The first Monday after the conclusion of the NFL regular season saw a pair of NFL head coaches and multiple front office personnel lose their jobs. So far, the day after has produced far less bloodshed.
Two coaches on the hot seat after the teams failed to live up to lofty expectations — Philadelphia’s Andy Reid and San Diego’s Norv Turner — will return to their teams for the 2012 season.
In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie announced Reid will coach his team next fall and continues to give the franchise its best chance to win a Super Bowl. However, Lurie called the season “unacceptable” and the “most disappointing year” of Reid’s tenure.
Across the country, Turner — who is mentioned in the same sentence with “firing” so often that it could be his middle name — will return to the Chargers along with General Manager A.J. Smith following a frustrating 8-8 campaign.
Lurie took 13 minutes to announce his decision to retain Reid, instead choosing to focus on the long list of disappointing factors that contributed to Philadelphia’s not-so-dreamy season. After spending the offseason loading up on big-name talents in order to catch up to the Packers and Saints atop the NFC, the team sputtered to a 1-4 start that Lurie called “unfathomable” and “ludicrous”.
Lurie, who did not say whether or not the team would bring back defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, also called the team’s 4-0 stretch run “fools gold.” Philadelphia Daily News reporter Les Bowen likely wasn’t the only person in the room who found a disconnect between Lurie’s assessment and his decision.
Lurie is done. Man made a great case for why he should fire his coach. Then he didn't fire his coach.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) January 3, 2012
Turner, who led the Chargers to the AFC Championship game in 2007, has been notorious for slow starts. San Diego appeared to buck the trend with its 4-1 start this fall, but then promptly dropped six games in a row and needed a 4-1 finish to get back to .500 and avoid its first losing record since 2003.
Under Turner, the team is a remarkable 21-3 in December and January, and another strong finish was enough to save the fifth-year coach’s job — for one more season, at least.
“As we’ve seen throughout Norv’s tenure and particularly this past season, the players believe in him, respect him and play hard for him," Chargers team president Dean Spanos said Tuesday. "When we went through that tough stretch, no one quit. The team kept playing hard, and that’s a tribute to Norv’s leadership and the respect the players have for him."
There’s no disputing both Turner and Reid have produced result in the regular season. But as Sports Illustrated’s Peter King notes, their recent postseason track records leave much to be desired.
This surprises me: Wins in last 3 yrs--Turner 30, Reid 29. Playoff wins in last 3 yrs--Turner 0, Reid 0.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) January 3, 2012
Looking ahead to 2012, which coach faces more pressure to win in order to retain his job?
(H/T Les Bowen)