SAN DIEGO, CA – JANUARY 01: Kenny Wiggins #79 of the then-San Diego Chargers leads his team onto the field against Kansas City Chiefs during a NFL game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 1, 2017 in San Diego, California. It would be their last game in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Time.com (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
First Season: 1960 in Los Angeles. Moved to San Diego in 1961, where they would play for 56 seasons.
2016 Record: 5-11, 4th in the AFC West
* Lost last five games, including a 20-17 decision to the winless Cleveland Browns!
* Lost seven out of their last nine games
Coach: Anthony Lynn (1st year)
Home: StubHub Center, Carson, CA, capacity 27,000
First Game: Monday, September 11th, at Denver Broncos
First Home Game: Sunday, September 17th, vs Miami Dolphins
Phillip Rivers, QB – 60.4% completions, 4,386 yards, 33 TD, 21 INT
Melvin Gordon, RB – 997 yards, 3.9 ypc, 10 TD
Tyrell Williams, WR – 69 catches, 1,059 yards, 7 TD
Antonio Gates, TE – 53 catches, 548 yards, 7 TD
Jatavis Brown, LB – 79 tackles, 3.5 sacks
Denzel Perryman, LB – 72 tackles, 8 sacks
Melvin Ingram, DE – 60 tackles, 8 sacks
Casey Hayward, CB – 57 tackles, 7 INT (including one for a TD)
Philip Rivers, the Chargers’ all-galaxy quarterback since 2006. Photo courtesy of upi.com
A few months ago I was chatting with a young lady who was from the San Diego area.
The conversation got to how she and her fellow San Diegans could have kept their Chargers, as there was a ballot measure that would have approved a tax to raise money for a new stadium.
She told me, in essence, that they were sick and tired of owner Alex Spanos, who felt that the Chargers’ longtime home, Qualcomm Stadium, was no longer acceptable and he needed a new stadium, which he wanted the fans to pay for.
And which the San Diego folks would not go for as they defeated the ballot measure by a huge margin.
As an illustration of how sick they were of Spanos, the young lady I was talking to put the San Diegans’ sentiments perfectly:
“L.A. can have (the Chargers)!”
Well, here they are, playing in a soccer stadium with less than half the capacity of the average NFL facility – and roughly a third of the capacity of the Coliseum, home to the now-crosstown Rams.
Not that they are going share StubHub Center with the MLS’s Galaxy forever, as they will be moving to the new state-of-the-art palace in Inglewood with the Rams in 2020.
But for now…
As far as their chances this season, not that much is expected of L.A’s new sports team.
Particularly considering their last place finish in the AFC West last year and their 1-3 record in this year’s preseason, beating only the Rams.
At least those Chargers will have two bona fide, future Hall of Fame stars in quarterback Phillip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates, who have spent eleven years accounting for over 100 touchdowns.
Gates is the Chargers’ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns, while Rivers is the franchise’s all-time leader in pretty much everything a quarterback can do.
Their defense has some studs as well, guys like Joey Bosa on the defensive line and Jatavis Brown and Melvin Ingram at linebacker.
And with new coach Anthony Lynn at the helm, the Chargers have shown they want to get a fresh start; new town, new coach.
If they stay healthy and things work out perfectly, I can see them going 8-8, maybe even 9-7.
But they could also go 5-11 again, or worse.
A couple of things are for certain:
1. I’ll bet anything that StubHub Center will be bathed in silver and black instead of navy blue and gold when the Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas in 2020) Raiders are the Charger’s opponents there on New Year’s Eve.
Not only are those Raiders completely legitimate, they arguably have more fans in the SoCal area than the Chargers and Rams combined.
2. It will certainly be interesting – for both the Chargers and the fans – to play and watch games in a place as intimate as StubHub Center.
As such, I welcome the Chargers.
It’s nice for Los Angeles to have two National Football League teams after not having any for 21 years.
COMING ON THURSDAY: Our preview of the Chargers’ crosstown neighbor, the Rams, as they begin their second year of their return to L.A.
Chargers taking the field at Carson’s StubHub Center, their home for the next three years until the new spectacular facility in Inglewood is finished. Photo courtesy of sandiegouniontribune.com