Chargers’ Martyball is replaced by Goofball

Obviously given the marching orders to find someone who has lost far more games than he has won as an NFL coach to replace someone who won far more than he lost, the Spanos Goofs got their man in Norv Turner.

Ha, ha, ha.

A wax likeness of Tom Landry would’ve been a more inspiring hire, especially since it appears Chargers GM A.J. Smith has made it clear with this decision he will really be the team’s coach.

Turner immediately brought Ted Cottrell out of coaching retirement to run the Chargers’ defense. And if you think that was Turner’s idea, you missed the puppet strings controlled by Smith, who worked with Cottrell for a number of years in Buffalo.


What a joke, but that’s our Chargers, and I would remind those poor people stuck living down there and unable to work their way up to the big city why we got rid of them back in the early ‘60s.

It used to be you could sink no lower than agreeing to become coach of the Raiders -- certifying yourself to be without backbone. Now he brings his commitment of excellence to San Diego.

Turner’s Raiders teams were 1-11 against AFC West opponents in his two forgettable years on the job, but obviously that win really impressed the Chargers’ brass.

The Chargers fired Marty Schottenheimer, 200-126 as an NFL coach, but a depressing 5-13 in the playoffs. To avoid experiencing such playoff disappointment in the future, the Chargers went after someone pretty good at not making the playoffs.

Turner, 58-82-1 in his nine years as coach, advanced to the postseason once -- and was eliminated in two games.

His Redskins, supported by the deep pockets of owner Daniel Snyder, were 7-1 to open the 1996 season only to finish 9-7 and out of the playoffs. He became the first NFC coach since 1970 to not make the playoffs in his first five years on the job -- and remain employed.

Imagine how the candidates, who interviewed for the Chargers’ coaching job and lost out to Turner, must feel today. Well, there’s always the Raiders job in another year or two.

WHAT ARE these folks thinking? They had a Super Bowl-caliber team, and now what? Turner is a nice guy. So is Tony Dungy. Maybe the Chargers are trying to pattern themselves after the Colts.


Turner is an offensive whiz -- like you have to be really smart to hand the ball off to LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers also thought Kevin Gilbride, Al Saunders, Mike Riley and Dan Henning were offensive gurus. But in the end, the Goofs goofed.

These are the same guys who once hired former Raiders special-teams coach Steve Ortmayer to work as general manager on Al Davis’ recommendation. Alex Spanos, the elder Goof, told people at the time Al Davis was a good friend of his. Yeah, if you can’t trust Al Davis, who can you trust?

Three years later, Ortmayer left the Chargers in ruins. Imagine that.

The Chargers have posted winning records seven times during the Goofs’ 23-year reign of mistakes. At least Turner has found a place where he fits in.


This time around, though, the new Chargers coach inherits one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. It’s going to be interesting to see how he goofs it up.

THE CHARGERS’ 18-paragraph official release announcing Turner’s hire makes no mention of his 9-23 record with the Raiders or his overall coaching record. Given the chance to hire Charles Manson, and with these guys I wouldn’t rule out anyone, I suspect there’d be no mention of his whereabouts the last 37 years.

PHIL MICKELSON grew up in San Diego cheering for the Chargers. It explains a lot.

PEOPLE TELL me I have accepted NASCAR driver Carl Edwards’ challenge to join him for a ride around the California Speedway on Saturday night at the conclusion of official competition. People say the darnedest things.


“You will be in a real nice two-seat car -- putting your seat closest to the wall, going something like 180 mph or so,” said Gillian Zucker, president of the speedway with what has to be considered a strong hint of devilish delight in her voice. “It’s very rare we have an incident with someone in a two-seater.”

I know this -- if there is any chance of me going out there for a ride, I’ll have to be assured Tony Stewart’s car has been locked away in the garage.

KOBE BRYANT showed he has no problem going all out with nothing on the line while playing in Coach Mike D’Antonio’s system; just going all out in Phoenix sometimes with everything on the line.

THE DODGERS initiated a “Think Blue” loyalty program last year, allowing fans to accumulate points for money spent at various merchants, and then trading them in for such things as lunch with Tom Lasorda. More than 9,000 fans signed up, some for free, but others paying between $20 and $100 in membership fees.


The Dodgers hired a Boston company to oversee the program, and 10 months later it went out of business. Think Blue became Think Again about collecting those points.

A Dodgers spokesman, though, said, “Every single person in the program has been contacted and in every instance we have gone out of our way to make sure they’ve gotten more than what they would have gotten for their points.”

If not, I’m guessing I will be hearing from them later today.

THE DODGERS announced that closer Takashi Saito will be the host of a half-hour chat today on No mention if a translator will be involved.


WHEN I heard the story about Bridget Moynahan and Tom Brady expecting a child, I didn’t think it was a big deal. Just one more completed pass for Brady.


T.J. Simers can be reached at To read previous columns by Simers, go to