Look what can happen when Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, head coach Norv Turner and the players don’t listen to the “echo birds.”
That’s a term I borrowed from that noted NBC 7/39 football philosopher, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila. It refers to fans chirping on Internet message boards and sports talk radio shows.
The Chargers are now 3-3, and if they’re not careful, they’ll find themselves a full game behind the Denver Broncos (4-2) in the AFC West standings after the season’s first six games with 10 to play.
When are the Chargers going to wake up? Imagine if NFL referee Ed Hochuli had swallowed his whistle in the Bolts’ loss at Denver. Then the Chargers would find themselves 4-2 and the Broncos 3-3.
If the Chargers would learn to play as consistently as New England’s players, they’d find themselves only a half game behind the Patriots (3-2).
And if Turner would learn to coach as smartly as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, the Bolts and quarterback Philip Rivers, playing with injured ribs, wouldn’t have lost on the road to the Miami Dolphins, 17-10. Instead, the Bolts might have lost 38-13 like the consistent Patriots and their genius coach did at home against the Dolphins.
If the Chargers would learn to be explosive as Indianapolis and quarterback Peyton Manning, they wouldn’t find themselves a half-game behind the Colts (3-2). They would also have two wins at home in three tries this year instead of just one home win like the Colts.
If the Chargers would schedule as smart as their next opponent, the Buffalo Bills (4-1), they would have opened their season with four wins against teams with a combined record of 6-15 (Seattle, 1-4; Jacksonville, 3-3; Oakland, 1-4; and St. Louis, 1-4). No, the Chargers weren’t that smart. They lost their three games to teams with a combined record of 10-7 (Carolina, 4-2; Denver, 4-2; and Miami, 2-3).
If the Chargers wouldn’t listen to the “echo birds,” they’ll find themselves having scored only 178 points while giving up 139 after six games. They should be more like that team they’ll face in London in two weeks. The New Orleans Saints (3-3) have scored 172 points and give up 133. And the Saints are just one missed field goal at Denver from being 4-2.
If the Chargers’ front office would take some risks and sign talented bad actors like Terrell Owens and Pac-Man Jones, they might be 4-2 like the Dallas Cowboys. But A.J. didn’t listen to the echo birds, and now his Bolts have one win less than the Cowboys. The Cowboys, after all, are a team that almost lost two in a row at home before they survived a scare against the winless Cincinnati Bengals.
If the Chargers had been to a Super Bowl just a couple of years ago like the Chicago Bears, or had the tradition of the Green Bay Packers, they would have 3-3 records like those two NFC North teams.
There are 16 teams in the AFC, the road the Chargers must travel to the Super bowl. Here’s how the Chargers’ three wins stack up in the conference:
— 7 teams are behind the Chargers with two or fewer wins;
— 4 teams are equal to the Chargers with three wins;
— 3 teams have one more win than the Chargers with four;
— 1 team, the Tennessee Titans, has a 5-0 record to build a two-game lead on the Chargers.
If the Titans go on to finish 16-0 and win the Super Bowl, then the echo birds will have been right. A.J., Turner and the players should try to be like Titans coach Jeff Fisher and his players.
Oh, by the way, Fisher’s career winning percentage in 13 season entering this year is .537 (115-99).
What if the Chargers — 45-19 with three AFC West titles since 2004 — would learn to be more like other NFL teams and coaches?
Football coaches are constantly trying to keep up with the innovative offenses and defenses that make it a more competitive league than when dynasty like the Green Bay Packers and Vince Lombardi ruled.
Vince Lombardi and his Packers were the only coach and team that won all the big games.