After a season-ending 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs on Saturday, the Titans parted ways with head coach Mike Mularkey.
This comes a day after a report that the Titans were in some fairly unpopular discussions to extend Mularkey. But, the organization finally got hold of the big picture, instead going separate ways with the coach after he compiled an underperforming 20-21 record since first becoming interim coach in 2015.
“It was just a prank guys lol, got you!”
This also came after it was reported that the Titans were going to fire Mularkey after the season to begin with after limping to a 9-7 record, but after a classic 22-21 Wild Card round comeback win at Kansas City, the Titans initially had a change of heart before going back to their original decision.
In an official statement, the Titans said that the departure comes after the “two parties couldn’t come to an agreement over the future.”
More from Amy Adams Strunk on Mularkey:
"We did discuss extending his future with our team over the past week, but in those discussions about the direction of the team, it became evident that we saw different paths to achieve greater success."
-> https://t.co/BjJrh8nSFD@Titans pic.twitter.com/lDlRVSH7m6
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) January 15, 2018
The discussions most likely broke down over disagreements regarding the future of offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie and the direction Mularkey saw the team taking next season and beyond.
Titans fans have been critical of Mularkey and Robiskie’s offense for most of the season, as star quarterback Marcus Mariota has seen his stats regress and was arguably handcuffed in a limited offensive scheme.
Fans also were frustrated with the coaching staff still favoring running back Demarco Murray despite second-year back Derrick Henry showcasing that he was the superior of the two in almost all facets by the end of the season.
Reaction to the news on Twitter has been positive, with most praising the move and becoming optimistic for the future:
I honestly dont think #Titans fans hate Mularkey. I think they hated his refusal to bring in a better OC
— Silky Johnson (@Me_Grimlockk) January 15, 2018
Mood #TitanUp pic.twitter.com/VGWygssj64
— Davey Hudson (@Davey_Hudson) January 15, 2018
-Good QB in place
Let's go get a baller, @Titans.
— Houston Kress (@VolRumorMill) January 15, 2018
Thank you to Mike Mularkey.
Thank you for stabilizing this franchise.
Thank you for introducing a culture of accountability and toughness.
Thank you for pushing this team towards relevancy and cleaning up Whiz’s mess.
Thank you, and good luck.
— Blake (@_BlakeTucker) January 15, 2018
Mike Mularkey is out?! It’s Christmas for @titans fans! Credit to ownership. Mularkey saying no staff changes had to be deal breaker.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 15, 2018
So reports that AAS liked Mularkey but Robinson was able to convince her to make the change. HUGE props to her for being willing to listen and change course!!!1 I will tolerate NO MORE complaining about the ownership here!
— Music City Miracles (@TitansMCM) January 15, 2018
As for the next move for the Titans, reports are that their No. 1 target will be New England Patriots OC Josh McDaniels and the former Broncos head coach seems to be interested as well:
And there are some, of course, who think that the Titans should try for a seismic move:
If Amy Adams Strunk wants to become the biggest Tennessee legend since Davy Crockett you know how? Hire Nick Saban. Can you imagine the reaction? And can you imagine if Saban & I suddenly become boys? Just hanging out motherfucking everyone dumber than us all day long? Glorious.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 15, 2018
As for the future of Mularkey? Well, it’s obvious he was not cut out to be the head man in Nashville for the long haul, but this seems a little extreme:
One potential landing spot for former #Titans coach Mike Mularkey: The offensive coordinator to #Browns coach Hue Jackson. There was interest if Mularkey ever became available.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 15, 2018
Overall, this was a fantastic and much-needed move by the Titans, an organization that has not been known for such moves for the better part of the last decade, especially when it comes to coaching decisions. The pieces are all there for the franchise to become a consistent contender in the AFC moving forward — all that’s missing is a coach who can take them there.
With the Colts and Texans down this season, the opportunity presented itself for Mularkey and staff to take the AFC South and get a playoff seed that was higher than what they ended up with, but he just couldn’t take advantage.
Titans fans should be thankful that Strunk and Robinson weren’t blinded by the miraculous Wild Card win and had the foresight to see the big picture.