Give Norv Turner the Respect He Finally Deserves

James TurnerCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2009

Like the close-up on the man, don't you? Go ahead and admit it. Not too many people like Norv Turner. Honestly, I don't even remember the last time someone spoke good of Norv Turner and his coaching skills.

I've always had a soft spot for Norv Turner since his days in Washington. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that I'm all for Jim Zorn now. But I was really warming up to Norv as I got older and really enjoy watching the Redskin play even if they were losing most of the games.

There was that one season, though. Back in the 1999-2000 season, the Redskins went 10-6 and also won their wild-card game against the Lions, where we busted their s**t. Then, we lost the divisional game to the Buccaneers after being up 13-0 and then losing that game 14-13. That game made me believe in Turner.

I was so ready for the 2000 season, where I knew we would a favorite to win the NFC East. We lost some stupid games that season, but we also won some really big games. We beat the Giants and Eagles, which is always a hard team to beat. We did get swept by Dallas.

The game that I felt solidify us as serious contenders for a Super Bowl run was the big win we had on Monday Night Football over the defending Super Bowl champion, St. Louis Rams. That game, Kurt Warner played out of his mind before he got injured; then Trent Green came in and had him a hell of a game.

Rams played their best that game but we brought it even harder to them. We outplayed the Rams, outcoached them and were just the better team that game. I was so confident about these Redskins. Don't forget we beat the Ravens that year, who also set the NFL record that same season with the least points allow in a single season. Don't forget they won the Super Bowl this same season, too. And we beat both of these teams convincingly.

That led us to a 7-4 record. We lose our next game against the defending AFC champions the Tennessee Titans. We looked bad that game. Nothing looked as worse as the next game when we got our a***s (sorry for the language just angry) handled to by the Dallas Cowboys.

That was the game where free-agent pick-up Deion Sanders got trashed on by his former team, the Cowboys. That very next night—which was perhaps the dumbest decision young owner, Daniel Snyder made—Norv Turner was fired as head coach with three games to go in the season.

We were 7-6 and still had time to turn the team around. I was the most angry 15-year-old at my high school. I was so furious. How do you fire a man that just took your franchise to the playoffs the year before for their first appearance since Gibbs retired the first time?

I gained a serious hatred for Daniel Snyder at that time. Norv Turner became a coordinator with the San Diego Chargers. That year, Doug Flutie, who was my favorite QB at the time headed there too and that was Tomlinson's first year.

I became a Chargers fan onsight. Ironically, Chargers first game was against the Redskins. I love my Skins but I was hoping for a Chargers thrashing of the Redskins and they got just that. 30-3 the Redskins got whipped. Enough with the history lesson.

Norv Turner became head coach of the Oakland Raiders after he left San Diego. He didn't do that great as a Raiders head coach. But what coach does a good job coaching the Raiders when you have a man like Al Davis as your owner.

Norv has a vision for those Raiders and he could have turned that team around. But selfish Al Davis like things to be his way, just like Mr. Snyder and he wants to bring the players he feels that fit the team instead of letting the head coach make big decisions. So Norv gets fired from the Raiders.

Now at this time, 2006 to be exact, I heard nothing but Norv Turner rants and negative comments about this man throughout my years knowing who Norv Turner was as a head coach.

From his days as the Redskins coach to the days as a Raider coach, Norv always had a vision. A vision that I kind of knew he had but couldn't get himself there to that level because he always had the higher powers making all the big decisions for him. They weren't giving him his chance to run a whole franchise.

Then, comes the San Diego Chargers. Man, I heard it all from friends & foes to sports analyst all over the media world. They thought the Chargers were out of their minds, firing Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season to bring in a "disappointing excuse for a head coach" Norv Turner.

For some reason, I was not only happy that Norv got another shot, I actually believed he had what it took to lead the Chargers to success. I would know since the last coach of the Chargers was also a Redskins head coach right after Norv got fired. So I believe Norv had what it took to be successful.

His first season as a head coach of the Chargers started off really slow. He got the Chargers to a 5-5 start and people were already calling for his head because they lost more games already than they did the season before.

How did Turner respond? By leading the Chargers to six straight wins to finish off the season and even beating both the favored Titans and the huge favorable defending Super Bowl Champions, Indianapolis Colts.

He beats both of those teams and then almost pulled off an upset against an undefeated New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.

That game he also lost L.T. in the first series of the game and a banged up Philip Rivers, who shouldn't have been playing to begin with. Yet, they only lose 21-12. Norv had that defense playing tough football, even got Tom Brady to throw three interceptions. So I consider the 2007 season a very overachieving season for him.

Then, comes the 2008 season, and Norv once again is being called for his head because his team gets the bad end of the bad calls. They fall to a 4-8 slump and people all over the country are asking the Chargers owner to do what Dan Snyder did to him eight years ago and fire him in the middle of the season.


And that's exactly what he did. He leads the Chargers to a four game winning streak to end the season with 52 points in a season finale against a team that stole a victory from them during Week Two.

Here comes the playoffs. Chargers-Colts. Colts the odds favorite to win. Your star running back goes down. Your best defensive player has been gone all season. So what do you do? Only pulled off a thrilling overtime victory in perhaps Norv Turner's best coaching game of his entire head coaching career. 23-17. LET'S GO CHARGERS!

Now all the talking has calm down for a bit. He has earn the respect out of a lot of the people - even if only for a good seven days—who have ridiculed him his entire head coaching career. And you think he would let everyone know how he really feels.

But he plays it cool and has his mind focus on Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday. Even Mike Tomlin knows this is a serious game. He could very well lose to the head coach who has gotten the most trash thrown at him and talked about currently in the NFL.

Now, I've always had a soft spot for Norv Turner. Maybe its because we both have the same last name. Maybe its because I believe he could have led the Redskins to the promise land if they gave him a chance to finish what he started.

Whatever it is, I'm rooting for Norv Turner and these same San Diego Chargers for the rest of the playoffs. Even if they lose this Sunday, I'm still cheering them on.

ALL HAIL NORV TURNER! The most under-appreciated coach in NFL history. Yes, I said it and I meant it. I'm gone.

Simple JT


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