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Weeks after losing to the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round of the playoffs in January 2007, Bill Parcells resigned as head coach. The Cowboys spent several weeks tossing the names of different coordinators around to find replacement.
What if on February 7, 2007, Jerry Jones acquiesced to Troy Aikman and hired the team’s former offensive coordinator, Norv Turner?
Cowboy fans want nothing less than a Super Bowl title. Down seasons in recent years have been unacceptable, given the level of talent assembled.
In real life, Turner led the Chargers to an 11-5 during his first year in San Diego, and the Chargers made it to the AFC Championship Game. However, since that season, the Chargers have won just one playoff game, and that came after the team snuck into the playoffs win an 8-8 record in 2008.
Imagine that sort of finish in Dallas. An 11-5 record and two playoff wins would have been most welcome in 2007, given that not even Bill Parcells won a playoff game here.
But expectations would have been sky high in 2008 (as they were in real life). Think the Cowboys’ 9-7 record in 2008 was bad? It was better than the Chargers’ 8-8 finish that season.
Recall Wade Phillips’ biggest failure—watching his 13-3 team fall apart to a New York team in the playoffs at home in 2007?
Turner’s Chargers in 2009 managed to finish with a 13-3 record before falling apart to a New York team in the playoffs at home.
Turner’s Chargers followed that up by going 9-7 and missing the playoffs in 2010, which sound quite similar to the Cowboys’ finish in 2008.
The bottom line is that Tony Romo and the Dallas offense would not likely be much better under Turner than it has under Jason Garrett. Both the Cowboys and the Chargers have ranked in the top half of the league in offensive yards. Philips Rivers has developed at a similar pace compared with Tony Romo, though Romo has suffered more injuries.
The Cowboys would have to find a different defensive coordinator, and perhaps Turner’s fate would have depended on who the Cowboys could bring in as a defensive coordinator.
Ron Rivera? Mike Singletary?
Anyway, my bet is that Turner would not have lasted past season #4 in 2010.