Before we get to the Chargers, I should note Division II dwelling Appalachian State and its convincing 34-32 victory over nationally ranked (number 5) Division I opponent Michigan. The game was played at Michigan. Follows is the weekend's best sports quote delivered by Appalachian State's chancellor, Kenneth Peacock.
Chancellor Peacock traveled with his football team to the big game in Ann Arbor. To give you a sense of the disparity between the schools, Appalachian State University is located in Boone, North Carolina, population 13,000. Michigan State Stadium holds eight times the population of Boone.
The moment the Mount-aineers blocked Michigan's field goal, took possession with four seconds left in the contest, Appalachian students, watching the game from Boone, made their way to Kidd Brewer Stadium (sits 16,650, built 45 years ago). Students climbed the fence, tore down a goalpost, and dragged it onto Rivers Street, thence to Bodenheimer Drive, thence to Chancellor Kenneth Peacock's 9000-square-foot house. Specifically, to its front yard.
The news, as is its wont, travels faster than necessary, and before the Mountaineers left Ann Arbor a reporter told Chancellor Peacock that the Appalachian State goal post was resting on his lawn and wanted to know how he felt about that. Peacock said, "I can hardly wait to get home to see it."
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San Diego Chargers press release.
February 19, 2007, marked a new beginning in Chargers football when President Dean Spanos introduced Norv Turner as the new head coach of the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers do not pick competent head coaches. Line up a half dozen head coaching applicants, and the Chargers pick a loser time after time after time.
Here's an incredible statistic: Turner lost 58 percent of his games as head coach. The last guy, the fired guy, Marty Schottenheimer, was a great regular-season coach, won 61 percent of the games he coached, but crashed in the playoffs. When he had to win, he played not to lose and therefore lost. It's a personality thing with Marty; he couldn't shake it.
Turner, on the other had, doesn't win in the regular season and doesn't win in the postseason. Here's his coaching résumé: Seven years head coach for Washington. Finished with a record of 49-59-1. He made the playoffs in 1999, lost to Tampa Bay in the second round. Fired 13 games into the 2000 season.
His next head-coaching position arrived four years later with Al Davis and the Raiders. You have to be desperate to work for Al in good times; working for Al in his senility is like being John McCain running for president in '08 -- you'll do anything to get the big job. Turner went 5-11 in 2004, 4-12 in 2005, then was fired to make room for NFL coaching legend Art Shell.
And that's it, head coach for two clubs, combined 58-82-1 record, 24 games under .500. He racked two playoff games, one win, one loss, both in the same year. Time to look around for a beer distributorship.
The party line says Norv made his bones as an offensive coordinator. He was offensive coordinator for Dallas in the early '90s. Did good. Lasted three years. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl twice while he was there, in 1992 and '93. But that was a long time ago. George Bush was president and the American army had recently invaded Iraq.
Turner was offensive coordinator for the Chargers in 2001 (they went 5 and 11) and for Miami in 2002 and 2003 (they went 9-7 and 10-6)...did not make the playoffs in either year. And, finally, last season, he was offensive coordinator for San Francisco. The team went 7-9.
So, he's not working because of his stats. His stats suck.
The Chargers say they hired Turner because he is "...Known as an offensive mastermind, Turner was the team's offensive coordinator in 2001 and installed the same offense that the team currently runs."
San Diego is running the same offensive as it did five years ago? This is a good thing?
My guess is that Turner was hired because he was the safest choice on the table. There was a saying IT managers had back in the 1980s, when desktop computers were flooding into corporations: "Nobody ever got fired for buying an IBM computer." IBM boxes weren't the best, but they were the safest choice.
Norv also solved the number-one problem on A.J. Smith's trouble list. The Chargers general manager meant to hire a head coach he could dominate. No more guff from the hired help. Norv did not hire, and therefore one assumes he does not possess the loyalty of new defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and new offensive coordinator Clarence Shelmon.
Nobody cares. The Chargers have the best talent in the NFL -- 11 Pro Bowlers and Turner has a four-year contract. No excuses this time.