It always cracks me up to hear bizarre stories like this one from Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans. The longest tenured head coach in the league recently refused to call timeouts in the remaining minutes of a Monday night football game against the wishes of the officials. Apparently when these zebras are calling the “actual” game they also are in charge of wrangling enough TV timeout spots to make all the television big wigs happy. When Fisher was approached at the end of a 30-3 beatdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars the coach refused to abide by the strange request from the league.
Fisher made the following statement in his press conference on Tuesday:
At the two-minute warning in every game in the fourth quarter, there are conversations that go by. There’s conversations that take place at the two-minute warning before the first half. But there’s conversations that take place, and it’s the official’s responsibility to give the head coach a status of commercials and TV timeouts. Yesterday, I was told that they were two short. And they looked at me and smiled, and I said, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you.’ Mike Carey came across and said, ‘Here’s the deal. We’re two short.’ And I said, ‘Mike, I can’t help you. I’m trying to get a first down and I’m gonna kneel on it.’
And I have to congratulate Fisher for doing exactly this. It is in no way Fisher’s responsibility to make sure that the network fulfills its TV spots. At the end of the day Fisher is an employee of the Titans and his job is to win games. Although the Fish would be a great spokesperson for Just For Men (facial hair), he is just the head coach of the Titans at the moment and calling timeouts when his team is easily moving the ball down the field is only going to hurt his own chances of running out of the clock.
It bothers me that the NFL is concerned with such things to that comical of a degree that the official on the field is trying to stall his own game, but I suppose the NFL is an entertainment business no different then anything else we see on TV and at the end of the day they have to make their sponsors happy just like Dancing With the Stars does or any other cable network TV show.
But the Fish has been coaching the Titans since they were the Oilers and played in Texas and flat screen TVs didn’t even exist back then, so don’t expect the man to get with the times now either.