Hey, looks like I got a chance to use that title after all.
The Chargers actually surprised me when they fired Marty Schottenheimer, and that alone is a shock. We all assumed he was going to get canned. In fact, when the Chargers lost to New England, Tom was working, so he called to confirm that the Chargers had, in fact, lost. First thing out of his mouth: "Have they fired Schottenheimer yet?" Instead, San Diego allowed him to come back, and he even had a shot to invoke an extension for one more year. So when I heard that they turned around and eventually did fire him, I was surprised.
Team President Dean Spanos cited a "dysfunctional relationship" between Schottenheimer and owner AJ Smith as the reason for Schott's departure. That's pretty vague. Spanos went on to state that they wanted Schottenheimer to stay assuming he'd have both his coordinators too. The Chargers lost both offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to Miami and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to Dallas. That isn't Schottenheimer's fault though. If Smith really wanted the coordinators to stay, he should have made it worth their while.
This really is a kick in the balls for Marty. It's as if they purposely waited until all the other coaching vacancies filled up until they canned the guy. Now, he either can't coach or will be forced to take a coordinator position. Not that I really think another team would have gambled on Schottenheimer. The fact that he didn't opt for the contract extension a month ago leads people to believe he's ready to step down. Teams look for new coaches that they can build a franchise around.
However, this doesn't bode too well for the Chargers either. Most of the candidates left for the Bolts are defensive. San Diego had a pretty sick defense this year, but they were still an offensive team. Any team's an offensive team when you have LT. Ron Rivera from Chicago, Rex Ryan from Baltimore, and Mike Singletary from San Francisco are the three big names up for the job. Norv Turner has been mentioned, but San Fran was pumped to keep him aboard and could possibly give him some more money to do so. I still say Mike Martz, but no one listens to me.
This really leaves both sides in disarray. Marty Schottenheimer, convinced he was going to actually coach another season, is now out of a job. The Chargers and their players, meanwhile, are going to end up with an entirely different new coaching staff after having a league best 14-2 regular season record. It's tough on a first year starter like Philip Rivers to all of a sudden have a whole new coach. A shake up like that is bound to hurt the team at least a bit next year.