Longtime NFL coach Jeff Fisher is returning to the sidelines after a half-decade away from the game. The United States Football League’s Michigan Panthers named Fisher its head coach on Thursday.
Fisher, 63, last coached with the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. He was fired midseason that year after compiling a 4-9 record, ensuring the Rams would not have a winning season during his entire five-year tenure with the team, which moved back to L.A. in 2016 from St. Louis.
Before his forgettable stint with the Rams, Fisher coached the Tennessee Titans organization for 17 seasons and reached the Super Bowl in 1999. Fisher went 142-120 with the Titans but mustered only 31 wins over his 77 games with the Rams.
Fisher joins a stacked list of former NFL and college coaches in the USFL: former Arizona Cardinals coach Todd Haley (Tampa Bay Bandits), former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin (Houston Gamblers), former Nebraska coach Mike Riley (New Jersey Generals), former North Carolina coach Larry Fedora (New Orleans Breakers), former Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz (Birmingham Stallions), former Steelers assistant Kirby Wilson (Pittsburgh Maulers) and former Titans assistant Bart Andrus (Philadelphia Stars).
The USFL, which has no affiliation to the previous USFL, will begin its inaugural season on April 16. Fisher’s Panthers will compete among eight teams with all games being played in Birmingham, Alabama.
A fixture within the NFL for over two decades, Fisher owns the 12th most coaching wins in league history with 173. His win-loss percentage of .512, however, ranks last among the 30 winningest coaches.
Fisher, who became a punchline of sorts with the Rams for winning a mere seven games in three of his four full seasons, will surely hope to reshape his image in the USFL.