Author's note: While there is a heavy dose of sarcasm in this article, there is nothing sarcastic about the central point, which is McCoy's inevitable contract extension.
If all you want for Christmas is for the Chargers to fire Mike McCoy and you're the least bit prone to depression or self-mutilation, or have even the slightest chemical dependency, well...this article isn't for you. Why? Because, as the title suggests, I'm about to tell you why the Chargers will extend Mike McCoy regardless of how he finishes the 2016 season, and I'm going to do it in the Chargers words before doing it in my own words.
I've seen people speculate McCoy needs to win at least eight games to keep his job, others have opined he has to win out, and still others have said he has to make the playoffs, and while all of those ultimatums make sense, they're inaccurate. In fact, they aren't only inaccurate; they're irrelevant because I believe the decision has already been made. To take it one step farther, I think there is a strong chance the framework for a deal is already in place.
Not only do I think it's probably a done deal, but I believe an extension has probably been in the works since the Chargers defeated the Broncos on Thursday Night Football in week six. Here's why...
First and foremost, the Chargers will use injuries as an excuse to extend Mike McCoy. Regardless of how they finish, they'll be quick to point out the 20 players (and counting) the team has lost to the Injured Reserve in 2016 and tout how "hard the team fought" for McCoy despite losing so many critical playmakers. They'll tell us McCoy had a winning record before the team was ripped apart by injuries and they couldn't, in good conscience, punish him for something that was entirely out of his control. He's a winner and a leader, they'll say, and they were won over by his ability to be competitive week in and week out in spite of so many injuries. It's complete and utter bulls*t, but they've had that excuse teed up since last season and are sure to roll it out at the press conference.
It isn't their 2016 record (what ever that winds up being), but their three wins over first place teams despite a depleted roster that represents the true measure of the 2016 San Diego Chargers. Oh yeah, they scripted this line the minute the clock hit 00:00 against the Broncos in week six; and Sunday's win in Houston will only strengthen their resolve on this point. Even with the injuries they outplayed and beat not one, not two, but three first place teams, with two of those wins coming on the road, they'll say. Surely we can all see that poorly coached, injury-riddled teams don't win on the road in Atlanta and Houston, which is a testament to the ability of this staff to get its team ready to play regardless of the circumstance. Sure, they blew some leads, but that's to be expected from a young team with so many injuries, their analysis didn't suggest the coaches were to blame for any of those losses.
It goes without saying that teams don't overcome the sheer volume of devastating injuries to key playmakers without a skilled coaching staff capable of developing and putting young players in a position to succeed Well, duh. They'll point to the growth of players like Dontrelle Inman, Tyrell Williams, Melvin Gordon, Jatavis Brown and Korey Toomer as examples of this coaching staff finding ways to eek every bit of talent and production they possibly could out of young players. They coached them up, threw them into the fire, and put them in a position to succeed, and if that isn't the measure of a skilled coaching staff, nothing is. Never mind that they had to play those kids because, you know, they had no choice; McCoy and his staff are responsible for their success. (In all candor, some of the players named above are examples of some impressive coaching, but I think the assistants are more directly responsible for that than McCoy.)
The players clearly love playing for McCoy; why else would they continue playing through such adversity? Mike McCoy is the quintessential leader, motivator, and an inspiration. Sure, they're professionals playing a dangerous game for millions of dollars on non-guaranteed contracts, and every game could be an audition for their next team, but these players play hard because they love their coach. Pay no mind to him looking lost on the sidelines late in games, wasting timeouts, settling for too many field goals, or proving himself incapable of reigning the team in when things go south, he knows how to win and has created a special culture in his time here.
They believe in the process and feel there is more value in continuity than making drastic changes to the program at this stage. I'm sorry, I can't do it - even I can't think of a funny or sarcastic way to "sell" this point to you because it's code for something far too depressing to find humor in, but I'll explain below.
So, I've told you all the reasons the Chargers will give us for extending McCoy no matter what happens the rest of the way, but we all know it's nothing but GM-speak and thinly-veiled excuses. Now it's time for the truth, and if you thought the reasons given above were depressing or upsetting, we're just getting started.
The Chargers will extend Mike McCoy because they don't care about winning. I mean, I'm sure they'd like to win at some point, but they certainly aren't committed to it like the Patriots and Steelers are committed to it. No, the Spanos family is committed to protecting their deeply flawed way of doing business above all else.
What does that mean?
Simply put, it means they'd rather stick with McCoy and all his obvious limitations than have to yield the kind of money and autonomy a real coach would demand. It means they "like" McCoy, Wis, and Pagano, know any new hire worth his salt would want to bring in his own guys, and have no interest in working with a proven, strong-willed and opinionated coach who wouldn't hesitate in pointing out their organizational shortcomings. But ultimately, I think this decision will be driven by the fear of inevitably having to dismiss their entire staff for the second year in a row (with the obvious exceptions of McCoy and Pagano after 2015) in order to appease any new hire, which is a nice way of saying they're cheap.
Like I said above, I think the decision was made when the Chargers beat Denver on Thursday Night Football in week six, and I wouldn't be shocked if the framework for an agreement is already in place. Much like what happened with general manager Tom Telesco's extension in 2015, I think this deal will be carelessly leaked before the end of the season, and it will likely happen sometime between week 14 and week 17. Knowing how the Chargers do business, it will go down right before they're officially eliminated from the post season.
Call me the Grinch, call me Scrooge, call me an idiot, it doesn't matter; this extension is basically a done deal. It's happening, and it shouldn't surprise you that the NFL's corner lemonade stand would screw this up as royally as they surely will. I recommend you figure out how to accept this now, but more importantly, remember that Jamie Hoyle predicted this and scripted the press conference on December 2, 2016, because that's what I'm here for.
Now let me hear what you think...