Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Los Angeles Chargers? Just wrong…



I always like to give myself a few days to process bad news. It helps give me clarity before lashing out at the masses. The Chargers officially announced their relocation to Los Angeles on January 12 (6 days ago). I’ve now been through the various stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, disbelief, sadness, apathy… and I think I’ve finally turned the corner. It was a good 56 year run in San Diego. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And with that the Chargers are back in LA where it all started (albeit for just 1 year). I understand that the NFL is a business, I really do. But the Chargers were literally part of the fabric of this community, not to mention the historical value of their presence in San Diego over the past 6 decades. They’ve been an admittedly shitty franchise, but at least they were OUR shitty franchise. So how did things go so wrong to where we ended up here? It’s easy to point blame at the owners. And trust me, I’ll be the first one to say that Dean Spanos is a greedy piece of shit. But in reality there’s plenty of blame to go around. The City of San Diego clearly over-played their hand. Having an NFL franchise is a privilege, not a right, and they clearly lost sight of this somewhere along the line. And how about the NFL and the other 31 owners who let this happen? Two teams in a market with no teams for the past 20+ years. How does that even begin to make sense?

As an OG Charger fan from way back in the Air Coryell days, I’ve had a bunch of people text and call asking about my thoughts on the Chargers move to LA. Will I simply write them off and say the NFL is now dead to me? Burn all of my Chargers gear and turn the page? Unfortunately, it’s not that cut and dry. In a strange way the Chargers are a part of me. I grew up in the 70’s watching games with my Dad. Those were special times (both on and off the field). As we go through the various stages of adolescence, we sometimes struggle to find common ground with our parents. But through thick and thin, my Dad and I always had the Chargers. Now my teenage son and I go to games together and it’s all come full circle. My emotional ties to this team run deep, no matter where they call home. So yes, the Chargers are still my team (but w/ a few caveats). I won’t wear any gear that says Los Angeles or buy anything that has that shitty new logo on it. I will pretty much refuse to acknowledge any association with LA whatsoever. But I will still go to games in my Seau & LT jerseys, and cheer on my team win or lose. Philip Rivers is still under center after all. And he’ll still be throwing touchdown passes to Antonio Gates & Keenan Allen. And we’ll still have one of the best, young up-and-coming defenses in football w/ players like Jason Verrett, Casey Heyward, and Joey Bosa. And the ultimate silver lining? The games at the StubHub Center are going to be awesome. Only 30K seats and the stands are right on top of the field. It will be a unique, intimate football watching experience like not other. Look, I can’t not be excited for Sundays. It’s all I know, all I’ve ever known. And if I have to make a small contribution to the Dean Spanos asshole foundation to do it? So be it.

And here’s my ultimate prediction, which is as much a hope as it is a prediction. The Chargers will get little to no fan support in Los Angeles. LA doesn’t want the Chargers any more than San Diego wanted to give them up. After they fail in LA (and we all know they will), Spanos will be forced to sell the team to a real owner who will then bring them back to San Diego where they belong. It happened with the Rams, so why not the Chargers? Until then go ___ ________ Chargers! Did I mention I refuse to acknowledge the temporary address change? Orange County is now home for me. The only real change is having to drive an hour north for the games instead of an hour south. That’s a zero sum game in my book. Glass half full…