Tennessee Titans Gave Up on Mike Munchak Too Soon

Mike Munchak

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Most people in this country work hard at their job.  But things happen.  People sometimes underachieve or have a poor stretch, performance-wise.  You don’t normally just get fired for a poor sales trip or let go because you didn’t make the company enough money.  So if this is how it works in the real world, why are NFL coaches expected to be perfect?  Why are they expected to achieve unparalleled success with little to no failure?  How can anyone possibly be proficient when they lack the necessary tools to do so?  I give you the ever-changing, roller coaster lifestyle of being an NFL head coach.  Nothing else on the planet exists and operates in this bizarre manner!

A coach in the NFL can take his team to the playoffs every year for four seasons, and then start the next season 0-4 and people want him gone and fired.  It is mind-blowing, craziness.  And it’s the norm!  That’s how NFL teams operate.  Teams will change head coaches every single season.  How on earth can you expect anyone to be successful when they have less than a year to put a system in, acclimate their players to it and try to win enough to please the organization?  And all of this being done with the threat of termination in the back of their minds.  Cities and teams take out full ads on billboards begging for their coach to be fired Week 6 of the regular season.  It’s just absurd.

One of the latest coaches to feel the wrath was Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak.  After only three seasons with the team, the Titans fired Munchak and are now searching for their next victim.  Munchak was 9-7, 6-10 and 7-9 during his short spout with the team. 

When he was hired, experts proclaimed it a great fit for him and that the Titans lucked out getting such a talented coach.  Unfortunately, if you don’t give the coach the tools he needs to win, he never will.  On top of that add the fact that three seasons is not very long to establish yourself. 

Munchak had a fairly successful first season with the Titans and luckily he was retained for a second year.  Not all coaches are this lucky, especially in Cleveland.  The Titans have no one of worth on either side of the ball unless you still count Chris Johnson at running back, who has a good game once in a while. 

The second season in Tennessee didn’t go as well for him.  Then this past season everything was clicking.  The team was 3-1 to start the season and playing well.  Then the injury bug bites.  Down goes your best player Jake Locker and your season is dead.  Yet somehow, Munchak ends up paying for this with his job.  Something clearly out of his control–an injury–derails the team and before you know it, he gets fired. 

The thing is, the teams who consistently do well in this league give their coaches a long leash.  They put up with a few bad years because they’re smart enough to know it takes time to build a franchise!  Good teams have the patience to let a coach try things and be successful. 

The same teams that are consistently poor in this league are always hiring and firing coaches.  Give the coach a chance to build a bad team from the ground up.  When you keep firing coaches for not winning with a team that nobody could win with, all you ever do is rebuild. 

Those teams will never be good and the Titans are just the latest with the firing of Munchak.  They gave up on Mike Munchak too soon and will give the next guy three years to win it all then fire him.  Patience is the name of the game.  Bad teams never learn this from the good teams.  Moral of the story: Munchak is a good coach, but he needed more time and more weapons to turn the sorry Titans into a competitive team.     

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  • Gary

    Wow…this is the most inaccurate article on the Titans/Munchak ever written. Please let me enlighten you.
    1. Munchak was offered an extension AND a $3 Million raise with conditions. Some members of his staff were not qualified and the front office wanted Munchak to fire them. He refused! So in fact, he actually quit. He hired his close friends and didn’t have it in him to let them go even when he knows their performance was poor.
    2. As far as your comment about having no one of worth on either side of the ball except Chris Johnson tells me you don’t watch the Titans or read for that matter.

    Alterraun Verner – CB just made the Pro Bowl. 5 INT’s on the season
    Jurrell Casey – DT racked up 10.5 sacks and didn’t even play in the last game.
    Kendall Wright – WR had a 1,079 yards receiving (If you don’t know, that’s good!)
    Nate Washing – WR had 919 yards receiving
    Bernard Pollard – SS lead the team in tackles and had 3 INT’s
    Zach Brown – OLB 2nd in tackles and 4 sacks
    Derrick Morgan – DE Had 6 sacks

    The point is that there is talent on this team on BOTH sides of the ball and Munchak underachieved with this talent not because he’s a bad coach, it’s because he didn’t hire the right staff members. He hired his close friend Bruce Matthews to be the OL coach (with very little experience in the position) and the OL was terrible even after spending nearly $100 million, most of which went into rebuilding the offensive line and they still struggled. The talent is there, they’re not coached was well as they should be. During the season he expressed that he would spend more time helping the OL. Why? Because Matthews wasn’t getting it done. A head coach hires people to do that for him so he can focus on other stuff. He hired another close friend as his LB coach. He was coaching High School at the time when Munchak hired him. How was LB play this season? Terrible!
    Munchak hired Jerry Gray, a former Houston Oiler player and friend to the DC. Under Gray, the defense was the worst unit ever in the history of the Titans organization. So what does Munchak do? He hires Gregg Williams as senior defensive assistant and KEEPS Gray as DC. Why had two DC on staff? Normally, you would fire one guy and hire new guy. Not Munchak, so the front office made numerous conditions on their offer to extend his contract and raise. Munchak couldn’t go along with it. He just couldn’t bring himself to fire his buds. Munchak is a good coach, and can lead men. His downfall was his staff and the fact that he hired people he liked instead of hiring the best possible, most qualified individuals. Four of the assistants that the front office wanted to fire were: Dowell Loggains – OC, Jerry Gray – DC, Bruce Matthews – OL and Chet Parlavecchio – LB and their may have been more but as a Titans fan and someone who actually watch them play, I agree with the front office.

    • Dave Galleher

      Thanks for reading. Keep Rantin!