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Why San Diego Chargers Signed Norv Turner To Three-Year Extension

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Photo from RMTip21 via Flickr

Photo from RMTip21 via Flickr

The San Diego Chargers’ CEO Dean Spanos and General Manager A.J. Smith have made the biggest desperation move in Super Charger history. The three-year extension signed by Norv Turner only makes sense in one big way, and that’s money.

For an organization to re-sign a head coach who has consistently been outcoached in the playoffs to a three-year extension so quickly is absolutely dumbfounding. My mind hurt when I found out Norv Turner was signed to a three-year extension within a day of losing to the less-talented Jets.

I was still trying to get over the heartbreaking Charger loss, and now this.

After considering the Chargers‘ biggest obstacle to future success—the resigning of free agents Shawne Merriman, Darren Sproles, Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill, Jeromey Clary, Malcom Floyd, Mike Tolbert, and the decision to keep LaDainian Tomlinson, money seems to be the most logical reasoning behind the move.

San Diego is faced with a huge obstacle this offseason – forking over money to keep the Chargers’ best players – and have made it easier on themselves by re-signing Norv Turner.

The Chargers past offseasons haven’t reflected the monetary aggressiveness needed for what’s necessary in the offseason. And keeping a head coach that everyone gets along with can make the decision easier for players to stay.

I was the first one to text my friends about the elementary play-calling against the Jets and how running two-back sets played into the hands of the New York blitz, but Turner’s offensive scheme fits so well.

Turner hasn’t had the best winning track record, but his recent success coaching Rivers and one of the most potent offenses in the league was another reason to re-sign him. Turner is the best option and has proven success with the Chargers’ explosive offense.

I know most fans want a coach who brings more intensity to the locker room, like Bill Cowher, but he doesn’t fit our offensive scheme. And San Diego will need to spend more money for an offensive coordinator.

Along with the ability to head coach, Turner takes the role of quarterback coach and offensive coach, which means you’re getting a three-for-one savings—a similar reason for the signing of Chan Gailey to the Buffalo Bills.

In the long run, the Chargers could also save money with one year left on Turner’s contract before the re-signing. That is banking on the Chargers winning it all within the next year. If the Chargers were to win it all next year, then they would have to re-sign Turner to a bigger contract. It is always cheaper to sign a head coach after a disappointing season than after winning the Super Bowl.

Everyone is disappointed in Turner for not having his team ready for a big game and being outcoached by a much less experienced coach, but the NFL has a track record of failure. Look at two of the top three Super Bowl-winning organizations: The Cowboys won their first playoff game in over a decade, and the 49ers haven’t won a playoff game in over a decade.

Heck, Eagle head coach Andy Reid has lost four of five NFC Championship games, and that’s just as good as losing in the divisional round, because it’s all or nothing.

Only one coach wins it every year; that’s a three percent chance, and before the loss to the Jets, everyone was pro-Turner.

While all of this at the time seems to lead down the wrong path, maybe Spanos and Smith are on to something. NFL organizations and their fans are quick to get rid of a head coach who can’t win the big one, but the confidence in Turner might be enough to get him and the Chargers over the hump in years to come.

While I don’t agree with the rash decision of extending Turner’s contract so quickly, Charger fans will forgive and forget if the Chargers can win their first Lombardi Trophy within the next few years.

6 Comments

  1. Eva Redondo

    January 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I was just as dumbdounded when I watched the evening news the day after our piss-poor performance losing FOR the Jets (it might have been the same evening) the news of Norv Turner resigning as coach.

    Imagine my surprise; I read it as “resign” (quitting or giving up the position) not RE-sign!

    But after reading this article I feel a bit better. It DOES make sense, and the Spanos family will continue to try and build a Super Bowl team with a little league budget. Losing to the Jets isn’t solely on Norv’s shoulders. Any REAL Charger fan will have to admit on first down and the choice to ONCE AGAIN handoff to LT up the middle isn’t shocking. Him getting stuck at the line of scrimmage or worse because the defense is waiting for that play is the offensive coordinator’s call. Rivers isn’t a “call his own play” QB (Manning, Favre, and Brady for example have been known to do this) so we will never get past winning our division and maybe a first game post season. Every year Charger fans fall for it, we can do it come on and have our hopes shattered when it’s over 1 game into the playoffs.

    Oh and I will be there falling for the hype again next season…

  2. Alex

    January 29, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    This a f’ing Bleacher Report article. Nice journalism there. <-sarcasm.

  3. Alex

    January 29, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    One more thing. I like how you mention Cowher and then further along go into your “track record of failure” thought. You do realize it Cowher FOURTEEN YEARS to win a Superbowl?

  4. Anonymous

    February 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    he won the pro bowl right?

  5. Bowe Fertig

    February 1, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Norv won the Pro Bowl because he got to utilize his high-flying-play calling with the best receivers in the AFC. No surprise the AFC put up 40 plus points. Rivers would have had 3 TDs in one quarter.

    To Alex, the B/R got good responses so why not spread the word and conversation.

    I’m with you Eva on the bandwagon. I’ll see you on it.

  6. AWZAP

    February 2, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Getting Norv for another three years has set the stage for the future. He gets credits this year for 13 wins, which is good. However, let us not forget the disastrous start of the year when the team was unprepared and injuries occurred that limited the team after that. good novembers and Decembers are great but if you cannot rouse the potent team without using desperation then you’re in trouble. And that is what plagues us each year. I daresay that we would have been terrific in an imaginary game after the loss to the Jets.

    So, we go into another three years. Norv is a very good offensive coordinator but not a leader of a team. He had not prepared the team for playoff time. The many mistakes, the psychological ineptitude of the kicker all reflect this. The team was not ready and mistakes occurred. Just like we were re-starting the season.

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