Chargers coach Norv Turner is widely expected to be fired after today’s season finale against the Raiders, and that will be a popular decision among San Diego fans.
But from all indications it will not be a popular decision in the Chargers’ locker room.
As NFL.com points out, no matter how much public criticism Turner has taken for the Chargers’ struggles, he continues to have the support of his players, who insist publicly that he deserves more credit than he gets when the Chargers win, and less blame than he gets when the Chargers lose.
“Coach did a really good job of just pushing through what nobody had ever been through before,” center Nick Hardwick told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I mean, he’s like a marathon man. He can just keep going and going and going. You know, guys respect the [heck] out of him. I love him, man. I love that guy. He’s just a heck of a man, really. He really is. He’s a good man. I’m proud to have played for him, to be playing for him and I hope to continue to play for him.”
Quarterback Philip Rivers says the critics have been so intent on bashing Turner that they haven’t noticed he’s won more games for the Chargers than any other coach.
“It’s really a shame because, I mean, the second he got here on the outside everybody was, ‘Why’d we do this?’” Rivers said. “It hasn’t been great [the past two seasons], but he’s the winningest coach in the history of this place.”
Having the support of his players has been a common theme in Turner’s coaching career, going back to his time as offensive coordinator of the Cowboys in the early 1990s, when Troy Aikman raved about what Turner did for his career. But the bottom line is that Turner hasn’t won enough — he holds the ignominious distinction of coaching the most games of any coach with a career losing record. In coaching, no matter how much your players like you, if you don’t win, you don’t keep your job.