Should Norv Turner be fired as head coach of the San Diego Chargers?
Of course it’s not going to happen; not with his good buddy A.J. Smith as the general manager.
But should it happen in the wake of Sunday’s 17-14 stunning upset loss to the New York Jets in the AFC Divisional playoffs?
History says yes, at least according to Smith’s logic.
Three years ago, Marty Schottenheimer was fired after a 24-21 AFC Divisional loss (also at home) to the three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Schottenheimer went 14-2 that year, but it wasn’t good enough to keep his job.
Sure, Turner is 3-3 in the playoffs for San Diego; Schottenheimer was 0-2. But that’s what you expected with Schottenheimer, a guy who historically turned around bad teams and lost in the playoffs.
The Chargers were 23-57 in the five years preceding Schottenheimer. He then went 47-35 the next five years, including the playoffs. (Quite a turnaround, indeed.)
With Turner, the Chargers haven’t taken it to the next level. He took over a loaded team yet has only advanced past the Divisional round one more time than his predecessor.
And this season’s 17-14 loss to the Jets was reminiscent – and perhaps as bad – as what is perceived to be the worst playoff loss in Chargers history, a similar 17-14 defeat to the undermanned Houston Oilers in 1979. The Oilers were minus QB Dan Pastorini, RB Earl Campbell and WR Ken Burroughs due to injury but still won as Dan Fouts of San Diego threw five interceptions.
Jets coach Rex Ryan knew what he was talking about when he said the Chargers were "due" for a bad game this weekend. After all, Philip Rivers had his worst game in months (two interceptions, 76.9 passer rating) and Nate Keading, with the best field goal percentage in history, missed three kicks vs. New York.
Stupidity also played a part vs. the Jets. How else do you explain Shaun Phillips being penalized for a head butt or Vincent Jackson drawing a 15-yard flag for kicking a challenge flag thrown by Ryan?
Back to the original question: Will Turner be let go? Answer: Not likely.
Should he go? Let history do the talking.