There was plenty of speculation that Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey would be fired if his team lost its first playoff game.
Mularkey thought so too.
Mularkey was asked after the Titans’ 22-21 win over the Kansas City Chiefs if he felt secure in his job going into the game.
“No, I haven’t had any support to say that I was,” Mularkey said, according to the Tennessean. “So no, I just assumed the worst.”
That’s a startling quote. If Mularkey felt that uneasy about his job, you have to wonder if one win will save it.
It probably will save his job because that’s how most sports teams operate, even if it’s illogical. How many times have you heard that whichever coach’s future will be determined after a game? It makes no sense. If Marcus Mariota’s wild touchdown pass to himself didn’t land in his hands, or Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith’s deep fourth-down pass with a little more than two minutes left had been 6 inches shorter and caught, would Mularkey then deserve to be fired? Is he a better coach because Mariota was ruled to have his forward progress stopped, negating what looked like a clear fumble? Of course not. But plenty of teams across all sports make important decisions based on results like a big win or loss all the time.
Mularkey was bothered by the talk of his potential firing. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the Titans could pursue Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Titans safety Kevin Byard called the speculation about Mularkey losing his job “comedy,” according to the Tennessean.
“Ridiculous,” Mularkey told the Tennessean. “I can say I don’t think it’s fair to my family. So when it has an effect on my family, it has an effect on me. So yeah, I’d say it had a big effect on me.”
Presumably the win gets Mularkey off the hot seat, as weird as that is if the Titans were going to fire him with a loss on Saturday. And who knows, maybe a win in the divisional round next week might get him an extension.
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