After teaming up for eight successful seasons as player and coach with the Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers, Eddie George, and Jeff Fisher will be pitted against one another as head coaches for the 2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
The 11th annual installment of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will take place on January 28 at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium in California and air live on NFL Network at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT. George will lead the National Team, while Fisher returns for a second year in a row to lead the American Team.
Between them, George and Fisher boast 25 years of coaching experience, 14 seasons as NFL players, a Super Bowl ring, and two other Super Bowl appearances, ensuring that there will be plenty of wisdom to go around for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl participants.
“I’ve witnessed firsthand the caliber of players who come through the Collegiate Bowl, as well as the top-notch experience, provided them by the NFLPA in teaching the business of football,” said George, who has coached the Tennessee State University football team for the past two seasons. “It’s a great honor to now be a head coach in the game – and to do it with and against my former NFL coach makes it that much more exciting.”
One of the most prolific rushers in NCAA and NFL history, George was selected as the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner after racking up a school-record 1,927 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground for Ohio State.
As a first-round selection by Fisher and the Oilers (now the Titans), the physical rusher found more success at the pro level. Following a 1996 campaign that saw him earn NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, George went on to make four Pro Bowl teams, lead the Titans to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIV and served on the NFLPA Executive Committee from 1997-2004.
The All-Pro rusher retired from the NFL in 2006, capping a nine-season career with the Oilers/Titans and Dallas Cowboys. As a member of the Titans/Oilers Ring of Honor, he remains the franchise career leader in rushing yards (10,009) and touchdowns (74).
Fisher also left his mark in the Titans record books, but the Los Angeles native’s football career began in earnest at the site of the Collegiate Bowl. As a member of the University of Southern California football team, he played in – and won — the 1978 and 1979 Rose Bowls. More hardware came at the professional level, as he triumphed in Super Bowl XX as a defensive back and return specialist for the Chicago Bears.
His defensive prowess pushed him to the NFL coaching ranks, where he had several stints as a defensive assistant for the Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers before taking over as head coach of the then-Houston Oilers during the 1994 season.
Fisher went on to coach 16 more years for the franchise, which changed their name to Tennessee Titans, and made a run to the Super Bowl XXXIV with the likes of George and quarterback Steve McNair during the 1999 season. After achieving six playoff appearances, three division titles, 2008 Maxwell Club Coach of the Year honors, and becoming the winningest coach in franchise history with 147 victories, Fisher moved on to coach the St. Louis Rams from 2012 to 2016.
The duo reunited in 2021, when Fisher joined George’s staff as an advisor at Tennessee State. With the resurrection of the USFL, Fisher returned to the helm in January 2022 as the current head coach and general manager for the Michigan Panthers.
“I was really excited when I was approached about coaching the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl prospects for a second consecutive year,” said Fisher, whose team came up just short during a 25-24 loss in the 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. “My experience last year was extraordinary.
“It was a first-class event that included great food, top-notch hotel accommodations, and an amazing support staff,” Fisher added. “I also loved getting the opportunity to spend time with the former players as they coached and prepared the team not only to compete in the game but also to showcase their ability in front of scouts during the week. This experience definitely prepares the players for what’s ahead this coming spring and beyond.”
For the latest news and updates on the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, visit the game’s website and follow @NFLPABowl on Twitter and Instagram.