The Tennessee Titans' firing of Mike Munchak was botched worse than a tee-less onside kick and had more false starts than Fred Miller.
The will-they-won't-they had all the hesitations of Chris Johnson looking for daylight, and the ball was dropped so much Yancey Thigpen was blushing (wherever he is).
But eventually, the team's second-generation ownership severed ties with their coach of three years. Though it seemed they wanted to keep him, they wanted him to ax some assistants, and that was a bridge too far for Munchak, who, while often out of his depth as a NFL head coach, is a man for whom loyalty is the raison d'être.
It's an admirable quality — like a captain waiting on the deck for his listing ship to succumb to the waves — and if he truly thought this staff is the one that would see this team back to the playoffs, then he should be lauded for sticking to his guns. Such steadfast commitment should come as no surprise from Munchak, the rare man in sports (and in the world at large these days) who has worked for the same company his entire adult life. Now, after three decades, he's dismissed without so much as a gold watch.
But his firing opens a new door for the Titans — one the team has never had since it decamped from Houston.
The next coach will be the first who's truly Two-Tone Blue and not a Luv Ya Blue rehash.
Munchak's predecessor, Jeff Fisher, came with the team from Houston. When he was fired, the team went through the farce of interviewing other candidates — but it was going to be Munchak. The late Bud Adams had his guys, after all, and other than maybe Vince Young, no guy was his more than the Hall of Fame lineman.
Barring the return of Buddy Ryan — which, frankly, would be an inspired choice if the Titans want to be the team everyone is talking about — there's a dearth of coaching candidates with connections to the high-water mark of the Oilers. The organization can no longer use hiraeth as a hiring principle. [Editor's note: "hiraeth" is a Welsh word with no direct English translation that means "homelessness tinged with a yearning for the past." Do you have any idea what it's like to edit this every week?]
So sever the ties, Titans. Wrest yourselves from the web of mediocrity. That love for the Oilers is outsized — a team that won just two championships (and those in the early days of the AFL) and didn't go to a Super Bowl until they moved to Nashville and worked a Miracle. What legacy, exactly, were they trying to graft themselves to? A streak of late '80s divisional round losses?
Why the organization wanted to perpetuate these days is beyond reason. That's because reason had nothing to do with it. The team was Bud Adams' beloved child — and with children, there's no rationalizing.
But that was the old, thrown out ham-fistedly in the form of Munchak falling on his sword for his friends — the perfect metaphor for the death of an old-school way of thinking that was appropriate in the NFL's soft-focus era. In the age of 10-figure revenues, it is charmingly anachronistic at best and dangerously retrograde at worst.
Since there will be no ties to Houston, whoever they hire will necessarily be different from Fisher and Munchak. But he'd better be dramatically different — offensively creative, daring, speedy.
For once, Nashville can get its own coach. And after 15 years of monochrome football, we deserve one who's wearing rhinestones.