A Mike McCoy Eulogy for the Former Chargers’ Head Coach

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers find themselves searching for a new head coach after another dismal season.

This team had the talent to make a playoff run and even a run at the division. The AFC West was one of the toughest divisions in the NFL this season. Instead, the Chargers finished in last place with a 5-11 record, four games behind the third place Denver Broncos (9-7).

The team under-performed. They gave up leads late in games and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. They looked uninspired at times. This team was just bad. Even when fully healthy, they looked bad.

After so many promising seasons that ended with failure, the front office decided it was time to part ways with Norv Turner.

Wait…. they fired Norv Turner after the 2012-2013 season. Why does this feel like a rerun?

It feels like a rerun because it looks like a rerun. After San Diego fired Norv Turner, who took the reins of a Super Bowl contender, but never was able to bring home a Lombardi, the Chargers hired Mike McCoy.

McCoy was the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos before being hired to be the head coach of the Chargers. He brought optimism with him to San Diego being that Denver was a successful franchise while he was the offensive coordinator.

(Years later, fans would discover that the Broncos were good because they had a stout defense and Peyton Manning was their starting quarterback.)

McCoy’s first season brought on a mixed bag of emotions. His first game as head coach was in Texas. The anticipation was building for Chargers fans leading up to this game.

Philip Rivers threw four touchdowns and the Chargers led the Houston Texans 28-0. So, it appeared the team was off to a great start to the season. Not so fast. What looked like a blowout win over Houston turned into agony. Houston scored 31 straight points and San Diego never scored in the first half. The Texans won that game 31-28.

This appeared to be just a setback early in an NFL season. If you’re going to have a bad game, it’s good to get it out of the way early. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a setback. This was foreshadowing to what things would be like with Mike McCoy as the head coach.

That first season under McCoy wasn’t a complete disaster. Instead, the football gods took mercy on the team from Southern California. The team was 8-7 but it appeared they would be on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. The scenario for the Chargers to grab the last playoff spot looked bleak.

Credit: Getty Images

The Chargers needed the Miami Dolphins to lose to the New York Jets (ugh), the Baltimore Ravens to lose to the Cincinnati Bengals (a little more feasible), and the Pittsburgh Steelers to lose to the Cleveland Browns (that just isn’t fair).

Miraculously, the hapless Jets beat Miami. The Bengals rested their starters and still beat Baltimore. The Steelers beat Cleveland, so the Chargers were in a must-win situation against Kansas City.

The Chiefs had already clinched a playoff spot and their head coach, Andy Reid, made the decision to rest his starters and let the reserves play what was a meaningless game for the Chiefs.

Needing a win, one would think that the team would have stormed out of the gates knowing they needed to win and were playing against bench warmers. Well, that didn’t really happen. Instead, they had to come from behind to beat the Chiefs, who started Chase Daniel, a quarterback making his first career start. That Chargers team looked completely uninspired. They knew they needed a win, but they didn’t play like they needed a win. The attitudes of players are a reflection of coaching. This fell on Mike McCoy.

All was forgiven since San Diego marched into Cincinnati and won a playoff game. They lost to the Denver Broncos the following week. They scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, but that’s because McCoy let Philip Rivers loose and he went to work. Had McCoy done this before the fourth quarter, there’s no telling what would have happened. McCoy stuck with his conservative game plan and didn’t adjust to the flow of the game. Again, coaching kept the Chargers from winning.

The saga of Mike McCoy finally came to an end on Jan. 1. The 2016-2017 season started out with hope (again), but quickly turned into a nightmare. This team easily could have been 10-6, but they blew leads in five different games in the fourth quarter. After the team lost games, McCoy went into the press conference and said that this team was special and good things were going to happen. He said this after every game. Perhaps someone should check to see if McCoy is actually a robot who’s been programmed to do the same things over and over again.

The painful saga that was the tenure of Mike McCoy finally came to an end. Some sports writers were reporting that general manager Tom Telesco wanted to keep McCoy for another season. Telesco’s football knowledge and GM abilities need to be re-evaluated if this is true.

The Chargers have begun a search for a new coach. No one knows who it will be, and names haven’t been thrown into the ring just yet. Whoever it is, Charger fans can only hope it’s someone who can help this team realize their potential and push them to the next level.

Of course, if the franchise moves to Los Angeles and does a full re-brand, which has been reported as a possibility, Charger fans really won’t care who the team hires. Fans aren’t going to stick around if the Chargers are no longer the San Diego Chargers.

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Mike Ursery
Sports editor for the Fayette Advertiser and Fayette Democrat-Leader in Fayette, Missouri. Proud alumnus of Missouri State University. Journalism major. Political science minor. Padre fan. My opinions are my own.

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