The Story of Norv Turner: Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator

SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 14: Head coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers smiles on the field before the game with the Chicago Bears on August 14 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

This is the first post in an offseason series where I break down the various stops of Norv Turner's NFL coaching career in the hopes of discovering how good, or bad, of a coach he is.

Dallas Cowboys (Offensive Coordinator)

I'm not certain that you can overstate Norv Turner's affect on the Dallas Cowboys "dynasty". What isn't stated enough, however, is that Norv came from relative obscurity and turned an underachieving bunch into the best offense in football.

The 1990 Cowboys had Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. They had Jimmy Johnson. The 1991 draft was defensive-heavy for the team, Alvin Harper being the only player drafted by the team that did anything on offense in his career. It was, for all intents and purposes, the same offensive roster in 1990 and 1991. The biggest difference was a switch in Offensive Coordinator from Dave Shula, son of legendary coach Don Shula, to Norv Turner.

When he was hired by Jimmy Johnson to coach the offense, Turner's only NFL experience was as the Wide Receivers Coach for the St. Louis Rams. The top receiver in each of Norv's 5 years there was Henry Ellard. In 1990, the Rams went 5-11. I have no idea how he got the job, but Turner was hired as the OC for the Cowboys and this happened.

1990 Cowboys 1991 Cowboys
Offense Pts (Rank) 26th 7th
Offense Yds (Rank) 28th 9th
1st Downs (Rank) 25th 8th
Offense Turnovers (Rank) 17th 5th

That was Norv's first season as an Offensive Coordinator. EVER. After missing the playoffs the previous year, the 1991 Cowboys made the playoffs and lost in the divisional round. Over the next two seasons their offense got even better, jumping from a Top 10 offense to a Top 3 offense, and the team won consecutive Super Bowls before Norv was being lavished with Head Coaching opportunities.

Grade: A+

You couldn't have asked for a better Offensive Coordinator for those Cowboys teams than Turner. Jimmy Johnson won those Super Bowls on the back of this brilliant hire.

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