Recycling Head Coaches: Will The Cowboys and Chargers Learn From Their Mistakes?

Sean CroweSenior Writer IDecember 20, 2008

When will NFL owners learn?

Wade Phillips had his chance as an NFL head coach. He was terrible. He didn’t win in the playoffs. He found creative ways to lose games he should have won. Then he was fired.

Norv Turner has had more than his fair share of chances to be an NFL head coach. He’s been terrible every time. His teams lose games they shouldn’t lose. They’re terribly inconsistent. They underachieve in astounding ways. Then he’s fired.

Yet the Wade Phillips and Norv Turners of the world continue to get NFL head coaching gigs. It’s amazing to me.

If you own an NFL team and you ever hear yourself say the words “You know, I like this Norv Turner guy. I think I’ll give him a shot,” immediately sell the team. And sell it quickly. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. And for the love of God don’t make yourself general manager (I’m looking at you, Jerry Jones). 

There’s no longer any hope. Fire yourself before you do any more damage.

The San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys are in the process of teaching the NFL a valuable lesson. You can have as much or more talent than anyone in the NFL. If you have a moron steering the ship, you’re bound to hit a few icebergs.

The most talented team in the world can’t overcome Norv Turner.

If you’ve been around as long as Wade Phillips and you’re a great head coach, you’re probably Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy, or Mike Shanahan. If you’re not already a successful head coach, you probably won’t be. No matter how good of a coordinator you are.

I know it’s hard to accept, but sometimes Robin just isn’t good enough to do Batman’s job.

NFL owners and GMs are much better off going after guys like John Harbaugh. He may not be a household name, but he learned how to run a successful team from Andy Reid (one of the most successful head coaches of the last decade). He’s going to take a successful formula and bring it to your team. Unlike Norv Turner, who’s going to bring a formula that hasn’t worked at any of his previous stops and hope it works out differently this time.

It won’t. I promise.

So when the Cowboys and Chargers are looking for new head coaches this offseason, if they’ve learned anything from the 2008 season they’ll be looking at guys like Josh McDaniels (Patriots’ offensive coordinator) or Jim Caldwell (Colts assistant head coach).

If we’ve learned anything from the Wade Phillips and Norv Turner eras, it’s that there should never, ever be another Wade Phillips or Norv Turner era…

Sean Crowe covers the New England Patriots for and writes a bi-weekly column for

He is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at His archive can be found here.