The NFL is losing young viewers by the millions, as ratings for Super Bowl 55 show that the league has lost viewers under the age of 49 for the ninth straight year.
According to Sports Media Watch, Super Bowl 55 saw a decline in the 18 to 49 viewer demographic for the ninth year running. The 2021 Super Bowl lost another 37 percent of viewers in that age demo over last year’s audience.
But this year’s number is just another dip compared to past years. The game lost 43 percent in young viewers four years ago and 51 percent in 2008, the site reported.
Sports Media Watch also posted a graphic showing the decline over the years:
Here’s the long-term trend. A steady erosion, both in raw numbers and share of audience — even in years when the Super Bowl was setting viewership records (2015 audience of 114.4M is all-time high): pic.twitter.com/YAiT8wrwl7
The massive decline in young viewers does not portend well for the longevity of the National Football League. Losing millions of young fans may lead to the NFL’s audience dying off, and if new, young fans do not replace the older fans as they pass on, that leaves the league in a bad spot.
TV ratings are not the only bad sign for the longevity of the NFL. According to Forbes, fewer kids are playing football. Last year, Forbes noted that the decline of young people playing football is accelerating.
According to data from the Aspen Institute and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), from 2008-19 to 2018-19 the total number of youths aged 6 to 18 playing tackle football fell by more than 620,000, from about 2.5 million to less than 1.9 million. It seems almost certain that 2020 or 2021 will see overall high school participation in tackle football drop to below 1 million players, a level of participation not seen since 1998. Over that same decade, season attendance at top-level college games (Football Bowl Subdivision) declined by almost 10% (per school).
The NFL faces another problem of its own making. The league has allowed itself to be turned into a platform for social justice activism. With an audience consisting more and more of older fans, the political activism from the league and players is bound to alienate those older viewers.
The numbers seem to show that football may soon become a part of U.S. history, but not the future.
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Marty Schottenheimer, who won 200 regular-season games with four NFL teams thanks to his “Martyball” brand of smash-mouth football but regularly fell short in the playoffs, has died. He was 77.
Schottenheimer died Monday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, his family said through Bob Moore, former Kansas City Chiefs publicist. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. He was moved to a hospice on Jan. 30.
Schottenheimer was the eighth-winningest coach in NFL history. He went 200-126-1 in 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington and San Diego Chargers.
His success was rooted in “Martyball,” a conservative approach that featured a strong running game and tough defense. He hated the then-Oakland Raiders and loved the mantra, “One play at a time,” which he’d holler at his players in the pre-kickoff huddle.
Winning in the regular season was never a problem. Schottenheimer’s teams won 10 or more games 11 times, including a glistening 14-2 record with the Chargers in 2006 that earned them the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
It’s what happened in January that haunted Schottenheimer, who was just 5-13 in the postseason.
His playoff demons followed him to the end of his career.
In his final game, on Jan. 14, 2007, Schottenheimer’s Chargers, featuring NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson and a supporting cast of Pro Bowlers, imploded with mind-numbing mistakes and lost a home divisional playoff game to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 24-21.
A month later, owner Dean Spanos stunned the NFL when he fired Schottenheimer due to a personality clash between the coach and strong-willed general manager A.J. Smith. Schottenheimer and Smith hadn’t spoken for about two years.
A breaking point for Spanos — head of the family owned team — came when Schottenheimer wanted to hire his brother, Kurt, as defensive coordinator after Wade Phillips was hired away as Dallas’ head coach. Kurt Schottenheimer had been on his brother’s previous staffs, and Marty Schottenheimer’s son, Brian, had been Chargers quarterbacks coach from 2002-05.
Schottenheimer then moved to North Carolina to spend time with his family and golf.
Schottenheimer was 44-27 with the Cleveland Browns from 1984-88, 101-58-1 with Kansas City from 1989-98; 8-8 with Washington in 2001 and 47-33 with San Diego from 2002-06.
Schottenheimer never made it to the Super Bowl, either as a player or coach. He was a backup linebacker for the Buffalo Bills when they lost the 1966 AFL Championship Game to Kansas City, which then played the Green Bay Packers in the first Super Bowl.
As a coach, his playoff losses were epic and mystifying.
His Browns twice came tantalizingly close to earning Super Bowl berths, only to have them ripped away by “The Drive” and “The Fumble” in consecutive AFC Championship Games against personal nemesis John Elway and the Broncos.
In the 1986 AFC championship game at Cleveland, Elway led the Broncos 98 yards in 15 plays to tie the game on a 5-yard pass to Mark Jackson with 37 seconds left in regulation. Denver won in overtime on Rich Karlis’ 33-yard field goal.
A year later, with the Browns trailing the Broncos 38-31 with 1:12 left at Denver, Earnest Byner fumbled on the Broncos’ 1-yard line. The Broncos won 38–33 after taking an intentional safety.
Schottenheimer’s Chiefs reached the AFC title game in 1993 but lost at Buffalo. Two of his Chiefs teams went 13-3 and locked up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs before shockingly flaming out in the divisional round.
The Chargers thought they had a Super Bowl-caliber team in 2006, but Schottenheimer’s career ended with a brutal playoff loss to the Patriots. In the first quarter, Schottenheimer insisted on going for it on fourth-and-11 from the Patriots’ 30-yard line. Mike Vrabel strip-sacked Philip Rivers and New England recovered.
The biggest pratfall, though, and one that still haunts Chargers fans, came with San Diego leading 21-13 with just more than six minutes to play. Marlon McCree intercepted Tom Brady and instead of going to the ground, tried to run and was hit and fumbled, with the Patriots recovering. New England rallied for the win.
Schottenheimer seemingly survived another playoff failure, only to be fired a month later.
After winning just 12 games in Schottenheimer’s first two seasons, the Chargers went 12-4 in 2004 behind Tomlinson and a rejuvenated Drew Brees to end an eight-year playoff drought.
But they lost a home divisional game to the New York Jets in overtime. Schottenheimer, named The Associated Press Coach of the Year earlier that day, was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for running onto the field to argue with the referees in the second quarter.
In overtime, the Chargers had a first down at the Jets’ 22, but Schottenheimer went conservative and called three straight runs up the middle by Tomlinson to set up a 40-yard field goal attempt by Nate Kaeding, who missed. The Jets then moved down the field for the winning field goal.
Schottenheimer was born on Sept. 23, 1943, in Canonsburg, a small town outside Pittsburgh. He played at Pitt before a six-year pro career with the Bills and Patriots.
He is survived by wife Pat and children Brian and Kristin. Brian Schottenheimer was fired as Seattle’s offensive coordinator last month and then hired by new Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer as passing game coordinator-quarterbacks coach.
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Two of the Bucs’ first three touchdowns came from pass interference calls against the Kansas City Chiefs.
These are very grey calls in the sense it requires the discretion of the referee to determine at what point contact warrants a penalty.
Many judges believed the Chiefs were unfairly penalised.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys, who introduced the six-again call last season to punish ruck infringements, has expanded it in 2021 to cover players encroaching inside the 10-metre defensive corridor.
The same subjectivity on whether a defensive player standing inside the 10m affected the attack applies in the NFL with pass interference.
Furthermore, in 2021, if a player fails to touch the ball with their boot in the play-the-ball it will result in a turnover, rather than what had been a penalty.
Six-again calls are made on the run. While similar breaches are forensically analysed on NFL telecasts, they are not subject to review in the NRL.
Rather than learn from the NFL, the NRL is compounding this subjectivity.
However, the NFL could learn from one change V’landys introduced last year.
With the Bucs leading 7-3 in the Super Bowl, Brady unleashed one of his radar-accurate passes on fourth down but the officials ruled it short. Tampa Bay challenged the call, aware it was a 50:50 decision. In the NFL, if the video referee upholds the decision, the team loses the challenge and the result stands. In the NRL, however, if a challenge is made and the vision is questionable, the result stands but the team does not lose its challenge.
Given the tight scoreline so early in the Super Bowl and the uncertainty over the decision, Bucs coach Bruce Arians must have agonised over whether to challenge.
In the NRL, many would argue a captain has a responsibility to his teammates and fans to challenge.
The NRL encourages this democracy, despite being intent on reducing the time officials spend deliberating decisions. Interestingly, the NFL review of the failed Tampa touchdown occurred during ESPN’s commercial break, an example of the network editing out stoppages for Australian audiences in its Pacific feed. When Brady threw a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski, the commentator said he should be rewarded with “a meat pie and a schooner”.
Brady’s longevity is also likely to set an example for some of the NRL’s durable playmakers to continue, such as the Sea Eagles’ Daly Cherry-Evans.
The age of the Super Bowl coaches is also instructive. Arians is 68 and the Chiefs’ Andy Reid is 62. Of the last two big winners in the NRL, 2020 premiership-winning coach Craig Bellamy is 61 and Queensland’s victorious State of Origin coach, Wayne Bennett, is 71. There is no substitute for experience.
Bellamy usually undertakes a study tour of the US every off-season but COVID-19 has kept him at home this year. He is a fan of Brady’s former coach at the Patriots, 68-year-old Bill Belichick.
Belichick only hires staff from within the Patriots and Bellamy now chooses ex-Storm players as coaching assistants and recruiters, the latest being ex-Knights player Tim Glasby.
It might be insular but it’s the most efficient way of reinforcing club culture, despite the loss of star players such as Billy Slater and Cronk.
Belichick will want to win a Super Bowl without Brady, just as Bellamy aims for a premiership without Smith.
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Roy Masters is a Sports Columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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Aaron Rodgers made a surprise announcement during Saturday night’s NFL Honors—he’s engaged! The news comes days after E! News exclusively reported that Aaron and Shailene Woodley are enjoying a long distance relationship.
Sprinkled in between thank you’s to his teammates and coaches following a successful football season, the Green Bay Packers quarterback revealed he popped the question, but did not mention the Big Little Lies actress by name.
“2020 was definitely a crazy year filled with lots of change, growth, some amazing, memorable moments,” Aaron described as he accepted the 2020 Most Valuable Player award. “One hundred-eighty straight days of having my nose hair scraped, a plan for very little fans or no stands the entire season, I got engaged, and I played some of the best football of my career.”
Record scratch… Engaged?!
Yep, that’s right. Aaron went on to shout out the “great group of people” that support him off the field, which included, “my fiancée,” of course.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback, 37, and Shailene Woodley are dating, according to E! News, with a source telling the outlet that the pair have kept their romance “private and low key.”
“They have seen each other and been in touch,” a source said. “They continue to talk and see each other when they can. They are both focused on their careers but they also make time for each other.”
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Rumours of a Rodgers and Woodley coupling have been brewing for some time. In October, sports site Awesemo.com reported the 29-year-old actress had been spotted in Green Bay.
Woodley, 29, who has starred in the “Divergent” film series and HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” previously dated rugby player Ben Volavola.
As for Rodgers, he split from longtime girlfriend Danica Patrick over the summer. He also dated actress Olivia Munn from 2014 to 2017.
Rodgers just wrapped his 16th season with the Packers, falling to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game last month.
The 24th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Rodgers is also veering in a new direction this off-season. In January, it was announced he’ll be joining the guest-hosting line-up for “Jeopardy!”
Rodgers previously appeared on an episode of “Celebrity Jeopardy!” in 2015.
Reps for Rodgers and Woodley did not immediately return our request for comment.
This article originally appeared on Page Six and was reproduced with permission
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Bill Belichick may never see it, as a noted non-user of “SnapFace,” but social media came trolling for him Sunday night.
As Tom Brady clinched his ticket to a 10th Super Bowl — his first outside of New England after helping the Buccaneers beat the Packers 31-26 in the NFC Championship — the Belichick-Brady debate was reignited, largely at the expense of the longtime Patriots coach.
“Belichick had us fooled this whole time,” former Patriots safety James Ihedigbo tweeted.
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Brady’s first nine trips to the Super Bowl came with Belichick and the Patriots — they won six together — with the question eventually becoming who was more responsible for their success. But in the first season after Brady left, the 43-year-old will be playing for another ring in Super Bowl 2021 while Belichick and the Patriots watch from home after going 7-9 and missing the playoffs.
That put Belichick squarely in the crosshairs of social media Sunday night, with users invoking the Bernie Sanders inauguration meme and others to poke fun at the coach.
This article was originally published by the NY Post and reproduced with permission.
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Grammy award-winning Miley Cyrus recently announced she will be making an appearance for this year’s Super Bowl.
The singer has been very busy with promoting her newly released album ‘Plastic Hearts’, now she is in for another major event one of the most anticipated events annually as she will be performing at the Super Bowl’s first-ever TikTok Tailgate on February 7.
She took to her social media channels and announced “I’ll be there for TIKTOK TAILGATE!!! I can’t wait to put on a show for the NFL’s honoured guests before the game…. Health care workers from Tampa and around the country! Join the tailgate at 2:30 PM ET FEBRUARY 7 on @TikTok & @cbstv.”
Just earlier in the week when it was revealed the NFL would have 22,000 attend the game. More than 7,500 health care workers have been granted free admission.
Many other artists are getting involved in the Superbowl this year. Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church will be performing the National Anthem, and H.E.R. is slated to sing ‘America the Beautiful.’ And, the highlight, the highly coveted half time show will be graced by The Weeknd.
Upon the announcement of his performance for the half-time show, The Weeknd “We all grow up watching the world’s biggest acts playing the Super Bowl and one can only dream of being in that position. I’m humbled, honoured and ecstatic to be the centre of that infamous stage this year.”
Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, when asked about the upcoming event, he said “These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude. We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings.”
“It is an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to honor them.”
January 10, 2021, 10:08 AM
• 7 min read
The Tennessee Titans will honor the six first responders responsible for safely evacuating residents in downtown Nashville prior to the Christmas Day bombing.
Officers Brenna Hosey, Tyler Luellen, Michael Sipos, Amanda Topping, James Wells and Sergeant Timothy Miller will be in attendance at Sunday’s NFL playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens and plunge the Titans Sword of Honor to mark the countdown to kickoff and will be recognized as the game’s honorary 12th Titans, according to the Tennessee Titans.
“While we can never thank these officers enough for their heroic acts, it is an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to honor them at the game on Sunday,” said Titans president and CEO Burke Nihill. “We are grateful for their service to our community and appreciate that we’ll have them on site to support the team.”
Nashville police officers were called to downtown Nashville early on Christmas morning when they discovered an RV playing a recording saying a potential bomb would detonate within 15 minutes.
The officers immediately began working to evacuate nearby buildings when the RV exploded at approximately 6:30 a.m, blowing out windows of nearby buildings and causing extensive and structural damage to dozens of buildings in the surrounding area.
Authorities found human remains among the debris of the explosion and investigators eventually determined that they belonged to the RV owner who was later identified as 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner of Antioch, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville.
Eight people were injured in the blast. Warner He was the only person to die in the blast.
The Nashville police officers were hailed as heroes at a press conference a couple of days later.
“Immediately, they didn’t think about their own lives. They didn’t think about themselves. They thought about the citizens of Nashville and protecting them, and they went about knocking on doors,” Chief John Drake said, as he introduced five of the six officers. “Had they not made those efforts, we’d be talking about the tragedy of people and lives lost.”
On Sunday, however, the officers will be lauded on the national stage.
“To be able to stand at the stadium with [my fellow officers] and receive this honor together is amazing,” said Officer Wells. “[Our response on Christmas Day] was a total team effort. It was not what one individual did or said, it was about all of us coming together to protect our community, and keep our community safe and keep each other safe.”
The Tennessee Titans said that their players will continue to wear the “615 Strong” helmet decal in this weekend’s game, honoring Nashville’s resilience and the six officers involved.
The Tennessee Titans (11-5) are the fourth seed in the AFC and will take on the fifth seeded Baltimore Ravens (11-5) for the right to move onto the divisional round of the 2021 NFL playoffs.
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It’s playoff time in American football’s NFL, with a six-game round of wildcard matches for the first time.
That’s two games more than normal, the upshot being that there’s more on the line for more teams this weekend, but also that the number two seed in each division — the Bills (13-3) and the Saints (12-4) — will not get a bye.
With coronavirus restrictions making home-field advantage an almost obsolete concept — for the first time in NFL history, visiting teams won more often than home teams — having to play an extra game could prove vital when it comes to the Super Bowl race.
So, while the reigning Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) and the resurgent Green Bay Packers (13-3) with their MVP-contending quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers kick back and cool their heels, here’s what to look out for this weekend.
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) vs Buffalo Bills (13-3)
The Bills have won six straight games and will take some stopping thanks to an in-form offence that has been piling on points for fun.
Buffalo walloped the Miami Dolphins 56-24 last week, following impressive scores of 38-9 over New England and 48-19 over Denver.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen has finished the campaign in such sparkling form that in any other year he would be a shoo-in for the MVP award.
Allen has become one of the league’s best players after a hit-and-miss season last year, completing 69 per cent of his passes for 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, combining brilliantly with new wide receiver Stefon Diggs — who led the league in receptions and receiving yards this year.
The seventh-seed Colts are not expected to win, but they have only lost one of their last five matches and, if their defence holds against the Bills’ sparkling offence, they could be a genuine threat.
LA Rams (10-6) vs Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
These two NFC West rivals know plenty about each other, having played twice already this year.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw two interceptions that helped the Rams record a 23-16 victory in California, although the tables were turned a fortnight ago, when the Seahawks cruised to a 20-9 victory.
The Rams’ defence has been excellent all season — they’ve conceded the fewest points of anyone in the NFL this year — but quarterback Jared Goff has to fire if he’s going to lead his team to the divisional round.
He’s yet to throw a touchdown against the Seattle defence this year and has an injury cloud hanging over him after picking up a thumb injury against the Seahawks in week 16.
Goff was officially listed as questionable for the game 24 hours out, with one-game man John Wolford waiting in the wings after his victorious debut last week against the Cardinals.
If Wolford does get the nod, the change in style — Wolford has electric pace and is not afraid to run — could pose some questions of the Seattle defence.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) vs Washington (7-9)
Tom Brady has had another brilliant season — his first since he left the New England dynasty where he won six Super Bowls.
He led his Buccaneers offence to scores in excess of 40 points in the past two weeks, albeit against the woeful Lions and Falcons.
The 43-year-old, 21-season veteran has thrown for 40 touchdowns this year — his most since 2007 — for 4,633 yards.
So he is unlikely to have too many issues against the worst team in the postseason — the only team that snuck in with a losing record —right?
Perhaps, but Washington’s four-man defensive line and it’s swarming pass-rush — led by defensive end Chase Young — might just be able to put a Buccs offensive line that’s not been tested for a few weeks under pressure.
The feel-good story would be a Washington win for Alex Smith, whose has recovered from a life-threatening leg injury to make the playoffs, via 17 surgeries — but he will have to make sure he hits his receivers and not the opposition secondary.
Smith has thrown eight interceptions this year, for just six touchdowns.
Baltimore Ravens (11-5) vs Tennessee Titans (11-5)
The Ravens has won their last five off the back of some electric quarterback play from Lamar Jackson and are a good bet to get up over the Titans.
These two are the best rushing teams in the league, with the Ravens doing so off the back of their dynamic quarterback.
Last week Jackson contributed 97 yards on the ground as the Ravens amassed 404 running yards of offence last week against the Bengals.
If the Titans’ defence can step up and stop the run game, then they’re definitely a chance — although there’s little suggestion they can, having conceded more points than any other playoff contender at 429.
However, Ryan Tannehill continues to impress with some big plays at big moments for the Titans, so if it’s close in the fourth quarter then the Ravens could be made to sweat.
The Titans also have the psychological advantage of beating the Ravens in the divisional round last year and in a 30-24 overtime victory earlier this season.
Chicago Bears (8-8) vs New Orleans Saints (12-4)
Veteran quarterback Drew Brees leads a New Orleans squad that has incredible depth and should be more than enough to take down the Bears.
The 41-year-old — who is yet to confirm whether or not this will be his last season in the competition — was back to his best last week after showing a bit of rust after returning from a rib and lung injury.
He threw three touchdowns in a 33-7 victory over the Panthers to give him 24 for the season, against six interceptions.
That came off a 52-33 slugfest against the Vikings thanks to six Alvin Kamara touchdowns.
The Bears are only in the playoffs due to the expanded field this season and they showed how vulnerable they were against the pass/run game in a 35-16 home defeat against the Packers last week.
Cleveland Browns (11-5) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
It’s been so long since Cleveland last won a playoff game, quarterback Baker Mayfield had not even been born.
The Browns snuck into the playoffs for the first time in 18 years last week with a scratchy 24-22 victory over their AFC North rivals, the Steelers, who they meet again this week.
There was plenty of emotion after the Browns secured their playoff slot, but some joy will be tempered by the fact that its rookie head coach, Kevin Stefanki — along with some of his staff and two players — will not be able to be a part of the wildcard game due to having to isolate after contracting coronavirus.
That makes the Steelers favourites despite last week’s defeat — coach Mile Tomlin opted to rest his main starters for the season finale, including veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and linebacker TJ Watt.
The Steelers started the season strongly but have really limped through the second half of the campaign, meaning the Browns will fancy their chances of winning a playoff game for the first time since 1995.
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FILE PHOTO: Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone speaks during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
January 5, 2021
(Reuters) – The Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers parted ways with their respective head coaches on Monday as the annual purge of personnel continued for underperforming teams across the National Football League (NFL).
A day after the 2-14 New York Jets fired Adam Gase, the Jaguars let go of head coach Doug Marrone after a 1-15 season, the worst record in the NFL, and the Chargers dismissed Anthony Lynn after two consecutive losing campaigns.
Marrone led the Jaguars to the AFC Championship game in the first of his four years in the role, which they lost 24-20 to the New England Patriots.
However, he was unable to sustain the momentum and the team finished last in the AFC South in the following three seasons.
“I am committed and determined to deliver winning football to the City of Jacksonville,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement on Marrone’s departure. “Realizing that goal requires a fresh start throughout our football operations.”
The Jaguars head coaching position is widely considered as one of the most attractive in the league since the team have the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“Now the quest begins to find a head coach who shares my ambition for the Jacksonville Jaguars and our fans, whose loyalty and faith are overdue to be rewarded,” added Khan.
Lynn, a former offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills who the Chargers hired in 2017, is leaving Los Angeles after lacklustre 5-11 and 7-9 records in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
“This is a results-driven business and, simply put, the results of the past two years have fallen short of expectations,” Chargers owner Dean Spanos said in a statement.
“Moving forward, we will redouble our efforts to both build and maintain a championship-caliber program.”
Elsewhere in the league, Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway, who won the Super Bowl twice during his 16 seasons as a quarterback for the team, said he would “step up into an elevated role and hire a general manager.”
Elway said he will remain president of football operations in 2021 and help in the process of hiring a general manager for the 5-11 Broncos alongside head coach Vic Fangio.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris)
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