Los Angeles Rams fire head coach Jeff Fisher after five losing seasons

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams have fired coach Jeff Fisher after nearly five losing seasons leading the franchise.

The move comes as a surprise because the team had recently announced they had signed him to a three-year extension before this season. But the Rams have been an uninspiring failure in their return to LA with a 4-9 record after Sunday’s dismal 42-14 home loss to Atlanta during which Fisher was booed by the Coliseum crowd.

“He has worked tirelessly despite some challenging circumstances,” Rams owner Stan Kroenke said in a statement released by the team. “He played an integral role in helping this team make history in returning the NFL to Los Angeles, and we always will be grateful for his commitment and dedication to our organization. However, this is the right time to make a change as our performance has not lived up to my or our fans’ expectations. We all are focused on improving as an organization and building a team that makes Los Angeles proud. Our mission is to celebrate a Super Bowl title with our fans in Los Angeles.

“Today is the first step to bringing us closer to that goal.”

The Rams will have a press conference later on Monday in which they are expected to name an interim coach.

Aside from Sunday’s loss the timing is odd for Fisher’s firing. Los Angeles has a game on Thursday night against division rival Seattle – ironically, a team his Rams have played well against in recent years.

When the team relocated from St Louis this offseason, the arrival was supposed to be a great homecoming for Fisher, who grew up in the Los Angeles community of Woodland Hills and played college football in the Coliseum for the University of Southern California. But Rams fans were skeptical of Fisher given his 27-34 record in four seasons in St Louis and immediately began wondering why the team couldn’t start fresh in LA with a new coach. That skepticism turned to outrage when Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, a Rams great when the team was previously in the LA area, blasted Fisher on his radio show in November and wondered aloud why the team continued to employ the coach.

The Rams announced the contract extension last week in apparent hopes of stemming the discontent. But the team’s downfall, including poor play from the top pick in this spring’s draft, Jared Goff, seemed to doom Fisher, who had won six division titles in 16 years as coach of the Tennessee Titans before joining the Rams.

At least the Rams did do him one favor. He leaves the team, and probably head coaching, tied with Dan Reeves for the most losses by a head coach in NFL history with 165.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Les Carpenter, for theguardian.com on Monday 12th December 2016 20.49 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010