They’ll square off for the first time in a little less than two weeks.
Already, though, current Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak is way behind in his matchup with former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher.
Questions about whether or not Munchak really understands or embraces all that is required of an NFL head coach peaked Monday in the wake of the news that Titans owner and founder Bud Adams passed away.
Munchak worked for the man for 30 years as a player, an assistant and a head coach. He spent more time in Adams’ company than probably anyone in Nashville. His insight into the person and the owner should have been an invaluable part of the day’s discourse.
Instead, Munchak couldn’t be bothered to issue any sort of statement or adjust his daily schedule to honor a man Mayor Karl Dean called “a very important figure in the history of Nashville.”
It was not until 5 p.m. (roughly seven hours after the news broke), at a previously scheduled press conference, that Munchak made any sort of statement. That also was the first comment from anyone associated with the team. In this age of immediate media, such a response is the equivalent of a carrier pigeon coming home.
As head coach, Munchak is the face of the franchise. He’s the one person the public expects to hear from on all matters regarding the team, particularly something as significant as Adams’ passing.
Yet as he prattled through his day in silence, so many others filled the void. How embarrassing that a sizable group of NFL owners, including Washington’s Daniel Snyder and Kansas City’s Clark Hunt, and local business and political figures issued statements throughout the morning and afternoon while Adams’ own franchise, the one he founded with a $25,000 investment, offered nothing about his place in the history of the sport and his legacy as a major figure in two cities.
Throughout it all, no one’s voice was more prominent than that of Fisher, now the coach of the Titans’ next opponent, the St. Louis Rams. He answered phone calls from local reporters. He spent time on the air of two local sports talk radio stations. He was interesting, thoughtful and insightful.
And his timing was impeccable. With the Titans and Rams set to play Nov. 3 at St. Louis (Tennessee has a bye this week) Fisher reminded the local fan base what an NFL head coach can and should be. It has to do with a lot more than what happens on the practice field during the week and in the stadium on Sunday.
Not only has Munchak not embraced the broader aspects of the position, he has retreated from them.
That’s why on Monday — in a very real way — Fisher was the Titans’ coach once again. He was the guy who said what needed to be said, when it needed to be said.
If things don’t go well a week from Sunday, more of the local fan base might just start to wish that actually were the case once again.
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS