Finally, the suffering will end.
It can't be more frustrating than to be a San Diego Chargers fan. Thursday afternoon though, the fans of the San Diego Chargers received great news. Norv Turner and A.J. Smith will be fired at the end of the season according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Turner and Smith have both long worn out their welcome in San Diego, and many people thought they should have been fired last year. The Chargers have immense amounts of talent on their roster, but constant mistakes and breakdowns have cost this team on far too many occasions.
When Turner took over in San Diego the team was coming off a 14-2 season, six years later, he, along with Smith, have driven this franchise straight into the ground.
After missing the playoffs for the second straight season, Turner was given one final chance to save his job in 2012. The team got off to a good 3-1 start, but fell into a free fall soon after. They blew leads to New Orleans and Denver to fall to 3-3 and lost to the Browns in their final game of October.
After beating lowly Kansas City, the Bolts have now lost four in a row and have nearly no chance to make the postseason this year.
The question many want answered though: How did this happen? How did this team suddenly go from being a Super Bowl contender, to one of the NFL's worst teams?
Well, I can start by telling you where the collapse started. Being a fan of two NFL teams, the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams, I have already seen how quickly an NFL franchise can disintegrate. The Rams collapsed because of stupid decisions from their front office. This in turn caused bad things to happen on the field, and the team tanked just like that.
In 2009, the Chargers were coming off another playoff appearance. The team miraculously won their final four games to qualify for the playoffs with an 8-8 record. Though they seriously underachieved during the regular season, the Bolts managed to make it to the divisional round of the playoffs where they were eliminated by Pittsburgh.
During the 2009 offseason, one of the Chargers' biggest needs was an offensive playmaker. When the team came up to pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Missouri star wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was there for the taking. It was a dream pick for many fans, who did not expect Maclin to fall to them in the draft.
Instead, the Chargers inexplicably picked Larry English, a defensive end from Northern Illinois. English has made 67 tackles over his four-year San Diego career, while Maclin has over 3,000 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns with the Eagles.
A bust can not begin to describe how bad this pick was.
The Chargers did make the playoffs in 2009 though, winning their final 11 games and qualifying with a 13-3 record. They were quickly dispatched by the New York Jets in the first round.
It was a devastating loss for San Diego fans. They entered the playoffs with visions of the Vince Lombardi trophy, and three hours after their playoff run began, it was over. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Jets had defeated them.
That game marks the last time San Diego fans have ever seen their team in the postseason. The game also marked the end of LaDainian Tomlinson's career in San Diego
After that, things got really bad. The team has gone 21-23 over the past three years, have blown games on a consistent basis and the fans have badgered the owners to fire Turner and Smith.
Thursday's news that Turner and Smith would be fired at the end of the season was the first good news San Diego fans have received in awhile. When you take a team from 14-2 to 4-8, we certainly know that you were not the right person for the job.
The news gives the fans hope that next season will be a fresh start. And they hope that the new regime will quickly bring them back to their previous glory.
There is so much talent on the roster in San Diego, and we have seen many instances on how quickly a good head coach can turn an organization around. It is not inconceivable at all to expect the Chargers to be back in the playoffs next year.
Hopefully, brighter days lie ahead for the San Diego Chargers and their fans.