Bill Belichick vs Jeff Fisher…
It’s not even kind of close.
Still the rivalry between Belichick and Fisher exists, just not on the football field.
It’s hard for a regular season game to be memorable. It’s easy for most of the games to all fade together. It’s even more rare for a non competitive regular season game to be memorable. Nonetheless, I still remember exactly where I was when the Patriots annihilated Jeff Fisher’s Titans 59-0. I remember being at The 99 restaurant constantly getting up from my seat to run to the bar TV to watch the Patriots put up touchdown after touchdown, with the Titans unable to stop them. After the game, Belichick said “We’re not trying to do anything but run our offense.” Bill would never give the real answer, but it was obvious, Bill wanted to embarrass Jeff Fisher.
It was the first meeting between Belichick and Fisher since Spygate. Fisher was a big part of the competition committee that came down hard on the Patriots. “There’s no place for it” Fisher said of Spygate. “Everybody clearly understands the rules.” Bill responded to the comments by handing Fisher the worst loss of his career. Never for a second taking his foot off the gas. Up 52-0 in the 4th quarter, Bill went for it on 4th & 6, converted, and scored another touchdown on that drive. He made it no secret that he was trying to run up the score, and Fisher couldn’t do anything about it.
But it isn’t just Spygate that gets Bill up for these Fisher games, Bill Belichick and Jeff Fisher have never seen eye to eye on anything. They are exact opposites. Throughout their careers, whenever Fisher goes one way, Belichick goes the other. Fisher is buddy buddy with the league. Belichick is constantly clashing with them. Belichick wants more plays reviewable. Fisher thinks the notion is ludicrous. Belichick wanted the extra point moved back. Fisher thought it was fine the way it was. They both take such subtle, passive aggressive jabs at each other, and we hardly notice when it happens. While answering questions about the competition committee meetings at the draft combine in 2015, Fisher went into detail about the topic of what plays should be reviewable. Fisher talked about how making penalties reviewable could cause confusion, because it could lead to ticky tac reviews. Fisher then said “Then there’s those who want anything and everything reviewable”. You might not be able to tell, but Fisher was referring to Belichick who, just one month later, tried to convince the competition committee to make every play reviewable.
The jabbing continued later on into the year after the Patriots played the Broncos and Belichick was asked about some questionable offensive pass interference calls on TE Rob Gronkowski. “Talk to the league, I’m sure they have all the answers on that.” You might not be able to tell, but Belichick is referring to Fisher. If those plays had been reviewable, perhaps Belichick could have avoided the penalty, but Jeff Fisher and the rest of the competition committee didn’t want the rule to change. They even disagreed on moving the extra point back. Ultimately, Belichick got it his way, and the extra point was moved back, but not before Fisher could chime in saying “Personally, I don’t want to kick a 19-yard field goal to win a game and then miss a 35-yard extra point in Green Bay when it’s 20 degrees to lose a game” If it hasn’t been made clear already, Belichick and Fisher disagree on absolutely E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
There’s been a good amount of hatred between the teams of the two head coaches as well. After the Patriots beat the Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs in 2003, Titans guard Zach Piller said the Patriots defense sucked adding “I’d be a shock to me if they were holding the trophy at the end of all of this. I will not leave this stadium thinking we got beat by a better team. I think that that team is not a very good team and it sickens me that we lost to them.” Last year, former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison took aim at Fisher after he thought the Rams went out with the intent to injure Teddy Bridgewater. Fisher responded by calling Harrison one of the dirtiest players of all time, listing all the fines Harrison received over his career. Harrison claimed all of Fisher’s teams were dirty. He also says in 2006 Fisher’s Titans tried to injure him, claiming that Titans player Bobby Wade went after him and the sideline was laughing and joking.
Belichick and Fisher have each been a head coach in the NFL for 22 seasons. Their careers over that time could not be more different. Belichick has been the class of the league and Fisher has somehow survived year after year despite his lack of success. When they meet on the field, it's no contest. Belichick has outscored Fisher 59-0 and 45-7 in their last 2 contests. While Belichick will be remembered for winning multiple Super Bowl championships, Fisher will be remembered for his losing. From 1 yard short, to the 8-8 jokes, Fisher will always be the guy who could never get over the hump. They are the NFL's Ying and Yang. Fisher is just 3 losses away from being the losing-est coach in NFL history. Belichick is 4th all time in wins. Belichick has one of the best passing attacks of all time. Fisher plays through his run game. Belichick refuses to draft skill position players with his first few picks. Fisher drafted a running back and wide receiver top 10 in his last few drafts. Shall I go on?