The Ghost of Norvous Past


December 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner speaks during the post game press conference after a win against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Ahhhh… the good ole’ San Diego Chargers. They love to torture us, don’t they? They came out of the gate swinging like Mike Tyson, and then proceeded to lay down like a puppy getting scratched behind the ears… except not as cute.

The first half of last night’s game against the Texans managed to rekindle the “homerism” in the most calloused & skeptical of Bolt fans. There was rejoicing, a feeling of new energy, and seemingly new play calling. After the first TD drive of the 3rd quarter… we had almost washed the taste of Norv Turner out of our mouths completely.

Then, we started to see the familiar signs of a team that couldn’t finish a phone call, if they wanted to. In their usual over the top Three Stooges-like performance… they let yet another good team fight back to overcome a huge lead, and plunge their dagger right into the heart of San Diego.

At this point, most Charger fans are immune to the pain & sickness that these constant performances bring, much like a terminally ill patient on a morphine drip. The oh-so-familiar meltdown has become somewhat of an inside joke to most fans, even if it isn’t that funny. No game is in the bag. No lead is ever safe. Trying to predict the nature of each meltdown might be the most entertaining part of it, as they find new & inexplicable ways to gift wrap the game for their opponent.

I wonder if Norv Turner is having a little chuckle at our expense today, and was jumping up & down in front of the TV last night, screaming “Told you it wasn’t me”!!!!! Of course, any fan knows that it was (in fact) Norv’s fault, and he deserves to kick rocks with the rest of the failed coaches in this league. He was awful for this team. But, like Jacob Marley from “A Chrismas Carol”, the Ghost of Norvous Past roamed the hallways of Qualcomm Stadium yesterday night… rattling his chains, and moaning “Change your game plan…. Don’t let what happened to me, happen to yoooooooou, Mike McCoy”.

AND, it happened anyway.

So, what do we make of this? We have all had some time to shake off the stomach punch that we have become so accustomed to. We have had almost 24 hours to digest the multitude of mental breakdowns, and try to come to terms with how this team can look so electrifying in the first half of a game, and so terrible in the second half. Is this team capable of being that “contender” we see in the first 30 minutes? Or, is it that sputtering version of the Keystone Cops we see on the field, as they cue the Benny Hill music? (That one was for you Sergio).

What I AM sure of is that Dean Spanos can’t be happy about last night. Tom Telesco can’t be happy about last night. Mike McCoy CERTAINLY can’t be happy about last night. Who could be happy about pulling a “Norv” on national television on your first outing in the NFL? I would feel a little bit humiliated, if I were Mike McCoy, simply for being mentioned in the same conversation as a “Norv-type meltdown”. It was his job to stop that trend, and nobody dreamed he was a coach that would stand for that. Everybody had hoped those days were behind us, and we were to welcome a new era of Charger Football. Last night did not seem much different.

I really hope that game was as big of an eye-opener for them, as it was for the fans. Merely shuffling around players & coaches isn’t going to get this team back into contention. It is going to take a lot of hard work, and attention to detail. Dare I say attention to the “absolutely obvious”? That play-calling was no less predictable than Norv’s, and looked eerily similar. Despite the fact that these players need to execute the plays consistently, the coaches need to put them in a position to succeed. We have heard the talk, now they must walk the walk.

As a fan, I am prepared to give them a mulligan. They were no worse than the team that dropped the same type of games, to the same type of contenders last season. But, the fans will not tolerate much more of this type of play. It’s time for TT & McCoy to erase the reputation of this team being soft, and self-destructing. It’s time for them to become the team from the first half for entire games.. and say goodbye to its Mr. Hyde personality.

So, Mike McCoy… a word to the wise…. Don’t let what happened to Norv happen to you… or more importantly, to San Diego.

Keep Bolting Toward Excellence

Peter Thompson