The LA Chargers fell to 4-6 with a disappointing loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 11. With the loss, the Chargers have just a 10% chance of making the playoffs, per the New York Times, and have to beat the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens in Week 12 to have any chance of making a miracle playoff run.
Things are going very poorly for the Bolts in 2023 and after Sunday's loss, many fans are turning to the future. Most fans want to see the team part ways with head coach Brandon Staley. Sooner might actually be better than later, as it would give the team a chance to evaluate Kellen Moore as a head coach candidate if he is promoted to interim head coach.
However, the Chargers have not fired a coach in-season since 1998 and NFL insider Ian Rapoport subtly confirmed that Staley is not going anywhere during the season. Thus, fans have expected the reality that Staley will be let go after the season, barring a hot run that puts the Chargers in the NFL Playoffs.
While it might seem like Staley has a zero percent chance of returning in 2024 if the Chargers miss the playoffs, history actually tells a different story.
History says Brandon Staley might get one more year as Chargers head coach
The Chargers have not fired a head coach prior to their fourth season in over 20 years. The last head coach who didn't get a fourth season was Mike Riley, who was fired after the 2001 season — his third with the team.
That situation was far more bleak than the current situation. Riley's 2001 team finished the year on a nine-game losing streak after starting 5-2. In his three years as head coach, Riley had a combined 14-34 record. Brandon Staley is still above .500 as a head coach at 23-21. Even if the Chargers were to lose out (unlikely), his record would still be far better than Riley's after three years (23-28).
Even Mike McCoy got a fourth season with the Chargers and the Bolts went 4-12 in his third season with the team. McCoy had a 22-26 record after three seasons with the Chargers, which is very similar to what the worst-case record might be for Staley. In his first three years, McCoy never had the Chargers finish as a top-10 offensive or defensive scoring team.
If McCoy got a fourth season then it isn't absurd to think that Staley at least has a chance to get a fourth season, regardless of how much it would frustrate the fanbase. That is not to say that the Chargers don't have a reason to fire Staley, because the team certainly does, but fans need to remember how this organization operates.
History tends to repeat itself and the Spanos family has given fans plenty of history to look back on. This is a team that does not like firing head coaches before a fourth season, especially considering head coach contracts are typically for four seasons.
While it has not been confirmed, Staley's contract was rumored to be for four years. Everything this organization has done in the past should be telling fans that ownership does not want to pay $4 million to fire Staley next year on top of paying a new head coach. That is simply not how the Bolts operate.
Is it the right move? No. It is safe to say that the Chargers and Staley should move on from each other after the 2023 season. But does that mean Staley is a lock to be let go after the 2023 season? Not at all, even without a playoff berth.