The San Diego Union-Tribune reported earlier this week that the Norv Turner Errora will come to a close at the end of yet another disappointing season for the Chargers.
But it turns out Norval was just getting us warmed up for his greatest job-saving trick ever.
With Sunday’s Tim Allen-grunt-inducing 34-24 win at Pittsburgh — the first in franchise history save the 1994 AFC Championship Game — San Diego mathematically stayed in the playoff hunt. And as we all know, no team fires a coach who brings them to the playoffs. Uh. Except for — well, never mind that point.
Here’s what the Chargers must have happen in order to save Norv’s job again.
- Win out. The Chargers close with the Panthers at home, Jets on the road and then the Raiders at home. All of these games are eminently winnable. Of course, because this is a Norv Turner-coached team, they are also eminently losable.
- Get the right help. The Norv Turner Playoff Express is dependent on the Bengals and Steelers both finishing 8-8, creating a three-way tiebreaker to send the Bolts into the postseason. (They’d also get the four-way tiebreaker against the Jets).
It’s going to be a stretch, as both the Bengals and Steelers need to finish 1-2 in the season’s final three games. One of those losses is guaranteed because the teams play each other in Week 16. Getting the other one will be a little trickier.
If the Bengals beat the Steelers at Heinz Field in that game, the Chargers need Cincy to lose at Philadelphia next week and to Baltimore at home in Week 17.
If the Steelers beat the Bengals, the Chargers will need Pittsburgh to lose at Dallas next week and at home to the Browns to close the season.
In the unlikely event all those chips fall in San Diego’s favor, there is only one thing remaining that could jeopardize its hopes — and that thing would truly be the Norviest downfall of them all.
The Cleveland Browns
Yes Virginia, the Browns can make the playoffs. They will if all of the aforementioned things happen along with winning out. They have to beat Washington, Denver and Pittsburgh with the final two coming on the road, making it a more unlikely scenario than Kate Upton (or Captain Kangaroo) waking up in your bed. But it could happen.
My guess is Charger fans will live with the horror of a playoff berth and Norv’s possible return up until the season’s last drop, when a Steelers victory over Cleveland finally ends the illusion once and for all.
Or will it?
PS – Don’t forget to make #OperationSaveNorv the hottest thing on Twitter, kids.