LaDainian Tomlinson and the San Diego Chargers were a force in the mid-2000s, as the future Hall of Famer became a superstar. But one thing apparently still stick’s in Tomlinson’s craw: the 2006 season when the Chargers went 14-2 and lost to the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs 24-21.
Tomlinson believes the Chargers would have won the Super Bowl that year if they had Drew Brees under center, not Philip Rivers (who was in his first year as a full-time starter). Chris Mortensen relayed the following quote from Tomlinson:
“If Drew had been our quarterback [in 2006], we would have won the Super Bowl. There were a lot of circumstances that were in play — obviously, Drew’s injury right at the end of the (2005) season and the front office wasn’t willing to make the (financial) commitment to keep him.
“Philip hadn’t played enough to get it done at that time.”
Tomlinson’s argument certainly has merit. While in the long run the decision to go with the younger, cheaper (at the time) Rivers was probably the best decision for the Chargers business-wise, that 2006 season might have ended differently with the experienced Brees at the helm.
That said, you can’t argue too much with a quarterback who guided his team to a 14-2 record. Rivers was good in 2006 as he completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 3,388 yards, with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He had a passer rating of 92.0 and a Total QBR of 69.8, both solid marks. But maybe his lack of experience in big moments held the team back in the postseason.
Tomlinson won the MVP award following a record-breaking season in 2006 but it’s clear he feels he and the team came up short.
Following the 2006 season the Chargers’ front office made the asinine decision to fire head coach Marty Schottenheimer[autotag] and replace him with Norv Turner. While the team made the AFC title game during the 2007 season, things were never the same. That 2006 season was San Diego’s best-ever chance for a title, even better than their run to the Super Bowl in 1995