Reality series on Rams season shows players took blame for Jeff Fisher's firing

The Rams started 3-1 in 2016, but Jeff Fisher knew that trouble was looming. AP Photo/Steven Senne

LOS ANGELES -- One team official compared the streaming of Amazon's latest "All or Nothing" series to "watching the Titanic sink."

The Los Angeles Rams were bad in 2016, their first season back in Southern California, and the last thing they want to do is relive it all. It's all available for public view now, though. And like a bad car crash, it is painstakingly difficult to look away.

"All or Nothing: A Season with the Los Angeles Rams" became available for streaming for Amazon Prime consumers on Friday. It is the second installment, following the chronicling of a far more successful 2015 Arizona Cardinals team last summer.

The series, produced by NFL Films and narrated by Jon Hamm, began with the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles in early 2016 and ended with the hiring of Sean McVay in early 2017. It included everything in between -- the drafting of Jared Goff, the infamous "7-9 bulls---" speech, the demoralizing Monday Night Football loss, the 3-1 start, the sudden spiral, the sluggish offense and, most prominently, the Jeff Fisher firing.

Throughout, "All or Nothing" portrays a team that stuck together and often struggled with what became a nomadic 2016 calendar year. It gives one a sense for the insane hours the assistants put in and how drastically their lives change when a head coach is let go. It showed how much the players appreciated Fisher and how responsible they felt when he was dismissed.

Below are some of the new developments from the eight-episode series, which aired nearly a year after HBO followed the Rams through training camp with "Hard Knocks."

Fisher's apex: The Rams had easy motivation heading into their Week 4 game. It was against the Cardinals. "We don't like these guys," Fisher told his coaches in the week leading up to it. "Do not like these guys." His staff feasted on that for motivation. In a meeting with his position group, defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson played a soundbite of Cardinals coach Bruce Arians from his postgame news conference after a win over the Rams in 2015, in which he said, "There's an 11-3 team and a team that's always 8-8. You figure it out."

Said Wilson: "This m-----f----- does not respect you."

The Rams implemented a quick-snap cadence called "cheetah," which caught the Cardinals off guard and set the tone in their victory. They were 3-1 and coming off back-to-back road wins, in a position few would've foreseen. But Fisher sensed looming danger because his team was having a hard time stopping the run and getting it going on the ground.

"We're frustrated right now -- not at 3-1, but just frustrated because we have to do better," Fisher told his coaches. "We stay doing what we're doing. We're not going to win another f---ing game."

He had no idea he'd come so close to being right.

Goff's chance: The show dispelled any thought Rams owner Stan Kroenke, or anybody else, pushed Fisher to start Goff in Week 11 against the Dolphins. Before the Week 10 game on the road against the Jets, Fisher broke the news to Kroenke himself. "Either way today, I'm going to go with the rook next week at home," Fisher told him. Case Keenum was making his final start at quarterback that day and didn't even know it.

In the next team meeting, after the announcement had been made, Fisher reminded everyone Keenum was voted a captain before the start of the season.

"You're still a captain," Fisher said to Keenum. "I want to thank you for your energy, your leadership, your commitment, your passion, your desire -- everything you've done to this point."

Downward spiral: As the weeks went on and the losses mounted, backup running back Benny Cunningham huddled the team together in the middle of the practice field.

"This is how I feed my family," Cunningham told the rest of the team. "If we lose the rest of these games, guess what: I'm not going to have a job. You're not going to have a job. You're not going to have a f---ing job. So pick this s--- up."

The Rams never did, of course. They finished the season with seven straight losses. After a 3-1 start, they dropped 11 of 12. During one four-game stretch, they lost by a combined 93 points. Their most demoralizing loss came at home against the Falcons, who beat them 42-12 in Week 14, four days before the Rams had to travel to Seattle to play a Thursday night game. After the game, Fisher told the team, "If you care about each other, if you care about yourselves, if you care about me, you gotta suck it up."

Veteran defensive end William Hayes then addressed the team.

"He put us before he put himself, and this is how we're f---ing repaying him, man," Hayes said. "Y'all don't realize how f---ing good we have it, and then a new m-----f----- comes in, and he wants not one of you m-----f-----s around here."

The firing: "All or Nothing" aired two Fisher meetings in the wake of his firing on Dec. 12: with the coaches and with the players.

"OK, you're going to have some challenges this weekend with respect to injuries," Fisher begins to tell the coaches. "Reggie [Scott, the head athletic trainer] will keep you abreast. Unfortunately I won't be here this weekend. I was just fired."

That's it. Fisher said he would meet with the players at 11:30 and that they shouldn't be told anything until then. The room was stunned and silent. Assistant coach Mike Singletary stood up, looked Fisher in the eyes, shook his hand firmly and said, "Thank you." Later, the coaches all came up individually to hug him.

"I'm going to do my best to hold it together and thank the team," Fisher said. "I appreciate everything you guys have done for this football team and for me and the loyalty that you've shown. It's a freaking shock. Sorry if I let you guys down. You guys didn't let me down. You busted your ass every single day for me."

Below is the speech Fisher gave to the players ...

"We've had some great team meetings over the years, man. Some great ones. This is one that you're probably going to remember because I'm no longer your head coach. I just wanted to say that I love you guys. ... I'm going to walk out of here with my head up high, and I want you guys to do me a favor: finish strong. And this becomes the end of my legacy here. I'm sorry if I let anybody down. I don't think I did, nor did the coaches. But this business is based on wins and losses. I'll tell you this: You have to cherish it every day. Every single day, you have to cherish it. Opportunity to play in this league, and be part of the National Football League, nothing better. Nothing better. Every single day, cherish it. Love your families, love each other. I love you guys. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. But I'll be fine. I'm going fishing."

Rams COO Kevin Demoff then addressed the team. He said the team had great players, great coaches and it merely came down to the wins not being there often enough. He didn't want them to carry any guilt, but they did. All-Pro punter Johnny Hekker spoke to the group while in tears and said they all ruined an opportunity with Fisher. Hayes, who spent eight of his seasons playing under Fisher on two teams, said: "That's our f---ing fault, man. Y'all just lost the greatest thing next to this team. Y'all ain't never going to play in front of a head coach like that."

Carrying on after Fisher: Todd Gurley, his head down, was crying in the meeting when Fisher announced he had been fired. The Rams had three games left in their season, including a quick turnaround in Seattle, and the message to the players was to finish strong for their former head coach and their personal pride.

During one of the practices, offensive coordinator Rob Boras told Goff: "No matter who's coaching you, these guys are gonna do whatever you tell them. It's your team. I don't care who the head coach is. I don't care who the coordinator/position coach is. It's your team. They're gonna do what you tell them. So set the standard now."

"I know," Goff told him. "I've been thinking about it for weeks."

Fisher, with a puppy in his arms, was standing in front of the gate at the team facility when the buses left for the airport a couple of days after his firing, saluting his former team. The Rams never won again. John Fassel, the special-teams coordinator who served as the interim coach, addressed the team after the final game, a 44-6 loss to the Cardinals. His voice cracked.

"For me, the past three weeks and the opportunity to be here in front of all you guys is an opportunity that I'll never forget and an opportunity that I'll never take for granted," Fassel said. "And it just goes to show that at all times, you gotta be ready to jump in and do something that maybe you weren't expected to do. And how you conduct yourself at all times matters. ... I'm proud to be a Ram, men. I'm proud to be a Ram."

McVay and Snead: At one point in the draft room, McVay turned to general manager Les Snead and said, "If the minicamp is any indicator, we hit on our free agents." The series then showed Snead's thought process for his eventual trade with the Bills, in which he moved down from 37th to 44th in order to attain an additional third-round pick. "You don't want to pick early second [round] often," Snead told McVay. "But when you're picking early second, never fall in love with a player. You'll always get an extra third[-round pick]."

McVay, barely three months into the job, later went around the room, reassuring Demoff about what they did in the second and third rounds and then addressing Kroenke. "This will be good," he told him.

Fisher, in the aftermath: In the final episode, "All or Nothing" caught up with Boras, Hayes, Keenum, tight end Lance Kendricks and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in their new cities. The series ends with Fisher, alongside his wife and two of his dogs, at his home a half-hour outside Nashville. He will be a grandfather in September, and because he won't work in the NFL this season, he'll get to be there when the baby is born.

"I gave it my best shot, had fun," Fisher said. "Miss the players. That's what I miss most right now is the players. But they're staying in touch. I want to get back on the sidelines. Not going to happen this year, obviously, but we'll just see what happens. In the interim, this is our life."