My hypothetical question (way off topic, but WTH) is if the Chargers had hired Tomlin instead of Nervous Norv, would the Chargers be as bad off as they are now?
No, they wouldn't.
For the life of me, I can't understand why NFL teams so often want to buy a used tire when they could get a brand new set for a lot less $$$. Veteran coaches demand higher salaries, and rarely do they improve on what they've already done. If they were great, they seem to regress in new roles (JJohnson, Mike Holmgren, Denny Green, Art Shell, Joe Gibbs). If they sucked, they usually continue to suck in the new job (Wannstadt, Jauron, Norv, Seifert, Capers).
There is a reason why the Steelers have not hired a has-been/never-was to fill their coaching vacancies over the last 38 years. It may also be why they've only had three such vacancies in the last 38 years.
Again off the subject, but does anyone think that Noll's legacy from the 80s would have changed dramatically if the Steelers had drafted Marino? I mean, they certainly weren't great, but they went to the playoffs and won division titles with the likes of Malone, Stoudt, Woodley, and Brister. That's worse than the list of Cowher's pre-Ben titles.