Norv Turner as the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys seems to be the ultimate, along with Randy Moss maybe, in what could have been, as far as the team is concerned.
When Barry Switzer made his ignominious exit after four years and a Super Bowl win, it was rumored that Troy Aikman--whose development is inextricably linked to Turner's tutelage--put in not unclear terms his wishes for the offensive coordinator to become the team's fourth head coach.
In 2007, the end of the Bill Parcells era gave birth yet again to rumors of Turner coming in as head coach, rumors that gained some legitimacy when Jerry Jones seemingly hinted that Turner would be hired at a press conference. In a fateful move though, Jones and the Cowboys went with the defensive minded Wade Phillips and former quarterback/ "Turner disciple"/ offensive mind Jason Garrett.
"I wanted to go defense and felt like that with Jason on board we had a lot of what we could get with the development of Romo and the offensive philosophy that Norv represents," Jones said in an interview on KRLD-FM, per ESPN-Dallas. "Generally speaking, certainly Jason has a lot of Norv’s background and his philosophies, so I thought that we could get that, get the development of the quarterback, plus have really great defensive input with Wade Phillips."
This decision will likely face some deconstruction on Sunday, when the Chargers play the Cowboys in Arlington, pitting Wade's defense against Norv's offense. And while Norv has hardly been free of critics in his time in Southern California, he currently sits in a wholly different position than does Phillips in the court of public opinion.
Which is fairly understandable--Turner has won 15 straight games in December, a month with which Wade has struggled woefully to the widespread scrutiny of many fans and media figures in his three seasons as head coach. As of now, Phillips stock, along with his team, is falling; it won't be easy to reverse this trend. Nor will it be easy to change the minds around North Texas that still believe Turner should have gotten the job in 2007.
But beating that familiar face at JerryWorld on Sunday would be a pretty good start.