Jeff Fisher: ‘The Alliance is way ahead’ in terms of preparation
By Cole Thompson
SAN ANTONIO — It’s Saturday morning as Jeff Fisher stands on the 20-yard line at the San Antonio Commanders training camp. He has traded in the playbook for a cellphone, awaiting a call from The Alliance’s CEO, Charlie Ebersol or co-founder Bill Polian.
As the whistle blows, Fisher is walking down the track, greeting players with handshakes and warm smiles. He understands the process of what it’s like for a city to inherit a football team. He has been a part of two moves over the course of his 22-year career as a head coach, once in 1997 and the other in 2016.
“To a certain extent, The Alliance is way ahead of where we were when we moved from Houston to Tennessee,” Fisher said. “This league has facilities and stadiums and venues to play games already in place so it’s been somewhat of an easy process for those who have been patient. Everybody really has been, too. It’s going to be really interesting moving forward and I’m excited to see all the hard work that has gone into putting this league together.”
Perhaps best known for his time with the Tennessee Titans (1995-2010) and the now Los Angeles Rams (2012-16), Fisher is no longer commanding a defense bound for a chance at the Lombardi Trophy. Instead, the 60-year-old coach is now a consultant for the league that will begin its inaugural season on February 9.
Few are as qualified with Fisher’s pedigree to take over the role alongside Ebersol and Polian for a brand new league. Working in the NFL as a member of the competition committee, Fisher is stepping back from the player personnel role and moreso into the structure of the league. Looking at location and finding the proper facilities for team’s to call home, it’s all business now for Fisher, who is excited to be back in the football life.
“I love the game,” Fisher said. “I’ve been really blessed to be apart of the National Football League for so many years and there’s no substitute for getting back on the field, smelling the fresh-cut grass in the morning.”
When Fisher’s coaching career first began, the NFL’s offseason allowed players to work for established teams and have a chance to make the final 53-man roster. With limitations in the programming, along with number of opportunities for players to show their skills, the coach sees The Alliance as an opportunity for players to show the next level what they could offer to a team for the long-term.
“Somebody once told me that the difference between an average player and a good one at the NFL level is about 1,500 snaps,” Fisher said. “That’s literally impossible to do nowadays.
“Everyone likes to lean on the Kurt Warner story. A guy just needed an opportunity. This is what it’s all about, giving players an opportunity but also having a focus on taking care of players. Not just their well being, but also their mental health.”
When Fisher first met with Ebersol and Polian, he knew after several days that The Alliance would differ than any other startup league. He sees the vision moving in the right direction thanks to the men in charge. As The Alliance begins their countdown towards the inaugural snap, Fisher is ready to help take the league to new heights. While no longer holding the whistle and play sheet, his role is vital to help build The Alliance at the national level.
Fisher smiles at the opportunity to be working in football again. Although multiple leagues have failed in the past, Fisher believes The Alliance will succeed due to its different approach to the game and the clientele.
“This league is going to be really unique,” Fisher said. “The thought that has been put into developing this league and to see things in motion now has been really really impressive for me. I’m honored to be a part of this process and help build and help Charlie tie up loose ends and help things go smooth not just for the players and staff, but mainly for the fans.”