clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fisherball=Scioscialism? When it comes to angering fans, Mike Scioscia and Jeff Fisher are eerily similar

New, comments
Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

It was in January of 2016 when the southern California heard the news: the Rams were actually coming back to Los Angeles. After lots of talks, lots of speculation from fans, endless hours of sports show punditry and a handful of legal and technical loopholes to jump through, it was finally going down. NFL football...BACK IN LOS ANGELES, BABY!

We’re now nine weeks into the NFL season, and the pre-season and opening kickoff buzz around the Rams has all but settled down into a respectable hum. That’s what a 3-4 record will do for a fanbase. The fans that had been following the last few years, with Jeff Fisher in place as the team’s head coach, were kind of ready for this and had tempered their expectations as such.

Then there are the fans that, like me, that had no real interest in any specific NFL team prior to the Rams coming to LA, despite loving football. I will watch NFL all Sunday, no problem, and be in heaven, yet I didn’t really have “MY” team. Anytime there would be some news tidbit about an NFL team mulling over the idea of coming back to these parts, I would say “If they bring NFL to Los Angeles or Orange County, I’ll be a fan again.”

So with that reasoning, I was all about the Rams heading into this season, but I was not protected by the armor of cynicism and lowered expectations that the diehard Rams folks already possessed. I wasn’t ready for “7-9 bullshit”, and I surely wasn’t ready for Fisherball...at least I thought I wasn’t. I slowly, but surely, began to realize one thing: Mike Scioscia is Jeff Fisher and Jeff Fisher is Mike Scioscia.

It all clicked, and an immediate sense of empathy and understanding for my Rams fan brethren washed over me like the sound of a thousand pages being turned a thousand times. Two big time LA sports franchises (with a shared Orange County history, as well), two men running things in their own idiosyncratic, frustrating ways.

That 3-4 team, with all those eyeballs on them, and they’re sputtering. Sound familiar? And what about that level of talent? If the Angels are wasting Mike Trout’s best years, then what are the Rams doing with Aaron Donald (perhaps the best player in the entire league, just like Trout, but you could also throw in a Todd Gurley analogy, too)?

The more I thought about the two teams, and where they’re at right now in their sports’ history, the more I began making sad connections between the franchises. Perhaps you already have an NFL team that you’re a huge fan of, but I feel now, more than ever, we can at least commiserate and show compassion for fans that are going through a similar threat from upper management and the front office.

Just to get an even better understanding of the particular brand of ire and resentment that the staunchest of Rams fans may feel for Jeff Fisher, I went to the best Rams site on the internet: Turf Show Times.

I asked their staff what they disliked most about Jeff Fisher, or the Rams organization in general, and how his faults and issues may line up with Mike Scioscia’s. They gave me almost TOO much to choose from, but here’s what they sent back to me:

Klassen:

- unwilling to admit his wrongs or adjust when he is wrong

- inability to hit on picks that arent on the DL

- his goddamn facial hair

That first point...reminds me of someone.

Robert Forehand

1. Stubborn to a fault. 20 years of mediocrity and his plan is still the way to go

2. Not nearly as good a talent evaluator that he thinks he is. Draft and FA busts up and down his roster.

3. Defiant in His smugness, which leaves me wanting to punch him.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Wilkinson

-#7and9bullshit

-#CultureChange

-Having the media by the balls

LOL

Bate

1) Poor (costly) decision-making in free agency.

2) Inability to develop young talent

3) Terrible hirings at the offensive coordinator position

You start to see that it’s just not about how Fisher coaches, but it’s also a lot of off the field stuff, too. The more Mike Scioscia meddles in what players to go after and how to develop them, the worse off the org is likely to be.

Mike

-Inability to sign impact vets in Free Agency

-Always making excuses

-The most stubborn coach thinking his way is the right way

-Inability to be hands off and give the offense to someone who has had success either in college or NFL

Joe -

1.) Intransigence. Fisher only does Fisher and doesn't feel any pressure to not do Fisher. Not from media, not from fans, not from employers.

-2.) Insincerity. Fisher doesn't care about words. Has no interest in expressing legitimate thoughts. Uses media not as a way to explain his approach to football philosophically or detail his operational management. Uses media to advance a caricature of himself and forward talking points that too often disagree with reality.

-3.) Ineffectiveness. No Super Bowl wins. Went to playoffs six times in 17.375 seasons with Titans. No playoffs in 4.375 seasons with Rams. Fisher has more experience than any other head coach in the NFL other than Bill Belichick. Has none of the successful results. Has the worst record of any head coach in the top 17 most experienced all time head coaches. Hasn't coached a team to a winning season in 7 seasons. Is not driven by results. And because he's (1) intransigent and (2) insincere, will never be driven to succeed or care to explain why.

Eric

-The difference between Scoscia and Fisher is that one rides a championship victory, one rides a championship loss

That one from Eric a pretty good burn.

Brent

-Very condescending, even though the team performance doesn't back up his reputation as a good coach. A few losses away from setting the all-time record for most losses ever by a HC.

-Keeps flip flopping on things he says, and pretends there was no historical precedent. -Doesn't seem to adapt to trends, resulting in an NFL-worst offensive efficiency.

Not adapting to trends can be a killer. Mike Scioscia seems to be improving in this aspect, but we’re only just now seeing a little bit of that open mindedness in 2016. Could be too little, too late?

Eli

1. Jeff Fisher straight up doesn't seem like he cares. He constantly has the same look on his face, has no worries, and continues to have the same problems in his coaching career. Even more frustrating is that his words mean nothing. He continues to preach that he and his team are "working" on and "fixing" things yet the results indicate that things are not improving.

2. He is never wrong. Jeff Fisher has an explanation for everything. He never owns up to his mistakes nor does he ever put blame on things that are clearly very correctable. Examples of this are his challenge decisions ("we didn't get a good look"), 4th down decisions ("need a touchdown anyway, but the next one wins"/"I liked the look and I called it because it should work"), and 2 pt conversion decisions ("I wanted to get to 13 so their kicker would have to kick more than once" (in a 11 pt game with opportunity for XP to make it 12 with 4:28 left in the game)).

3. Jeff Fisher will never change. He is on pace to be the all time most defeated coach in the NFL in this season without sniffing the most all time wins.... That says more than enough...

Wow, nothing held back from these writers, who have been put the ringer for too many seasons now. I can relate so, so much. The big through line is stubbornness and a closed-off way of approaching their respective games.

You’ve got two big egos, almost unchecked and given carte blanche to implement the message they’ve crafted, and for that to become the message of the entire team; an ethos, however poisoned or ineffective, mandated from up on high with Mike and Jeff, and laid down upon the fettered, forced disciples of their regimes.

Mike Scioscia, in my eyes, is guilt of many of these issues that have been levied against Jeff Fisher, yet he’s as entrenched with his team as Fisher is with the Rams. We’ve got our Scioscialism, and they have their Fisherball. But if this is proof of anything, it’s that we should be able to give existential fist bumps to Rams fans; two sides of the same wallowing-in-mediocrity coin, giving comfort and support to one another in these tough times.

I was so stoked when the Rams where coming “home” to Los Angeles; it could have been ANY NFL team, really, and I would have been pumped, but the Rams had some history in this area and that made it all the more exciting.

Then, it all started to feel so familiar, and not in a good way. I thought was escaping those same woes put onto us from Mike Scioscia throughout the season, only to be faced with the simple failures of Jeff Fisher. The thrill, as quickly as it had come, was gone. I found myself knee deep in a dark era of Rams fandom. Oh, great.

Scioscialism, at least at one point in it’s heyday, brought home some ultimate hardware in the form of a World Series title. Our brothers-in-arms Rams fans haven’t even been lucky enough to taste that glory with Jeff Fisher running things. There was a time when they were the greatest show on turf, and there was a time when the Rally Monkey was a fresh, new meme.

The Rams are far from those days, and the Rally Monkey has gotten old and was almost usurped by a stray alley cat. Be careful what football you may have wished for, Los Angeles. Times have undoubtedly changed, at a frightening, breakneck speed, but you know who HASN’T changed? Mike Scioscia and Jeff Fisher.