Jeff Fisher clarifies television timeout remarks, wanted game to end
So we created a mini-controversy this morning after passing along Titans coach Jeff Fisher’s words about the odd ending to Monday night’s game.
Now it’s time to wrap a bow on the issue.
A quick recap: Fisher said he was asked to use his timeouts late in the contest because the game was short on television breaks. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio wound up calling timeouts, leading to Chris Johnson’s late touchdown and some unfortunate Trent Edwards playing time.
Since we made the post, ESPN told us in a statement they “did not directly or indirectly ask the coaches to take a timeout during the game.”
That’s true, but the story is a little more complicated. We’ll let Fisher explain it.
“At the two-minute warning in every game in the fourth quarter, there are conversations that go by,” Fisher said Tuesday via Terry McCormick of Titans Insider. “There’s conversations that take place at the two-minute warning before the first half. But there’s conversations that take place, and it’s the official’s responsibility to give the head coach a status of commercials and TV timeouts.
“Yesterday, I was told that they were two short. And they looked at me and smiled, and I said, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you.’ [Official] Mike Carey came across and said, ‘Here’s the deal. We’re two short.’ And I said, ‘Mike, I can’t help you. I’m trying to get a first down and I’m gonna kneel on it.’”
A source tells us that it’s not unprecedented for the league to take steps in order to get TV timeouts in. Carey is an experienced official and was likely searching for a way to get the breaks in, with possible input from the NFL.
After the game, Fisher seemed to be in on a private joke when he talked about the timeouts. We suspect Fisher may have been having a wee bit of fun at Del Rio’s expense. We’ve heard from folks who think the Titans were rubbing it in by re-inserting Johnson into the game, but Fisher insists he just wanted the game to end.
Since Del Rio didn’t let that happen, Fisher tried to score.
“Jack [Del Rio] used his timeouts. Whether Jack used his timeouts because the official said we’re two commercials short, or he used them to stop the clock to get his quarterback Trent Edwards some reps remains to be seen,” Fisher said.
“My feeling is I had no issue with him using the timeouts. I completely understand. You’ve got a backup quarterback in that’s been there for what, two weeks, and he wants to get him some reps. So I completely understand it, even though the game was out of reach.”