By Nick Shepkowski–
For whatever reason there are many people in this city that feel the suddenly available Jeff Fisher would be an improvement as Bears head coach in comparison to Lovie Smith. The problem with that thought is that its based on Fisher’s longevity as Oilers/Titans head coach, not for any actual on the field accomplishments.
In his sixteen full season as the head man in Tennessee, Fisher compiled a regular season record of 141-115, good for a winning percentage of 55.0%.
Lovie Smith’s regular season winning percentage in his seven years to date as Bears head coach: 56.3% with a record of 63-49.
Fisher led the Titans organization to playoff appearances 6 times in those 16 full seasons, 37.5% of the time. He won his division only three times in that span, only 18.8% of his years as head coach.
Lovie Smith’s playoff and division championship rates blow Fisher out of the water in this category, as Smith’s three division titles in seven years is good for 42.8% (all three of Lovie Smith’s playoff appearances have come by winning the NFC North).
Where else does Lovie match Fisher with a lot less of a window to do so in? Both have appeared in two conference championship games while winning one conference title before losing in the Super Bowl. It took Fisher until his fifth season as Titans head-man to do so while Lovie had the Bears playing in the big game in only his third year in charge.
Furthermore, you can make a valid argument that Fisher did less with more talent than Smith has been able to do in Chicago.
Fisher had an annual MVP candidate at quarterback in Steve McNair from 1997-2005 and a perennial pro-bowl running back in Eddie George from 1996-2003. In those years the Titans won a total of 5 playoff games and have gone win-less in the postseason since ’03.
Say what you want about Jay Cutler and Matt Forte; to date they have not done anywhere near enough on the field to deserve to be compared to either McNair or George.
The fact that Fisher was a reserve Bear in the early 1980’s before working as an assistant on both Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan’s staff makes him much more desirable to many old Bears fans.
By no means is Jeff Fisher a bad football coach; if he were he wouldn’t have been in charge of the Titans for 16 and a half seasons.
What Bears fans have to realize is that what they have going right now in Lovie Smith is better than the resume of Jeff Fisher.