Norv Turner resisted the temptation to gloat.
After all, Sunday was not a day for personal satisfaction. San Diego is headed to the AFC championship game, and the coach hired because predecessor Marty Schottenheimer couldn't get the Chargers there preferred to talk about a team's redemption.
"There's been a mind-set in our league that our guys are front-runners and when it gets tough or real challenging that they don't rise to the occasion," Turner said after the Chargers overcame injuries, crucial penalties and other mistakes to beat defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis 28-24 in the divisional playoffs.
"I think we've put that thing to rest. I think that one's done forever. We've got some guys who compete and fight, and scratch and claw, as good as I've been around. I told them in the locker room I've been doing this a long time. I've never been around a more gutsy performance by a team."
Much-maligned during unsuccessful stints with the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders, Turner was a surprising choice to replace Schottenheimer after the former coach failed to win in the playoffs.
Turner faced more criticism when the Chargers, who won 14 games under Schottenheimer in 2006, got off to a 1-3 start this season. The team regrouped to win 10 of its last 12 in the regular season, including six in a row down the stretch to clinch the AFC West.
Eleven wins weren't enough to validate the decision to hire Turner, though. He finally did that by guiding the Chargers to their first playoff victory in 13 years a 17-6 win over Tennessee in the wild-card round and dethroning the Colts on Sunday.
San Diego overcame several penalties Turner didn't agree with, including a holding call on ex-Ute Eric Weddle that cost the Chargers a touchdown by Antonio Cromartie on an 89-yard interception return in the closing seconds of the first half.
An incensed Turner ran onto the field to protest the call.
"I'm just like everybody else," the coach said. "I'm out there competing hard."
PACKERS HOST NFC TITLE GAME: Brett Favre can rest easy.
Instead of playing at Dallas' Texas Stadium, where the three-time MVP is 0-9 in his career, the Green Bay Packers will host the NFC championship game against the New York Giants on Sunday.
"I really haven't had time to digest it," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday night. "I'm just excited about having the game here at Lambeau Field."
A November clash of 10-1 teams left Dallas with the inside track for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Both the Packers and Cowboys ended up 13-3 with first-round byes.
"We'd love to play at home," Favre said after Saturday's game. "We haven't had a whole lot of success in Dallas. I'm well aware of that, but I'm just pleased that we won this game and gave ourselves an opportunity."
Now, he'll get that chance at home, where Favre is 8-2 in the postseason.
SIMPSON NOT SEEN AT GAME: There were plenty of blond women in the stands wearing pink Tony Romo jerseys, but girlfriend Jessica Simpson didn't appear to be one of them.
The pop singer-actress was apparently not in attendance to watch her boyfriend, the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback, take on the New York Giants in a playoff game Sunday.
Simpson's publicist said earlier in the week she was working on a new album and would not be there to support the Cowboys quarterback.
TO DEFENDS HIS QB: Terrell Owens was on the verge of tears, his bottom lip quivering and his voice wavering.
While his eyes were hidden behind dark sunglasses, he couldn't hide his disappointment or his loyalty to Romo after the Cowboys' 21-17 playoff loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.
"This is not about Tony. You guys can point the finger at him, you can talk about the vacation, and if you do that, it's really unfair," Owens said, his voice cracking. "It's really unfair. That's my teammate. That's my quarterback. You guys do that, it's not fair. We lost as a team. We lost as a team, man."
COLTS OWNER WANTS DUNGY BACK: Colts owner Jim Irsay will do what it takes to keep coach Tony Dungy.
He'll keep paying him the big bucks, help him get back to Tampa Bay more often, even give him additional time off if necessary. So will that be enough to keep Dungy on the sideline?
"Tony knows how much I want him to stay," Irsay said after Sunday's 28-24 loss to San Diego. "We'll sit down and talk this week and beyond this week. He needed to be down in Tampa some in the offseason, taking care of his family. We can work around that."
FALCONS HIRE DIMITROFF AS GM: Tom Dimitroff was hired as general manager of the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, leaving his job as director of scouting for the unbeaten New England Patriots. Dimitroff, who has been with the Patriots since 2002, will direct the Falcons' football operations, including working with a new head coach on draft decisions, free agency, trades and other personnel decisions.
The Falcons had a dreadful 4-12 season, one which saw star quarterback Michael Vick sentenced to a 23-month prison term after a federal dogfighting conviction.
Dimitroff will report to president Rich McKay, the Falcons' former GM whose 17-month contract extension was finalized Sunday.