On Saturday, Mike Mularkey coached the Tennessee Titans to a road loss to the New England Patriots. On Sunday, he reportedly had a contract extension on the table. On Monday, it was gone, and so is Mularkey as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans.
Life moves pretty quickly in the NFL.
Field Yates of ESPN reported Monday morning the Titans and Mularkey mutually agreed to go their separate ways. This, of course, contrasted the reports about Mularkey circling Sunday.
Filed to ESPN: the Titans and head coach Mike Mularkey have mutually agreed to part ways, according to a league source.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 15, 2018
It was quite a turn of events followed by a seemingly turn of events for the Titans. Heading into the postseason, it was rumored Mularkey would be coaching for his job with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs likely resulting in a quick dismissal once the team returned home. But the Titans winning on the road against the Chiefs resulted in the thought Mularkey may have saved his job no matter what happened against the Patriots. A day after losing to the Patriots, Mularkey reportedly had a contract extension all but signed. So what changed in the last 24 hours for the Titans?
Was there simply cold feet by the organization or from Mularkey before finalizing an extension? Did the Titans scan the coaching carousel a bit more to see what potential options could be made available, including Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels? McDaniels certainly has some options to potentially explore.
So Josh McDaniels goes from being a favorite in Indianapolis….to being a favorite in Tennessee. McDaniels will be getting an HC job.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 15, 2018
As is so often the case when a coach loses his job, it appears there was a difference in opinion in what is the best way for the Titans to make the next step toward competing for an AFC title and a Super Bowl.
“In fact, 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,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a released statement. “It is certainly unfortunate that we couldn’t find enough common ground. I generally believe that continuity is the best path for success, but I also view this as an important moment for our football team as we try to make that next step to sustained success on the field. Jon will begin the search immediately to identify that person.”
The Titans are coming off consecutive 9-7 seasons and are already facing the pressure of thriving with Marcus Mariota at quarterback. In a year that will see Blake Bortles lead division rival Jacksonville into the AFC Championship Game and Nick Foles vs. Case Keenum in the NFC Championship Game and the rise of young quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and (another division rival) Deshaun Watson, you can sense some urgency for the Titans to not mess up their time with Mariota.