A former Los Angeles Rams head coach will be making his USFL debut this weekend - Jeff Fisher, now head coach of the Michigan Panthers.
Fisher coached the Rams for four and a half seasons from 2012 to 2016, and he helped orchestrate the team’s relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles. Interestingly enough, Fisher is the only head coach to assist in multiple NFL franchise relocations - he also helped the Houston Oilers move to Tennessee in 1997.
The former Rams coach notched a 31-45-1 record during his time with the team, but at the time of his departure from Los Angeles he tied Dan Reeves for the most career losses by a head coach in NFL history (165). Reeves coached 18 more games than Fisher over the course of his career, which represents more than a full season in today’s NFL.
But things weren’t all bad in Fisher’s time with the Rams. The long-time NFL head coach took over a historically bad team in 2012, and while they never made it over the hump and became a legitimate contender, Fisher at least made them relevant.
Former number one overall draft selection Sam Bradford was a big draw when Fisher was deciding whether to join the Rams or the Miami Dolphins, but ultimately Fisher’s time with the team was marred by multiple season-ending injuries to the franchise quarterback and the inability to find a replacement.
LA traded up to the number one overall selection in 2016 in order to select quarterback Jared Goff from California, but Goff struggled to find his footing on an already struggling offense. Fisher was fired in December of the 2016 campaign after signing a two-year contract extension just weeks before.
The USFL schedule kicks off on Saturday, April 16th with the New Jersey Generals taking on the Birmingham Stallions. The game is at 4:30pm PT.
The three games on Easter Sunday include:
- Houston Gamblers and Michigan Panthers - 9am PT
- Philadelphia Stars and New Orleans Breakers - 1pm PT
- Tampa Bay Bandits and Pittsburgh Maulers - 5pm PT
IT'S GAME WEEK— USFL (@USFL) April 11, 2022
RT if you can't wait for kickoff this weekend pic.twitter.com/YUIKq6rtf7
Fisher’s team - the Panthers - had the first selection in the USFL draft and they selected quarterback Shea Patterson from Michigan. Patterson will go head to head with Clayton Thorson of Northwestern (selected fifth overall). Thorson was drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, though he never saw action during a regular season contest.
The USFL season is slated to be 10-weeks long with a post-season and championship game.
Yes, with only ten games it does make it mathematically impossible for Fisher’s Panthers to finish 7-9 - though he could find a way to surprise us all.
Will you be watching the USFL opening games this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.