A Day to Remember
I’m telling you now, mark yesterday down in your mind, and remember it as it will live in infamy. In one of the more unexpected moves, the Chargers fired head coach Marty Schottenheimer who led them to a league’s best 14-2 record but a division round exit in the playoffs. I’m not interested in trying to uncover why he was fired, and quite frankly, I’m not surprised that he was fired. The guy took a team most people believed were the most talented in the NFL (as evidenced by their overwhelming presence in the Pro Bowl) and led them to a first-round bye and subsequent prompt exit in the playoffs.
I would have been fine had Schottenheimer been fired shortly after the loss to New England which was mired in undisciplined mistakes and disappointment. To me, the most important issue at play here is the sequence of events, or the chronology if you will.
- January 17th, Schottenheimer agrees to finish the final year of his contract as head coach of the Chargers but rejects a one year extension
- January 20th, Dolphins make Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron their head coach
- Feburary 8th, Cowboys hire Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips as their new head coach
As you noticed, the coordinators took jobs and were hired elsewhere after learning that Schottenheimer would be returning. Can you imagine what Cameron or Phillips are thinking now? Cameron is in Miami wondering who amongst Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington, or Cleo Lemon will be his quarterback. Phillips is in Dallas trying to “work with” Terrell Owens. And now you have one of the most desirable jobs EVER vacated. In fact, to take a line from basketball, you can almost roll the footballs out there and have success with this talented team the Chargers have amassed. So what’s my point you ask?
The future of the Dolphins, Cowboys, and Chargers will be forever linked. Mark yesterday down in your calendar and remember it as a day similar to a blockbuster draft day trade. Just like Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning are still compared, just like the Giants and Chargers are always paired because of the Eli Manning-Philip Rivers draft-day trade, and just like the Falcons and Chargers because of the Tomlinson-Vick trade, these three teams will have their futures forever linked because of the coaching connection.
If this happened earlier, who would’ve been the Chargers coach, Cameron or Phillips? If this happened earlier, who would’ve hired Schottenheimer, the Cardinals, the Dolphins, some other team? What if the new coach of the Chargers wins a Super Bowl? The lucky man could quite easily be a coordinator of a random NFL team in the upcoming season otherwise.
Again, mark this day down in your calendar, remember, and do what’s most fun from a fan’s perspective in sports – speculate.