Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Feb 2011

Titans Fire Mike Heimerdinger

Tennessee continues to pursue a makeover of their staff; offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger has now been let go.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 08 Feb 2011

17 comments, Last at 14 Feb 2011, 5:20am by An Onimous


by Randy Hedberg (not verified) :: Tue, 02/08/2011 - 3:24pm

I thought promoting Munchak was an effort at continuity, but I guess not.

Are there any notable cases of a former OL coach succeeding as a head coach without coordinator experience? I can only think of Art Shell and Tom Cable, and neither one was wildly successful except for Shell with the 1990 Raiders.

by andrew :: Tue, 02/08/2011 - 3:28pm

Mike Tice was the Vikings OL coach when he took over after Denny Green.

by ammek :: Tue, 02/08/2011 - 4:05pm

Joe Bugel coached the Cardinals from 1990-93; he certainly wasn't successful but, as I'm sure 1991 DVOA will confirm, his team faced arguably the hardest schedule ever: ten ten-win teams and only a couple of opponents with a losing record.

by Shattenjager :: Tue, 02/08/2011 - 5:16pm

Chuck Knox?

by Key19 :: Tue, 02/08/2011 - 7:39pm

Tony Sparano had no NFL OC experience when he took over the Dolphins. He was Asst. HC while in Dallas but never OC. He was a college OC for 4 years though in the early 90s.

Not exactly burning down the AFC East, but he's the only one (besides Cable) I could think of.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 02/08/2011 - 6:21pm

So Munchak just fired his boss? Or was Fisher his boss?

by Led :: Tue, 02/08/2011 - 7:57pm

Isn't Dinger getting chemo for cancer? Maybe firing him is actually better for him because he's still technically under contract and gets his salary and medical coverage.

by BroncosGuyAgain (not verified) :: Tue, 02/08/2011 - 9:49pm

1. Heimerdinger was diagnosed with cancer late last year. He began a chemotherapy regimen in November. I do not know where he is currently in his treatment.

2. I have yet to see Heimerdinger described as anything other than "respected" and "well-liked". This move strongly suggests that Mike Munchak is an asshole. Good luck, Titans.

3. If Heimerdinger were still employed, he would also have salary and health insurance. How is this in any way "better for him"?

Stay classy, Mr. Adams.

by andrew :: Tue, 02/08/2011 - 10:29pm

from an AP story:

"The Titans defended firing Heimerdinger, saying they immediately offered to extend the coordinator's contract when he was diagnosed with cancer so he would not have to worry. Heimerdinger was under contract for 2011."

HGeimerdinger is quoted as saying his health played no role in the decision, and that his prognosis was good, even though he has two rounds of treatment remaining.

by tuluse :: Wed, 02/09/2011 - 2:18am

If Heimerdinger were still employed, he would also have salary and health insurance. How is this in any way "better for him"?

I can't imagine being an NFL coordinator is good for your health.

by BroncosGuyAgain (not verified) :: Wed, 02/09/2011 - 8:16pm

Gilda Radner: "Cancer is probably the most unfunny thing in the world". And, yet, that post was funny. You make a good point; getting away from the grind might be a real benefit. I stand corrected.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 02/09/2011 - 6:51am

I have yet to see Heimerdinger described as anything other than "respected" and "well-liked".

A column here called him out for his god-awful playcalling this year. It had nothing to do with him as a person, of course, but it's clear that he was not good at his job. I have no idea where you get off assuming "Mike Munchak is an asshole" just because he fired a bad coach.

by Tom Gower :: Wed, 02/09/2011 - 12:39pm

The backstory behind VY getting benched against the Steelers, which neither MikeT nor I knew when we wrote what we did, was VY had skipped meetings (plural) during the week and was making calls in the huddle that weren't in the playbook. Even before that came out, I changed my opinion from that in my initial reaction post to VY had, due to uncertainty, stopped trusting what he thought he saw and was unwilling to throw with any anticipation at all, which effectively immobilized the Titans' passing offense.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 2:53pm

I had arrived independently at the conclusion that the Titans offense was crippled by bad playcalling, and then saw the linked article which strengthened my conclusion at the time. I didn't see that bit about VY calling his own plays, so I had assumed that Heimerdinger was to blame. And perhaps he still shares a lot of the blame, but I guess it's more complicated than I originally thought.

by Samson 151 (not verified) :: Sat, 02/12/2011 - 8:15pm

I don't know where you get off concluding that Heimerdinger was a bad coach on the basis of an article by Mike Tanier about one game. Here's what Tanier actually wrote:

"Heimerdinger is a good coordinator, and Jeff Fisher certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt, but coaches have bad games, just like quarterbacks."

Thanks for providing the link, but it would have been better if the article had said what you claimed it did.

by the cat in the box is dead (not verified) :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 8:28am

It's interesting how quick Jim Washburn has been to say, when prompted, what the difference between Philadelphia and other teams was. Bear in mind that this is a Defensive Line Coach who seems pretty big on loyalty within the coaching fraternity, it's still fairly unequivocal:

'Philadelphia has a Quarterback. That's it. Tennessee hasn't had a Quarterback since Steve McNair left.'

Harsh words from someone inside the organisation. I'd think that Heimerdinger's rep is probably going to remain intact, and down the line, Vince Young will seem more and more like the problem.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Mon, 02/14/2011 - 5:20am

Sorry to hear it for Heimerdinger. He's responsible for one of my favorite football-related lines of all time. Earlier this decade, someone asked him why it was that he kept getting head coaching interviews, but never seemed to make it to the finalist stage. Heimerdinger replied with "owners want a big name, not a long one"