it was like to have a team that we could actually have faith would win more than three games.
Fisher brought the Rams back. He was never the guy that would bring us further than that, but his tenure was necessary.
Steve Rebeiro is a staff writer and podcast host for Rams Talk. He graduated from Marquette University in 2016. For more of his opinions, follow him on Twitter here or check out his podcast Tejas and Lil Stevie.