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Relationship with Rivers may have saved Norv Turner

Denver Broncos v San Diego Chargers

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers speaks to Head Coach Norv Turner during their NFL Game against the Denver Broncos on November 27, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Broncos won 16-13 in overtime. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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Leading up to San Diego’s final game of the season, quarterback Philip Rivers passionately spoke up for his coach Norv Turner.

After the game, Rivers defended Turner even more vocally to the media. And then he took the message directly to owner Dean Spanos.

Rivers and “several other Chargers” went directly to owner Dean Spanos to make the case to keep Turner, according to’s Jason La Canfora. It’s not a stretch to say Rivers’ words and actions may have saved Turner’s gig.

“Philip has a great relationship with one of the best coaches he could possibly have,” Spanos said. “You can build your whole team around that relationship.”

We still don’t understand the decision, even after Spanos’ interview with Florio Tuesday. San Diego’s great play at the end of the season just proved how the team underachieved this season. Just like they did last year. If their six-game losing streak came later in the year, Turner would almost certainly be gone.

But all the losses should count equally, no matter when they happen. The team badly underachieved again.

Turner does work with Rivers very well. But Rivers is talented enough to work with a lot of good coaches. His loyalty is admirable, but it could cost him a chance to win big in 2012.

Rivers is talented enough and passionate enough to possibly have saved Turner’s job.

“If I knew [I saved Turner’s job], I wouldn’t tell you,” Rivers told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “If I believe in something, I wouldn’t feel good if I didn’t [say it]. I didn’t do it to just defend the coach.”