Lil' Hater Drops Some Science
The morning after watching Atlanta coach Jim "pass me the smelling salts" Mora Jr. lead his team to another easy victory—despite the total absence of a passing game—Lil' Hater got to thinking. And as they often do, his thoughts came back to this unanswerable question: Why, exactly, is Norv Turner still an NFL head coach?
Any bobblehead with access to profootballreference.com can see that Turner's coaching history places him squarely on the short list for worst long-term NFL head coach of all time. Making his ugly mug's location on the Raiders' sideline perhaps understandable to some extent.
With a flattering 2005 record of 2-4 putting the Raiders in the basement of the AFC West once again, the signs are clear that this season will be no aberration in the Turner resume, which lists an overall record of 56-74-1. Let's be generous and assume the Raiders go 4-6 the rest of the season, putting Norv’s W-L record at 60-80.
Not so bad, you say? Consider these hastily assembled facts:
Since 1950, there have been 29 head coaches who have lasted long enough, and won enough, to chalk up 80 losses along the way. Twenty-two of those 29 coaches have winning records. 21 of those 29 coaches have won, or at least been to, an NFL or AFL championship game, including such titans of the clipboard as Sam Wyche (84-107) and George Wilson (68-84).
In fact, in the past 55 years of pro football, only three of those 29 coaches with 80+ losses have neither made the league's championship game, nor finished with a winning record. Those three are the hapless John McKay (44-84), the doting Ted Marchibroda (87-98), and the before-my-time Norm VanBrocklin (66-100). And you’ll be able to add Norv’s name to this underachieving list at the end of the season.
Yet McKay was saddled from the get go with an expansion team and was a legend at the University of Southern California. Marchibroda had to deal with the franchise relocation of the Balitmore Ravens, and the complete and utter embarrassment that was Art Model and his family of money-grubbing thieves. Marchibroda, who previously coached the Balitmore Colts, laid the foundation of an eventual Super Bowl champion. Turner, on the other hand, has been gifted a head coaching position with two of the league's glamour teams, and has on each occasion driven those franchises right into the ground. And both McKay and Marchibroda at least made the conference championship once apiece, while in his sole playoff appearance Norv was thwarted from reaching the NFC Championship Game by the QB heroics of Shawn King.
That's right, outwitted by Shawn King.
So with a record of glorious failure like this, is it really surprising that Randy Moss isn't getting the ball enough, that LaMont Jordan has to beg for more touches, and that the team can’t line up without a penalty being called? No, it really isn’t. Now in his second disappointing season with the Raiders, the Norv Turner II era is going much as the Norv Turner I era went – that is to say, nowhere. And fast.
Allegedly a nice guy, Norv is the Michael “Brownie” Brown of the NFL. A product of NFL cronyism, in over his head, standing by idly while his teams sink into the abyss. Yet there appears to be no clamor within the Raider organization, or their allegedly rabid fan base, for change. Among the many, many mistakes made by Al Davis & Co., this could be the most glaring.
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