San Diego Chargers: Is Mike McCoy on the Hot Seat?


Dec 14, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy yells at an official during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Two and a half years ago, the San Diego Chargers did something not many teams are bold enough to do: say out with the old and in with the new. The “old” in this situation was former head coach Norv Turner with the “new” being current head coach Mike McCoy.

Two and a half years into his current four-year deal, Mike McCoy has produced back-to-back 9-7 seasons, advancing to the divisional round once in 2013 (the Bolts ended up losing to the Denver Broncos 24-17).

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After three non-playoff seasons with Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith, the Chargers most certainly needed a fresh start and got it with McCoy and new GM Tom Telesco. Telesco, a former Colts front office executive, has since transformed this Chargers team with a vast array of free agent signings and expert draft picks.

With those signings and picks, however, comes a lot of burden onto the shoulders of head coach Mike McCoy. Don’t worry though; I believe that McCoy will find a way to produce in 2015.

Originally a college quarterback at Long Beach State (CA) and then at the University of Utah, McCoy played professional football for the Denver Broncos (as a rookie free agent), Green Bay Packers (signed to their practice squad following injuries to Brett Favre) and the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders and NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals.

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McCoy then took his former talents as a player and turned them into success as a coach.

According to his profile, his first tenure began with the Carolina Panthers where McCoy served his days as an offensive assistant (2000, 2002-05), quarterbacks coach (2004-08), wide receivers coach (2001) and passing game coordinator (2007-2008), eventually helping the Panthers to three playoff appearances and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII (2003) against the New England Patriots (the Pats would win on a last-second field goal by Adam Vinateri). Not only is McCoy not privy to Super Bowl experience, but he is also not privy to Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks.

During his time with the Denver Broncos, McCoy transformed the once impotent Denver Broncos offense into a true offensive juggernaut.

Serving as quarterbacks coach (2009) and offensive coordinator (2009-2012) for four seasons, McCoy was able to renovate and succeed with three different Broncos QB talents ranging from pretty reliable Kyle Orton to never reliable Tim Tebow to exceptionally reliable Peyton Manning. McCoy saw the Broncos rank among tops in the league in passing yards with Orton and Manning and rushing yards with Tim Tebow.

And if you thought Norv Turner was pretty offensive minded; think again.

Despite having a horrendous offensive line the past two seasons, Mike McCoy has delivered winning records and a 50% playoff appearance percentage. While that may not really be the greatest when you think about it, at least McCoy has won more games than he has lost (a  pretty impressive feat for a first-time NFL head coach).

Even the skeptical Nick Canepa believes in McCoy.

In an article for the Union-Tribune, Canepa states “Let’s not allow emotions to cloud good sense. I have a problem with a whole lot of what McCoy does, but when sitting back and digesting this eclectic 2014 meal, he can be considered a football Anne Sullivan, if you remember ‘The Miracle Worker.’

Now, I’m not saying Mike walked Middle Eastern hills 2,000 years ago doing neat stuff with loaves and fishes. But think about it. Consider it.”

Thus, the question begs to be answered: is Mike McCoy on the hot seat in 2015?

The simple answer is no because he shouldn’t be. Two 9-7 seasons are definitely not worthy of complaining considering all of the other coaches in the league who have performed way, way worse (I’m looking at you Lovie Smith).

There is, however, a lot of pressure on McCoy’s shoulders to turn this playoff caliber team into Super Bowl contenders. If McCoy does not make the playoffs in 2015, I believe that 2016 is his “hot seat” season.

Nov 23, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy reacts during the third quarter against the St. Louis Rams at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

If the goal of a coaching contract is to win the Super Bowl, then yes, McCoy should be fired if he doesn’t win an NFL Championship in 2015.

I, for one, agree that couches need to win Super Bowls to earn their million-dollar contracts. However, I think that asking a first-time head coach to turn out a championship after two injury-plagued seasons is a little bit unreasonable.

Therefore, I think that 2015 is not McCoy’s hot seat season. More accurately, if McCoy doesn’t lead SD to the playoffs in 2015, then he is on the hot seat for 2016 and beyond.

San Diego trusted Norv in his first three years of coaching and lead the team to three straight playoff appearances. I believe that McCoy, if given the chance, can prove to San Diegans that he deserves every ounce of his head coaching position.

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