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06 Oct 2006

Too Deep Zone: Fire the Coach

by Mike Tanier

Your favorite team just lost, and you're hopping mad.

They played poorly. They were out-hustled. Worst of all, they were out coached. A head coach is supposed to develop a smart game plan, motivate his troops, and instill discipline. The guy with the headset and visor was clearly derelict in his duties this week.

An hour after the final gun, and you're still fuming. You want to express yourself, to enumerate the coach's failings in precise detail. You could call the local sports talk show, but you don't want your opinions lost amongst the drunk ramblings of angry cranks. A letter to the editor? Nobody reads those. You could complain to the front office, but all you would get is (maybe) an 8-by-10 glossy of the quarterback, or a coupon good for a $2 off a team sweatband. You don't want to be trivialized or patronized. You want to mobilize other like-minded fans, to change your team for the better.

There's only one thing to do: start a Fire the Coach website.

We are Angry. We are Legion.

The 0-4 Lions just lost to the Rams 41-34. They played well, but that's little consolation to the writers at the most prominent of several Fire Matt Millen websites. "I can't stand you. You have ruined my passion for Lions football," writes one poster in all caps, expressing his disdain for the Lions general manager. "The secondary can't cover an 80-year old lady with arthritic knees," writes another. There's little optimism to be found anywhere. "I really don't see one win on the schedule." "The defense stinks." "Enough is enough." Misery loves company, and a disgruntled Lions fan is never alone on a Fire Millen site.

On Saturday, the Miami Hurricanes beat the University of Houston 14-12. As you might expect, Canes fans were hardly ecstatic over a narrow win against a mid-major. At the Coker Must Go site , they skipped the silver lining and went straight into the cloud. "This 'win' will actually end up hurting the program in the long run," wrote Chris David, the site's webmaster. "If we had lost, it can almost be guaranteed that Coker would have been fired. Instead he will remain here for the rest of the season, and maybe even beyond, which will no doubt further throw our program into mediocrity." A reader echoes Chris' concerns: "I can't believe our beloved program has come to this," he writes.

The Tennessee Titans threw rookie quarterback Vince Young to the wolves on Sunday, and he got torn up in a 45-14 loss to the Cowboys. Rumors swirled after the game that owner Bud Adams, not coach Jeff Fisher, made the quarterback switch. These rumors, first reported in the Tennessean, were picked up quickly by Fire Coach Fisher. "Could someone explain exactly who is running the team, and who is making decisions?" the site's primary author asks.

The Fisher site is the latest Fire the Coach effort to be acknowledged by the mainstream media. The Tennessean and SI.com ran brief stories about the campaign, and Fisher himself commented on the site. "I was looking into that MySpace.com, and somebody did it for me," he said. "I think that was pretty cool." (Please note how funny Fisher's comments could be if taken out of context). The Fisher site has had 46,000 visitors to date; its proprietors have sold 34 Fire Fisher tee shirts.

The rhetoric at Fire Coach Fisher is surprisingly subdued. Most fans, like the site's authors, are still debating whether Fisher or GM Floyd Reese is more responsible for the Titans' woes. Others are distracted by other issues, from Young's promotions to Albert Haynesworth's thuggery. Fisher, the only coach that in Tennessee Titans history, the guy who came within a yard of a Super Bowl ring, has earned the benefit of the doubt. Either that, or the site hasn't found its true voice yet.

The subjects of other Fire the Coach (or GM) sites rarely catch any breaks from readers or authors. Millen and Coker are in the crosshairs in article after article, post after post, as are dozens of college and pro coaches and execs from other teams and other sports. Fire the Coach sites have become ubiquitous on the Internet. They're part of the background noise of sports media, the angry cousins of hyper-enthusiastic fan blogs, the evolutionary next step up from sports talk radio. They are often funny, sometimes insightful, and more than occasionally cruel. For the fed-up fan, they're the web equivalent of smoky corner saloons: you'll find like-minded people there, but the atmosphere isn't exactly healthy.

In the Line of Fire

"Fire-the-Coach Websites a Big Business" reads a USA Today headline from August. The article reports that a technology worker named "Doug" acquired 30 Fire Coach Blank domain names and planned to sell them for $250 each. Apparently, $7500 in revenue is now big business. I cannot wait for my high school hoagie sale to be listed in Forbes.

A blogger on the website Free Republic described the Fire The Coach webscape as it appeared in November of last year: a fire Mike Tice site, a Fire Mike Shula site, even a Fire Joe Torre site for impatient Yankee fans. Many of the sites listed in the Free Republic are now stubs, sites quickly assembled in a pique of rage but since forgotten.

(Yes, we know, Free Republic isn't normally a place filled with interesting sports discussions.)

Indeed, while "Greg" envisioned an Internet filled with firing sites and USA Today speculated that firing sites will become battlegrounds for college rivalries, there are only a few living, thriving Fire the Coach sites. Search the web, and you're likely to find more dead ends and parodies than sites of note.

For example, there are two Fire Bill Parcells "sites," although they are little more than domain names in limbo. One is exactly eight words long: "The Cowboys offense can't score? Fire the coach!" it proclaims. The other calls the legendary skipper a "glorified gym teacher" while hawking t-shirts, mugs, and a barbecue apron, all of which are sure to be collector's items. The sites are either the work of 10-year-olds or prankster Redskins or Eagles fans.

You would expect angry Eagles fans to have started a Fire Andy Reid movement, but the website is a tease: the owner of the domain name, like Doug, wants to sell it to you. Actually, there are thousands of Fire Andy advocates in the Delaware Valley, but most of them aren't smart enough to use computers.

There doesn't seem to be much traction behind the Fire Bill Belichick movement, but there is a site. It appears to be a parody. There's also an internet petition with 17 names on it, most of them probably Colts offensive starters. There's a Fire Sean Payton site, but it is clearly tongue-in-cheek, filled with optimism about the young coach's 3-1 start while admitting that the site "is a ticking time bomb, only we're not sure how much time is left."

It's hard for sites like these to really establish themselves. If the coach is new, fans wait before casting judgment. If he has a great track record, serious fans will write the site off. If a coach is really bad, he could be fired two days after the domain name is registered. The Fisher site, still in its infancy, may be irrelevant by season's end. The Coker and Millen sites are exceptions, and they're the work of exceptionally motivated individuals.

Fired Up

Michael McCune, webmaster of the largest Fire Millen site, was in the right place with the right idea at the right time. "I started the site in November," he said in a Too Deep Zone interview. "We had kicked the idea around for some time, but the firing of Mooch (former Lions coach Steve Mariucci) while Millen was getting a contract extension did not make sense to me, so I started the site. The next game, a fan was ejected from the Lions game for having a Fire Millen sign and it was caught on TV. From there, the Fire Millen movement blew up." Major media outlets reported on McCune's site, and he was soon getting over 3,000 visitors per game.

Like McCune, Chris David started his Coker Must Go site after an enough-is-enough moment at a game. "The loss that made me decide to start a site was the Peach Bowl this past year against LSU," David told me. "I was at the game and realized how many fans did not realize how bad of a coach Larry Coker was, and I decided to do what I could to get the word out." Traffic ebbs and flows at David's site, but after the Louisville loss the site received 16,000 hits. Like McCune, David had no problem finding kindred spirits among a fan base willing to fly Fire Coker banners over the stadium. "I like it," David said of the banner incident. "I think they got a lot more than they paid for as far as getting their opinion across."

Both McCune and David believe that their sites can have an impact upon team/university decisions. "I think (the site) gets people thinking about the issues with the team and the organization," McCune said. "And the more people are disappointed with the Lions, they will show that at the games. Pretty soon, (Lions owner) William Clay Ford will have to pay attention." David agrees. "The more that these higher-ups hear the dissatisfaction of the fans; the more likely they are to take action," he said.

(An aside: David's site advocates an anti-Coker letter writing campaign aimed at various university officials, including Miami president Donna Shalala. Inspired by the site, I attempted to write a letter, but I spelled Dr. Shalala's name incorrectly. Because of me, Bowser is unemployed.)

The Coker and Millen sites are rarities: interactive, constantly-updated blogs that don't degenerate quickly into obscene rants or childish name-calling. If Fire the Coach sites are truly a "field," then McCune and David are currently the giants of the field. McCune endorses and nurtures a smaller Fire Millen site by a different set of writers, this one with a Mitch Albom parody that's definitely worth a click. He is sometimes sought after for advice by others who hope to get a coach canned. "I say go big or go home," he tells would-be webmasters. "Make sure your site looks good and is updated frequently or you are just taking a good domain from someone who could do it better. Make sure to build up solid facts about why the person should be fired. Don't just say 'they suck.'"

Unforgettable Firings

McCune and David are the spiritual descendants of the pioneers who established the Fire Ron Zook and Fire Joe Paterno sites, the Plymouth and Virginia colonies of Fire the Coach sites.

The Zook site really started everything. A vicious weekly round-up of Zook's biggest mistakes, plus snarky poems and angry diatribes written by an anonymous Florida alumnus and fan, the site was the first fire blog to gain attention. In a USA Today interview, Zook said that some other coaches give him grief for starting the Fire the Coach phenomenon. Two years later, he's diplomatic about the phenomenon. "It's kind of ridiculous in a way that people get their kicks out of doing something like that," Zook said. "But I think coaches understand it's kind of the nature of the business."

Much of the Zook site is still around. You can still read anti-Zook haiku and a "12 Days of Christmas parody," plus plenty of insults to Zook's intelligence and character and the occasional detailed breakdown of a game. Ultimately, the site's author got his wish, and while his humor was sometimes mean-spirited, he picked a pretty easy target in the overmatched Zook.

The Fire Paterno guys tackled bigger prey, and for a time Fire Joe Pa tee-shirts could even be seen in Happy Valley (at one point, multiple sites advocated Paterno's dismissal). "This website is dedicated the Penn State Fans that care about their football team. We all have the prime of our careers, Joe's came a long time ago," declared the site on its opening page." But you know how this story ends: Paterno had a huge year in 2005, and suddenly the idea of calling out a venerable coach for a few down seasons sounded really ridiculous.

The Fire Paterno site is a ghost town now, but some of the archives survive. "I ask you, how do we cause the administration ... to step up and send Joe to the retirement home?" wrote one poster in November, 2004. There are other fossilized remains of reasonable dialogue and impassioned debate. Unfortunately, most of the archives that survive are from 2005, when most fans started hating the Joe Pa haters. Topics include "You people disgust me" and "You people make me embarrassed to be a human being." An Internet paleontologist can also find fragments of flame-wars against Ohio State fans and Florida fans (who accuse the Penn State guys of stealing the Fire Zook idea). It's all horribly childish, juvenilia masquerading as football talk. Hunt for the site's archives on an Internet wayback machine, and you'll often see a ghostly, ironic message from the site hovering atop an error page: "Sometimes, we stay longer than we should."

To truly appreciate what the collapsed remains of a Fire site looks like, visit the Fire Bill Cowher site. Yes, there was a Fire Cowher site; it probably stayed in business until the last eight minutes of Super Bowl XL. Many of the contributors to the site prefaced their comments with statements like "Listen, I'm not a Cowher hater, but..." Of course, that's like saying "I'm not racist" before going off on an Archie Bunker rant. On the site, Cowher was routinely referred to as "Cowterd." He's often belittled by obscene insults of all types ("THE BRAINLESS BLUNDER WILL NEVER WIN THE BIG GAME" one would-be prophet intones). Midway through the 2005 season, contributors were calling Ken Whisenhunt a "loser" and lamenting the fact that the Steelers could have hired John Fox as Cowher's replacement.

Keep in mind that all of this invective came on the heels of a 15-1 season. There was no pro-Cowher rhetoric in the site's main content, no grudging respect even for the team's exceptional postseason run last year. A gruff, all-caps final post states "Congrats to Bill Cowher for winning his first Super Bowl. The aggressive change in philosophy against the Colts and Broncos on offense took ... guts on Bill's behalf." One would think that true Steelers fans would celebrate a championship with more than just a few paragraphs.

Tolerable Hecklers

He may not agree with opinions like those of the Fire Cowher authors, but McCune defends their right to express them. "It is a free country and if you want to say something, go for it." Both McCune and David say they will happily retire their sites when Coker and Millen are gone.

But neither sees much hope in backing the current regime. When asked how he would respond to a fan who said that the Fire Millen site might damage the team's efforts, McCune replied "I would ask that fan 'what hurts the Lions more: my website or Matt Millen?'" David won't even entertain the possibility that his site will be looked upon in a few years like the Paterno or Cowher sites. "Coker has already proven that he can't coach and he's proven to be an embarrassment for the University of Miami football program," David said when I asked him to entertain the possibility of a Paterno-like rebound at Miami. "There is no further evidence needed. He has had his opportunities to succeed here, and each year he has provided a worse product."

Fans have the right to criticize, and to develop websites and blogs critical of teams and coaches. Teams use the media to perform spin control and deflect blame when things go wrong. It's only fair that some fans unite behind firebrands like David and McCune to provide some backspin.

But after hours of browsing through old and new fire sites, I feel numb. There's a sameness to them, plus a negativity that goes beyond fan frustration. On site after site, you can read the same indictments over and over: he's not a creative play-caller, not a disciplinarian, not a motivator, not a good recruiter/drafter. It's talk radio boilerplate, and all you have to do is change the name of the coach from Zook to Coker to Paterno to Cowher to Shanahan. There's a dearth of specific football discussion on most of the sites: occasionally, a poor decision or bad recruit/draft pick is singled out, but most articles and posts have a thudding, drumbeat quality. We're angry. We won't stand for any more. We made tee shirts. Fire the Coach authors may perceive themselves as prophets in the football wilderness, but few of them really say anything.

And then there's the unwarranted meanness that crops up on so many sites. "Yes, these men ... are well-paid, and they're public figures who, as if it was in their job description, tolerate heckling in every imaginable form," wrote the blogger at Free Republic. "But I've been fired from a job more than once -- it's very painful." The blogger speculated that Fire the Coach webmasters are "colossal jerks ... the same people who cut into supermarket checkout lines." That's as harsh and unfair to people like McCune and David as many fire sites are to their coach subjects. But if people only know you from your angry Internet screeds, they may get the wrong impression about you.

Of course, McCune, David, and other Fire the Coach webmasters don't do anything I don't do. I criticize coaches, I often question their judgment, and I sometimes advocate their firing. Collect everything I've ever written about a certain 49ers offensive coordinator, and you could create a pretty scathing site. But I'm wary of stepping over the line of "tolerable heckling." David and McCune know the limit, too; the guys at the defunct Cowher site didn't. And any webmaster who courts the favor of his team's angriest fans is likely to get more than he bargained for: a letter-writing campaign may generate some positive publicity, but a rancorous message board can attract the wrong kind of attention.

That may be why so many Fire the Coach webmasters choose anonymity. The sites are all fun and games until someone makes one about you.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 06 Oct 2006

60 comments, Last at 14 Sep 2011, 3:13pm by HolcombJeannette24

Comments

1
by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 11:46am

We’re angry. We won’t stand for any more. We made tee shirts.

We have the slogan for the first FO t-shirt.

2
by joel in providence (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:09pm

i like how the one guy refers to the University of Miami's football team as "the product." ugh. college football is such a disgrace.

3
by Whiskey (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:13pm

My personal fave is fireherbsendek.com. I never understood the vitriol directed at him by Wolfpack fans.

4
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:15pm

Minor nit: Miami beat Houston 14-13, not 14-12.

Also, much better than Fire Jeff Fisher is Fire Schwartz, for Titans DC (and FO fan) Jim Schwartz.

5
by Eric (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:17pm

Wow, Mike, I guess you've really arrived when someone hates you enough to campaign for your firing instead of, say, not reading your stuff...

6
by Rocco (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:19pm

Nice article. I'm one more embarrassing loss by my alma mater from starting firejimmyelaycock.com. Does anyone know if there are any "fire the coach" sites for 1-AA teams? If not, I might be the first.

7
by Phil (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:20pm

Great idea for an article and well written.

8
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:34pm

I honestly don't understand the vitriol Jeff Fisher has been getting lately. In my mind, he's one of the 10 best coaches active in the game right now. The Titans have been horrible lately because they willingly entered cap hell to extend their superbowl window, and it almost worked. But that's a GM decision, not a coach's decision. I think Fisher has done an admirable job with the team he has. The whole Vince Young saga is also entirely the GM.

If he does get fired, I can think of a number of teams that would love to have him. Maybe instead of "Fire Jeff Fisher" websites, there should be "Get the owner/GM off Jeff Fisher's Back" websites. Of course, the same could be said for several teams (Al Davis, Matt Millen, I'm looking at you).

Seriously, teams work best when the GM worries about assembling talent of the kind the coach wants, and the coach coaches the team, and the owner signs the checks. Has any team recently had success when the GM starts dictating to the coach how to run games or doesn't listen to the type of talent the coach wants? Has any team had success when the owner gets his fingers into either of the other men's jobs?

9
by ABW (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:34pm

Best part of the clearly satirical Fire Bill Belichick site is the poster who defends him by saying "he won with Bledsoe in the 93-01 era", and then follows it up with a "Get your facts straight". Priceless.

Also, the Fire Mike Tanier thing is hilarious.

10
by mactbone (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:35pm

I'm part of a Bears e-mail list and they had a small campaign called G.R.O.W. - Get Rid Of Wannstedt. It was mroe tongue in cheek than anything but the sentiment behind it was real. There are some coaches that are so bad it's painfully obvious though. Coaches like Dick Jauron.

11
by MikeT (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:38pm

Special thanks to Dan M., Tom F. and Brad G. for creating the My Space site.

12
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:47pm

I think the saddest thing here, is that after being somewhere around 16 and 48 for the last 4 years, and all the fan outrage, Millen still has a job.

13
by James C (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:51pm

I remember being quite shocked a year ago when I discovered that there was a 'fie jerry angelo' site. I was stunned because to me he seemed to be doing a really good job, ie had a plan in place and was steadily aquiring players to make the plan work. All this gut seemed to do was schitzophrenically blame every problem on Angelo adn give all credit to other people. What I found very amusing was that his site was conatacted by the NFL legal people and told to desist using any content that infringed NFL copyrights. He put the letter up on his website and had big sulk about it.

He seems to have gone strangely quiet this year.

14
by Tim (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:28pm

Mmm...just to nitpick, but Fisher was within a yard of forcing overtime in the Super Bowl, right?

15
by bmw1 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:39pm
16
by Peter (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:40pm

UNC has a firebunting.com site, but it shows how much of a basketball school we are that nobody posts on it. Except that one guy who pointed out he's got the worst record of any coach in the history of a not-very-distinguished program.

Anyway, I was of the impression that the most important firing site after Zook was Ty Willingham. That site was pretty awesome.

17
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:45pm

Darn pinko commie, Mike! :-)

I looked at the fire Schwartz site and was wondering, is that argument legit? The writer claims that the defense is too predictable, in essence. Any Titans fan, or someone who has seen a couple Titans games want to comment on that?

18
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:51pm

Whiney, sulky megalomaniacs on the internet are the most funny thing ever.

19
by fyo (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:51pm

The dolfans had a site going for quite a few years demanding the firing of Dave Wannstedt.

The site (now for sale, but still with content) was up and running from December 2002 until Wannstedt was eventually fired ("moved on").

Some University of Pittsburgh student or alumni might find value in it Real Soon Now.

20
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 2:00pm

LOL... I just discovered fireshanahan.com! The author seems to have taken a break for the last two Broncos games though (both wins).

Then again, PFP 2005 suggested that it might not be a bad idea to fire Shanahan either. PFP 2006 went quiet about that...

If the Titans are stupid enough to get rid of Fisher, I wonder which smart team will snap him up. I think he could win with the Giants.

21
by mactbone (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 2:30pm

Re 13:
Well considering JA thought that QB lineups of Grossman, Quinn and Krenzel and then Grossman, Hutchinson, and Orton were good enough then I'd say he's done enough to make people think he's not that good.

He also used a ton of draft picks on defense this year when there were no indications that the offense would get any better.

Personally, I think JA's an average GM. He has an eye for the right guys for the Tampa 2 but he has severe shortcoming when it comes to evaluating offensive talent. A lot of stuff is going right this year but I'm not going to let four games shape my perception of him.

22
by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 2:45pm

I think Fisher could win most any place he ends up. But I also think he'll ride out the fan-generated storm in Tenn. He's good for the game. I'm an Indy fan, but admire Jeff and am pretty sure the Titans will rise again to conquer Zeus and all his upstart snotnose gods. wha?

23
by DMP (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 2:50pm

I don't think I can disagree with some kid who goes by "Rocco-Gasm." Sorry, Mike, I guess you're going to have to go. Man, there is just no end to the indignities a teacher has to endure. Good thing society makes up for it with equitable compensation!

Excellent as usual. Fitch Pablom is spot on. I can see how Fire the Coach sites can work to the detriment of college teams with image and recruiting, but in pros we hope to be talking about adult players making smart (and wealth) decisions. Maybe some do behave like highschool recruits (hello, Ricky Manning prototype-bully-sir)...

24
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:12pm

Mmm…just to nitpick, but Fisher was within a yard of forcing overtime in the Super Bowl, right?

Super Bowl-winning coaches have been fired after runs no worse than Fisher's last 3 years, Tom Flores with the 1992-94 Seahawks (2-14, 6-10, 6-10) and Mike Ditka with the 1997-99 Saints (6-10, 6-10, 3-13). Chuck Knox, forefather of the Marty Schottenheimer school of coaching, also was fired after a similar streak with the 1992-94 Rams (6-10, 5-11, 4-12).

The list of coaches who've had 3 consecutive 10-loss seasons and gone on to succeed with that team or elsewhere in the NFL is an extremely short one; I think it only includes John McKay of the 1976-78 expansion Bucs (0-14, 2-12, 5-11), which showed some improvement in those 3 years, then made the playoffs 3 of the next 4.

25
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:15pm

I recall back at USC there was a "Fire Paul Hackett" website for a year before they fired him (and hired Carroll). I even have a t-shirt. That's way before the Zook one.

26
by Josh (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:17pm

Re 17,

Much of what the website says is pretty accurate, from my own observations. The defensive scheme tends to be very, very static. This is one of the best fire a coach sites I've seen. If the stats posted on that site are accurate, then schwartz is worse than I thought. The funny thing is, the Titans have great defensive assistants. Jim Washburn is a wizard with young DL talent. Oh, and Norm Chow is terrible. Absolutely terrible.

27
by SJM (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:43pm

The greatest such website ever was (IMO) firearthowe.com. An endless and constantly updated chronicle of almost daily managerial blunders by the beloved recent Mets skipper, it was an innovator in the field of fire______.com sites.

28
by SJM (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:43pm

Gotta get that other old website out of my signature.

29
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:44pm

Re #17/26
It's amazing how similar many Titans defensive alignments are. You see an AWFUL lot of the same formation, a base 4-3 with the LBs 3-5 yards off and rarely moving up unless they're blitzing. It also tends to be a very passive defense with an awful lot of soft zone. Yeah, it would be painful to watch Reynaldo Hill getting beat for long passes every week, but it's not much more fun to watch teams march downfield with passes to open WRs on 18 yard square ins. And blitzing? Fuhgeddaboutit, generally. Tossing out the play action plays, SD threw the ball 15 times in the first half against TEN in Week 2. The Titans brought 4 rushers 13 times, 3 rushers once, and 5 rushers once. This against Philip Rivers, who was making his second NFL start. MIA and DAL haven't been quite that passive, but this is a defense that seems lost in terms of an identity.

30
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:48pm

I'm surprised that the Fire Dave Wannstedt site wasn't mentioned. It was one of the better Fire Coach Blank sites out there during the closing years of the Wanny era (error?)

31
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:49pm

Re: 30

I mean mentioned in the TDZ column. I see an earlier commenter has mentioned it.

32
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:51pm

As much as I hate to say it, I'm not sure firing Millen would solve the problem.

When was the last time the Lions had a good GM?

What makes anyone think they'd hire a good GM to replace Millen?

Why would a good GM take the job in Detroit anyway?

Sigh ...

back to baseball ...

Can we fire the owner?

33
by Kachunk (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:00pm

I'd front $5 for you to buy the lions...I owe you at least that much for the amusement the troll-libs have given me.

34
by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:30pm

What, no 'Fire Flanders!' references?

35
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:01pm

Who I'd like to meet:
I would like to meet Terrell Owens, Appollo, the singer from Panic! At the Disco, Buzz Aldrin, and someone to be gay with.

I don't even know what that is supposed to be suggesting. But I laughed anyway. I feel ashamed.

36
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:09pm

Does anyone else want to win a pink laptop?

37
by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:22pm

RE 32

No. But maybe in Fords restructuring progam they could sell it to some one who really cares about putting out a quality product. But it could also be the Barry Sanders curse. I don't think the Lions have looked the same since they let him walk away from Football.

38
by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:23pm

re 36

sure i could give it to my daughter to go with her Pink Razor

39
by admin :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 7:01pm

Two problems with the Fire Schwartz website. First, the section "Why Beane Ball (statistical analysis) works for baseball, but not football." If this guy wants to explain how the statistically-minded New England Patriots won three Super Bowls, then I'm willing to consider his other arguments. Second, he can complain about the Tennessee schemes all he wants, but trust me when I tell you that they are based on the personnel that is available, and the statement that Jim would run the same schemes if he had Shawne Merriman on his team is ludicrous. The Titans do not run a 3-4 because they don't have the personnel to run a 3-4, period. That's not to say that the Tennessee defense isn't disappointing, or that Jim bears no responsibility for that disappointment, or that his play calling isn't predictible (I don't know if it is or not) but those two arguments are ridiculous.

40
by ashok (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 7:06pm

If the invective delivered at a coach is the same stuff all the time - if the case rests on an assumption he is bad and evidence is not worked through carefully to see how it matches that assumption - then does it matter if it is as crude as the "Fire Cowher" site?

The most dangerous people aren't those who demonstrate their crudity overtly and marginalize themselves in the process. Far more dangerous are those that disguise passion as reason, and thus lower the bar for what we consider thoughtful.

The Lions are looking better this year, and winning in college football is really difficult stuff. I dunno.

41
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 9:15pm

Re #39
Both good points. His statistical arguments in particular are a mix of silly and incoomprehensible. But it really stands out when compared to "Free Coach Fisher" in that the author of "Fire Schwartz" at least tries to make actual "arguments" as to why Schwartz should be fired.

42
by calig23 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 9:35pm

Re:#27

It's been replaced by the FireMacha site.

43
by jebmak (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 12:05am

Firing Millen won't do any good, and the Fords won't sell the team. A Lion fan's only hope is that the entire family spontaneously combusts. Maybe they could stop being complete idiots, but let's be realistic.

44
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:41am

43, 37, 32, etc.

Is anybody other than me actually disturbed by how fatalistic Lions fans are becoming? Are there any left on this site with some optimism remaining? Anyone?

45
by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 11:30am

Fire Millen sign spotted at the Gameday Set........

46
by HLF (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 12:21pm

I lost even my last sliver of optimism somewhere around Year Two of the Millen regime. God this is depressing. Oh, it's been a few minutes since I mentioned Millen inherited a more or less playoff team (a 54yrd field goal on the last play of the regular season knocked them out, finishing 9-7 that year), and has had a top ten choice every year since. This guy was given a decent to mediocre NFL team, and in six+ years they haven't reached mediocrity once, not even briefly. In the annals of the modern NFL I don't think there are an "closest comparisons" to what he's done. What, pray tell, do we have to find optimism in (other than the Red Wings are starting again, alas without our lord and savior Stevie Y)?

HOPELESS Lions' Fan,
Seattle

47
by RIch Conley (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:26pm

43:

Thats exactly what I dont understand. Detroit/etc isnt that small of a market, and its not like theyre doing the Florida Marlins thing and spending $13m a year on their total payroll.

Winning makes great financial sense. 6 years ago, nobody around here had a patriots jersey, now everyone does. Everyone has hats, DVDs, etc. It just makes good financial sense to field a good product.

48
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:25pm

Folks, when there's something to which you attach the modifer "beloved" to, and the something isn't a human being that you have mutual emotional intimacy with, ya' gotta change your habits a little. Well, o.k., I'll make concessions to you pet lovers, but if one of the primary objects of your affection is something you watch on t.v., or from a distance of at least 25 yards, it's probably best to use one's time a little differently.

There's a movie directed by DeNiro, A Bronx Tale, which has at the center of the story a relationship between a boy and the neighborhood Mafia capo. It takes place in the 50s and the boy is a Yankees fan. The boy walks into the social club, to do his usual odd jobs for the wiseguys, and looks to be distraught. The capo asks the kid what's bothering him, and the kid says Mickey Mantle struck out three times that afternoon, to which the capo asks, "Kid, when you have a bad day, do ya' think Mickey Mantle gives a shit?", which doesn't exactly match what I'm describing in my first paragraph, but it's close enough.

Yeah, I'm a fan, and fan is short for fanatic, but c'mon. Which, of course, does not mean that Millen shouldn't go.

49
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:32pm

When Terry Donohue was the coach at UCLA, he said something like this:

The only way to make UCLA football fans happy is to

1. Go 10 - 0.

2. Crush USC.

3. Win the Rose Bowl in a blowout.

4. Be named National Champions

5. Fire the coach.

50
by HLF (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:07pm

Will,

I understand your point, but I think you paint too broadly. Haven't you ever had a beloved toy, as a child, or a beloved golf club, or table saw, or bicycle, or heck, some inanimate object you viewed with some degree of appropriate affection? Affection isn't something in scarcity; one can have affection or even love for multiple people, animals, concepts, abstract groups, and even inanimate objects, all without running out or cheating our loved ones.

I am very clear in my mind; I call the Red Wings my beloved Wings, even though they're 25 or so people living 2500 miles from me that really don't care if I live or die, and likely none of them would slow down their cars if I was crossing the street in front of them (surely Konstantinov and Fetisov's limo driver wouldn't...). I'm not losing any sight of the line between fantasy and reality. But, sports do bring many of us genuine joy (and real disappointment, frustration, and more). Feeling those things doesn't imply any lack of grounding in reality, nor any disrespect or lack of love for the people and other animals close in our lives.

Hopeless Lions Fan,
Seattle

51
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:39pm

HLF, I don't want to debate the semantics of the word "beloved", and yes I've opened a bottle of very old single malt scotch which brought me great joy, and have uncorked a very expensive Barolo which was extraordinarily disappointing, to pick just a couple of examples of things which I have had a strong emotional response to. However, I endeavor to not be attached to inanimate objects, and when I see people verge on what might be fairly described as hatred, or at least extraordinary displeasure, for people whose offense is being a crappy football coach or general manager, well, to toss out a cliche', get a life.

52
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:42pm

Anyways, HLF, how do ya' see tomorrow's match-up between our repsective favorite teams? If Troy Willimason has another eighty yards worth of dropped balls, I think I'll start CutWilliamson.com!!

53
by T. Owens (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:10pm

So all of that statistical analysis is working out pretty well for the San Francisco 49ers organization, huh?

54
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 11:10am

Have you seen the 49ers this year compared to the last two? They look significantly more ept in 06, and at least appear to be on the right track.

"some inanimate object you viewed with some degree of appropriate affection"

Ummmm.... are you talking about your blowup doll? I'm not one to judge, but dude...

55
by Stevie (not verified) :: Mon, 10/09/2006 - 3:01am

I'd start Firetomwalsh.com but I have a feeling it will be obsolete by next week

56
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/09/2006 - 12:37pm

Yeah, I’m a fan, and fan is short for fanatic, but c’mon.

No...no you're not. If you look at everyone with an emotional attachment to a sports team as people who need to "get a life", then no, you're not a fan.

57
by joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/09/2006 - 1:56pm

Firing Millen won’t do any good, and the Fords won’t sell the team. A Lion fan’s only hope is that the entire family spontaneously combusts. Maybe they could stop being complete idiots, but let’s be realistic.

Detroit should consider a merger with the Green Bay Packers, that way they'll at least finish the season with a victory.

But then the Ford Family would drive the value of Packer stock to zero and Richard Branson would snap it up and move the team to LA. And Matt Millen would be made Team President.

58
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 3:40pm

No, wanker, if you are unable to discern the difference between "emotional attachment", and becoming unhinged by the performance of people which you have no control over, and whose performance does not affect you in any material way, then you need to get a life. Many, many people are emotionally attached to teams, but draw the line at expressing hatred for people. One does not necessarily follow the other.

59
by Jerry (not verified) :: Wed, 10/11/2006 - 6:38pm

Re #8:

I honestly don’t understand the vitriol Jeff Fisher has been getting lately....

It's simple, and it's the same thing that animates all of these sites: the Titans haven't won lately, and it's always easy to say that changing the coach(/manager) will turn a team into a champion. Most of us here are smart enough to recognize that teams go through cycles, and that some teams are untalented enough that no coach can win with them, but a lot of people want that quick fix, and when it doesn't work, they'll be looking for the next guy.

60
by HolcombJeannette24 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/14/2011 - 3:13pm

I took 1 st home loans when I was a teenager and that aided my relatives a lot. But, I need the car loan once again.