Should the NFL owners and players settle their multimillion-dollar differences in time to salvage most or all of the 2011 season, Turner would like to think his Chargers are well-positioned to pounce.
He would like to think the problems that polluted their 2010 season—abysmal special teams, erratic pass rush, and a minus-6 turnover ratio—can be or have been fixed; that a capable core of players remains in place; and that a team that finished first in total offense and total defense last season can end its four-year slide from a conference championship game to playoff spectator.
He would like to think he can do as Dirk Nowitzki and the NBA's Dallas Mavericks have done, and change the perception that he’s incapable of winning a championship.
“Perception can be a lot of different things and it’s not necessarily right,” Turner said. “I loved it with Dirk because the perception was for so many years that he was too soft, that the Mavericks can’t win the big game.
“For such an explosive team, the San Diego Chargers have quite the opposite of a head coach,” Camden Pasch wrote two months ago, advocating that Turner be replaced by Jon Gruden. “Norv Turner portrays himself as a laid-back, casual type of man. This is the attitude and personality of an assistant coach, not a head coach of an annual Super Bowl contender. There wouldn’t be an issue if he was the offensive coordinator and not the head coach, but he is and therein lay the problem.”
Until Norv Turner wins a Super Bowl, however, many fans and pundits will remain convinced that the Vince Lombardi trophy is beyond his reach. And though similar assessments were once made of Tom Landry, John Madden and Don Shula, premature conclusions can attain critical mass if management sees some correlation with an eroding season-ticket base.
Time is running out on this talented team, and whenever this lockout ends, it's time to prove that talent can lead to production, and this hype the Chargers have surrounded themselves upon, can lead to that ultimate goal, a Super Bowl championship.