“Chargers-Year 1-How’d that Go?”
There will be football played next weekend in the NFL, and it will involve an LA team…the Rams-not-the Chargers.
It was a strange Sunday to say the least as the season ended. The Chargers buried an underachieving Raiders club, but at the Stub Hub Center, you’d thought it was a Raiders win, by the way the fans carried on.
Give the Chargers credit, they went (9-7) playing 16-road games this year. That’s the end result of ticket brokers buying up ducats and selling them to out-of-town fans, and whatever Chargers fans were out there doing the same thing.
Home team advantage? Never ever for the Bolts.
But as Sunday wore on, you got the sense, the only people rooting for the Chargers were those families of players, those related to the Spanos family, and people who work in the building.
“Beat LA-Beat LA” bounced all over that stadium. “Defense-Defense” was another favorite chant. And a few times we heard “Spanos sucks.”
Of course there were boos too, so much so, that the club wouldn’t-couldn’t introduce Chargers players before the so called home game,
And Chargers icon LaDanian Tomlinson was booed at halftime as he tried to interview Dodgers-World Series manager Dave Roberts.
The Chargers defense tried to pose for a picture in the end zone after a big play, and were pelted with garbage.
There were tarps still on upper deck seats, and bunches of seats at the 40-and-50 yard line unused-maybe unsold.
How tough was it for the QB-who had to go to a silent count to get off snaps while playing at home…again.
The heroics of Philip Rivers, driving his team to 9-wins in the final 12-games, were lost by all the Silver and Black shouts. His (4,515Y) passing season seemingly ignored. The same for the nearly (1,600) all purpose yards of running back Melvin Gordon, the 102-catch campaign of Keenan Allen, and an improving Joey Bosa-Melvin Ingram led defense that got better as the year went on.
And then to drive home the point, the season long history of ugly crowd turnout, planes flying overhead lambasting the greedy owner for what he did to San Diego, and the woeful home market-record setting low TV ratings.
In retrospect, hard to believe, Dean Spanos turned his back on 55-plus years of San Diego loyalty, had to borrow 650M to pay territorial fees, then has to put up with all this abuse on a Sunday-by-Sunday home game event. Think of what the interest was on that loan so they could play and get booed in LA.
NFL sources say by playing in the much smaller stadium, the team took in 30-M less in revenue than they would have, had they stayed in San Diego.
The rich man, an outcast lots of places, is a prisoner in his own skybox, not wanting to be even shown on television. Must be some nice way to live a life.
In 34-years they’ve owned this team, they’ve been to the playoffs just 9-times. Rivers, a likely Hall of Fame nominee, has just 1-playoff win in the last 9-years of his career dating to January 2008.
And on Monday, the day after the season ended, you had to turn to Page 6 of the LA Times, the newspaper of record, to get the Chargers game stories.
And Times columnists Bill Plashke and Dylan Hernandez had lots to say about the team, the owner, the move to LA.
The quotes included:
“It is a Raiders town”
“Visitors own the home town”
“Chargers remain an outsider”
The Rams won their division and recaptured the hearts of fans from Hollywood to Orange County.
The Raiders showed up and delivered again the knowledge they are a national brand who draw fans everywhere.
The Chargers, an afterthought, still unwanted, in their new home.
So you tell me, how year one went? Not very well, and it may be a longtime before things ever get better.