Mike Shanahan is out as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, but don’t think for a second that his team’s Week 17 dismantling at the hands of the San Diego Chargers had anything to do with it.
So what did?
His 146-91 record over 14 seasons (including the playoffs)?
His failure to make any serious playoff noise post-John Elway?
Not a chance.
So again, what did?
Perhaps it was the fact that going 24-24 the past three years just didn’t cut it in Denver. Or maybe it was something else.
A theory that is starting to gain momentum is that Shanahan and the Chargers may have some funny business going on, which prompted Shanahan to make an unreasonable “if he goes then I go” ultimatum regarding the firing of defensive coordinator Bob Slowik.
Slowik is an awful coordinator and Shanahan knows it. The entire world knows it. Mastermind Mike never would have seriously staked his job based on Slowik.
He must have wanted out, right?
San Diego, while being a division rival, certainly makes some sense. They have a potentially great defense (and by potentially I mean, they were great last year and ehhh this year), a fairly good young QB in Rivers (I’m not ready to crown him yet), and some wide outs with just enough talent to thrive, given some Shanahan magic, and they also still have whatever is left of LT, which may or may not be more than a half-eaten piece of day-old pepperoni pizza. It’s yet to be determined at this point in time.
The best part about this Chargers rumor is it’s based on the all too real possibility that Norv Turner, while in the playoffs, is nothing more than a sitting duck in Charger-town. Though they rallied to get in, this is where SD was supposed to end up all along; on top of the AFC West.
There are four differences between the 2007 and 2008 Chargers:
This year LT was slowed by a turf toe, Shawne Merriman missed the entire season due to menstrual cramps a knee injury, Michael Turner helped Atlanta make the playoffs, and while not frequently talked about, but perhaps the most telling reason while the Chargers have struggled at times on the ground; Norv Turner insisting on running an offense without a fullback, a position that aided Tomlinson greatly at the line of scrimmage.
Are those four reasons legitimate enough to give Norv Turner a mulligan for his team’s 8-8 record?
It sure doesn’t seem like they will be. Barring a playoff miracle, Norv will likely find himself out of a job at the season’s end.
Combine all of that with the fact that Shanahan, unlike the Cowers and Holmgrens of late, isn’t quite ready for a sabbatical, and given how good he had it in Denver (total control, more notoriety than most of his players, young offensive core) one would assume he has some concept of where he might end up next year.
The question obviously isn’t if Shanahan will end up with a job, it’s where.
It ultimately matters very little if he meant to get fired or just flat out got canned for a sub par job performance. Either way he will be calling the shots somewhere soon.
San Diego might not be quite as far fetched as it at sounds.