Like it or not, Mike Mularkey is the new head coach of the Tennessee Titans and based on the reaction of fans on social media Saturday evening after the announcement became public, fans are dismayed, disgruntled and down right mad about the decision.
That reaction was expected as earlier in the day Saturday I posted a question about Mularkey to social media and the reaction was far from positive. It was the same way over the last two weeks everytime I stated my feeling that Mularkey would eventually be named head coach.
The reaction is certainly understandable when you look at Mularkey's record as a head coach in the NFL. It is certainly not Belichickian, and there is not a lot there to inspire confidence that this time will be different.
Fans have lost patience with this franchise and this moves seems like yet another slap in the face to those who support this team with their hard earned dollars that purchase season tickets, individual tickets, concessions at games and merchandise.
Media flamethrower Clay Travis jumped on the Titans immediately when he took to Twitter to announce this was the worst hire in the history of sports.
While it might not be quite that bad, there is certainly cause for concern from fans but there are also reasons for optimism.
People point to Bill Belichick as the gold standard of NFL coaching, and rightfully so but just how good would he have been all these years without Tom Brady. His record wasn't good before Brady, and we may one day get the chance to see what it will be after Brady.
Mularkey has never had a franchise quarterback in his previous two head coaching jobs. His teams were searching to find their guy. He has that guy in the Titans #8 Marcus Mariota.
The same fans who are so dissapointed with the hiring of Mularkey were excited about the announcement of Jon Robinson as the new general manager. If Robinson is the guy people believe he is then shouldn't people allow him time to improve the roster to see what he can give Mularkey before we pass judgement on what the coach can do going forward.
Mularkey took over a difficult situation to be sure. He inherited a struggling team with a bad offensive line, a rookie quarterback and a slew of injuries to some key players. He also was working with coaches hired by his predecessor and with that predecessors offensive system.
His results on the scoreboard were not good and there is no denyining that. However there were some improvements in areas that should be acknowldeged and applauded. After all, if you are going to knock Mularkey's record as a head coach, then fairness dictates that you compliment the positives of what he did during his interim season.
Make no mistake, I'm in now way advocating for Mularkey or saying I agree with the decision. My opinion will remain with me and those people closest to me who I share such things with. In my professional capacity I try to be objective and look at the good and bad.
Mularkey's coaching record is bad, but given the positives one can see where the ownership group liked the things he did in a tough spot.
At the same time I can see where fans wanted the team to wait and interview a possible top candidate like Josh McDaniels the offensive coordinator of the Patriots.
One fan lamented on social media how the only four coaches interviewed from an reported list of 155 candidates were Mularkey, Doug Marrone, Teryl Austin and Ray Horton. A valid point and one that will likely be asked on Monday when the Titans hold the press conference to announce Mularkey and Robinson.
There are certainly many questions that can, and should be asked concerning this decision but the answers will not likely satisfy the curiosity of fans. That's just how the Titans are, they answer how they want and don't really care if people like the answers. We have come to know and accept that over the years.
I write all of this to come to one final point.
It's ok to be impatient and want to win more now. That's what we all want, but at the same time the fans should not remain patient but must allow Robinson a chance that he has earned as the new guy to begin to build this team how he feels it needs to be built.
Mularkey has a much shorter leash, and if he can not show marked improvement with the talent he will be given then we could be facing another coaching search next season. That won't sit well with fans but it might not be the worst thing either.
It's up to Robinson and fans should be prepared to be patient with him in making over this roster because it can't, and won't happen over night.
In the mean time, settle in and await the official beginning of the Mike Mularkey era as the Titans head coach.