The Detroit Lions have finally lost one of its coaching staff going into the off-season. With word breaking today that Brandon Fisher is leaving his post as Lions defensive assistant to join his father, Jeff, at the St. Louis Rams, no one is shocked. My guess is that the news will elicit no stronger reaction than a “huh, how about that.”
I’m as jaded as anyone about nepotism, and I am never glad to hear that the boss’s kid has joined the company. Yet I embrace this news from the Fisher camp. I feel good about it. It makes me feel warm and collegial toward the game. What is it about football that supports this reaction? Is it that we tend to liken football clubs to dynasties, and adding the next generation to an elder’s coaching staff is affirming of that notion? Do we gain some sense of cosmic alignment with a family’s multigenerational representation?
I think the bottom line is that football is a family business, from the ownership to the front office to the sidelines and onto the field. Owners groom their children for club chairmanships. Coach-fathers teach the sport to their kids and then teach them the art and nuance of coaching itself. Players beget both players and coaches. Being exposed by immediate family to the game of football generates a unique type of cohesion that seems to translate well to the pro team environment.
If I ever have a son and he’s graced with a high football intellect, I’d be thrilled to see him make an NFL team’s coaching staff, and then I’d be the one indulging in visions of grandchildren intently roaming the sidelines, cementing our legacy as a football family. In the meantime, as a fan, I wish Jeff, Brandon and any subsequent Fisher coaches well. If Brandon proves to have the football acumen, attitude and presence that characterize his dad, he will be an asset to the family business.