The Tennessee Titans have fired former NFL coach of the year Mike Vrabel, the team announced on Tuesday.
Vrabel was appointed as Titans head coach in 2018 and led them to four straight winning seasons, including a trip to the AFC championship game in the 2019 season. Vrabel was named NFL coach of the year in the 2021 season but the team had losing records in 2022 and 2023 – and went 6-18 in his last 24 games – and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Titans want to overhaul their staff. The Titans finished the 2023 season with a 6-11 record, although five of their losses were by four points or fewer.
“I will never shy away from acknowledging that I have unapologetically high expectations for the football team and every aspect of the Titans organization, the team’s controlling owner, Amy Adams Strunk, said in a statement. “Our vision is not simply to produce more wins than losses, it is to regularly compete for championships. While this season was disappointing, I see early signs of progress taking shape. Last year we added a promising young quarterback and several other talented players to our roster. With a coaching search, enviable cap space, and Top 10 draft position, this offseason is as important as any in our history. I’m excited for the weeks and months ahead. We will meet the moment.”
The Titans’ star running back Derrick Henry was surprised when he was told of the firing.
“Wow. Wow. I’m shocked. Coach Vrabel is a leader of men. He is a great coach and teacher,” Henry told the Athletic. “I know he will get another opportunity right away. I look forward to it.”
Vrabel, who won three Super Bowls as a player with the Patriots, has been tipped by some as Bill Belichick’s successor as head coach in New England.
The 48-year-old is the latest head coach to lose his job in recent days after Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders) and Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons) were fired following the end of the regular season. Belichick’s future has been the subject of speculation after the Patriots went 4-13 this season, the team’s worst record during his time in New England.