He started the 2012 season 4-0 with the Cardinals. He has since gone 4-31 in Arizona (1-11) and Tennessee (3-20). And Ken Whisenhunt is no longer the coach of the Titans.
“After thoughtful consideration, the decision has been made to relieve Ken Whisenhunt of his head coaching duties,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a release. “We have expected more progress on the field, and I felt it was time to move in a different direction. I would like to thank Ken for his efforts with our team, as he worked very hard to try to move us forward.”
Despite the team’s futility under Whisenhunt, no one saw this one coming -- possibly because the Titans have been mostly competitive despite losing so many games in year, and possibly because the franchise continues to be nationally irrelevant.
Mike Mularkey, previously the head coach of the Bills and Jaguars and most recently the assistant head coach/tight ends in Tennessee, takes over for Whisenhunt. The move comes not during a bye week but as the Titans prepare for a trip to New Orleans to take on the 4-4 Saints, winners of three in a row.
In both of Whisenhunt’s seasons with the Titans, the team won its first game of the season before embarking on lengthy losing streaks. From 2-0 in the opening game to 1-20 in all others, the Titans opted to make a move at a time when no one saw such a move coming.
For Whisenhunt, the termination continues a stunning regression. He took the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl appearance in 2008 and he lasted with the team for six years, matching Jim Hanifan as the longest-tenured coaches in club history.
In 2013, Whisenhunt produced solid reviews for his work as offensive coordinator with the Chargers, and his sudden availability could prompt a contending to consider adding him as an offensive consultant for the stretch run.