NFL coach firings, even when justified, create unfortunate ripple effects, as referenced here Thursday. On Friday, season two of “All or Nothing,” a documentary about the 2016 Los Angeles Rams, became available for streaming and revealed more brutal realities of coach Jeff Fisher’s firing in December.
Hours after Fisher was fired, he informed his players in a team meeting. Heads bowed and tears flowing, the players were visibly shaken by the news despite its rumored inevitability in the media.
A mournful silence overtook the meeting room in the seconds after Fisher walked out following his final address to the team. That is, until one unnamed, off-camera player spoke up.
“That’s our fault man,” the player could be heard saying. “Y’all just lost the greatest thing next to this team. Y’all ain’t never play in front of a head coach like that.”
Moments later, after Rams executive vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff told the team John Fassel would serve as interim head coach for the final three weeks of the season, All-Pro punter and team captain Johnny Hekker stood and expressed his regret.
“Coach Fish gave us all a chance, men,” a tearful Hekker said to his teammates. “We didn’t do s— with it. It sure hurts. (Fisher) gave us all a shot. We did nothing with it. Moved, it was a distraction, he handled it like a man. He gave us every opportunity we needed. And we didn’t hold each other accountable.
“We cannot sell ourselves short moving forward, guys. As leaders, I mean, I’ve let you guys down. I haven’t been there. I haven’t done my best. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry to Coach Fish. He’s not going to hear it but …
“We all gotta wear it. We all gotta know that that man’s gone because of us.”
The Rams lost the final three games of the season and finished with a 4-12 record.