In an unexpected move on Tuesday, the Tennessee Titans fired head coach Mike Vrabel, marking the beginning of what should be a significant reconstruction for the team.
Throughout his six seasons as head coach, Vrabel guided the Titans to a 54-45 record. From 2019 to 21, he guided Tennessee to three straight postseason trips, which included a trip to the AFC title game in 2019.
Only a few days have passed since Mike Vrabel, 48, led Tennessee to an upset victory over the AFC South rival Jaguars in Week 18.
However, the Titans’ recent 6-11 record and subsequent absence from the postseason for the second straight season have many wondering about Vrabel’s future and that of general manager Ran Carthon.
As he informed Coach Mike Vrabel, Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk stated in a team statement that this was the most difficult choice he had ever had to make in his capacity as controlling owner.
Strunk continued, saying that he valued Mike’s efforts to the Tennessee Titans on as well as off the field and that everyone who had the pleasure of knowing Vrabel understood how sincere and passionate he was, in addition to being a pillar of the Nashville community.
The teams that empower an integrated and collaborative team across all football departments will be the ones best positioned for sustainable success, according to Strunk, as the NFL continues to develop and grow.
He continued, saying that to carry out that goal, they started to change the way they approached football leadership last year and made several personnel adjustments.
Strunk continued by saying that he kept evaluating the team’s condition and came to the conclusion that the group would gain from a new coaching staff’s perspective and a new approach.
Since they made it to the 2019 AFC championship game and lost to the Chiefs, the Titans have also not won a postseason game. Despite earning the best postseason seed in the AFC, Tennessee was defeated at home by the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round of the 2021 playoffs, after losing to the Ravens in the 2020 wild-card round.
Mike Vrabel’s last two seasons were marred by quarterback issues. After losing seven straight games and witnessing the Jaguars win the AFC South due to Ryan Tannehill’s injury and the struggles of the other Titans quarterbacks, the Titans, who had a 7-3 record going into the 2022 season, were eliminated from the playoff chase.
The veteran linebacker with the New England Patriots, Vrabel, rose swiftly up the coaching ranks and was appointed head coach of the Titans in 2018. His head coaching career began with four straight winning seasons.
Mike Vrabel found himself under pressure as the 2023 season progressed and the team kept losing. Now that Vrabel has a head coaching track record, the five other teams with openings find him to be a compelling possibility.
Why Titans Fired Mike Vrabel?
The Tennessean was told by a person with knowledge of the matter that Adams Strunk’s decision to terminate Vrabel was indicative of a pattern seen throughout the NFL in regards to front offices and coaching staff working together.
The source cited the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, and Philadelphia Eagles as examples of organizations whose ideologies didn’t align with Adams Strunk’s and the Titans’ plans for the franchise’s future.
Even though the source claimed they never saw conflict between Vrabel and Carthon and that they “got along fine,” the choice was made because Vrabel’s approach to managing a team more closely resembles the New England model, in which one person has the majority of the decision-making authority.