After guiding his team to a thrilling playoff win over the Chiefs yesterday, Titans head coach Mike Mularkey received assurance that he will be back in Tennessee next season, as Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com writes.
Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk issued the following statement on the matter:
“Our mantra all season has been to take things week by week and not get ahead of ourselves and it obviously has served us well. I regret that outside rumors gained a life of their own. No one has been a bigger supporter of Mike Mularkey than I have over the last two plus seasons. Mike and [GM] Jon [Robinson] have changed the culture of our team and organization and I am so happy we have been able to bring success on the field to our fans – winning 19 games over the last two seasons, including our first playoff win in nine years. Just to eliminate any distractions moving forward, Mike Mularkey is our head coach and will be our head coach moving forward. We still have work to be done, including this week, but I am looking forward to the journey.”
Mularkey, of course, was rumored to be on the hot seat even though the Titans made the playoffs this year. If his team had lost yesterday, he may have been fired, as the team was reportedly frustrated with the way QB Marcus Mariota was progressing. Mariota did indeed take a step backwards in 2017 after an excellent 2016, but he played well yesterday in guiding the Titans to a comeback victory. Had Mularkey been fired, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels was said to be Tennessee’s top choice to replace him.
Following underwhelming stints in Buffalo and Jacksonville, Mularkey replaced Ken Whisenhunt as the Titans head coach midway through the 2015 season. He went 2-7 during the remainder of that campaign, but he’s led his team to 9-7 records over the past two seasons. He faces exceedingly long odds to take Tennessee back to the Super Bowl, but even if he cannot achieve that goal this year, he will get another shot next season.
ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the Titans’ players immensely respect and appreciate Mularkey, which certainly helped secure his return.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.