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Chargers’ night out not cause of off day

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Fans’ anger, Internet, radio fueling nonstory

    Friday, January 22, 2010

    SAN DIEGO – This has gotten out of hand, and so I am writing about it.
    I can hardly believe this has become the issue it has.
    There may well be some leadership and accountability voids on the Chargers. But those voids have to do with facing up to a few guys playing dumb and a few playing soft.
    That void may well also have to do with occasional off-the-field misconduct or irresponsibility.
    But this? This is a nonstory that has gotten feet because of the Internet, talk radio and fans who are angry about an inexplicable loss.
    Monday morning, with the Chargers’ 17-14 loss to the New York Jets barely 12 hours old, I heard players had been out Friday night at a strip club until way late — as in, Saturday morning late.
    I checked it out. There was some truth to what I had initially been told and also some inaccuracies. But what I verified was enough to determine it was not something that affected Sunday’s game, which as the Union-Tribune’s Chargers beat writer is my threshold in deciding whether something is a story.
    Wednesday, I responded to a question in my Mailbag on our Web site, confirming there was some truth to what had by that time become rampant Internet rumors but also some falsehoods and saying that it was not relevant to our analysis of the team.
    Later that day, it became Topic No. 1 on Darren Smith’s XX Sports Radio show, which used my Mailbag item as a lead-in to its discussion.
    Another host on the station later indicated the players were out Saturday night. At least one national talk-show host yesterday reported the same thing. That it was Saturday night has for days been the pervading rumor on the Internet.
    I am not certain how many players were out Friday. I don’t know how much alcohol they drank. I don’t know exactly what time they went home. (I think I know who was there and when they left, but I’ve been in this business and dealt with players long enough to know you can rarely be sure of everything in a case such as this.)
    If it had been Saturday night (hours before the game, involving a broken curfew) or had a player been arrested, I would have dug further and reported the story as soon as I confirmed it. Once I found out enough of the facts — that it was Friday night and no one was arrested — I didn’t care anymore.
    Neither should anyone else. At least not to the point that the loss is being blamed on players being out 36 hours before the game.
    That’s a day-and-a-half. They enjoyed some downtime on their off night. Whatever.
    At worst, players being out late at any sort of club on a Friday shows poor judgment. (Which, by the way, along with other issues that have come to light in recent years, might be part of a larger story about the true character of this team.)
    It certainly is a sign that players don’t get that perception is reality.
    It might show that players don’t get where they live — in San Diego and in 2010. This isn’t New York or Chicago. It’s a small town, and the Chargers are the biggest story here. It’s also the age of the Internet, cell phone cameras and “gotcha” journalism.
    It probably also speaks to a lack of understanding the situation they were in. It’s the playoffs, after all.
    But the Chargers lost because Shaun Phillips lost his head and Nate Kaeding lost his way between the uprights. There were some dropped passes and at least one ill-advised throw. Maybe the Chargers could have played more man coverage. Maybe they could have passed more. Good gravy, there are a dozen things to talk about before discussing a few dudes out two nights before the game.
    Norv Turner and A.J. Smith declined to comment when contacted yesterday.
    I assure you both wish every player were in bed at 10 every night, falling asleep with their playbook on their lap and/or with game film playing on the screen. I also know they understand that 20-something men — with lots of money and without wives — sometimes go out on their night off. Sometimes they drink, sometimes they’re with women, sometimes they gamble.
    I hate to tell you this, but guys went out on plenty of Fridays before plenty of victories this season.
    I know a trio of starters who were out Friday (and into the early morning Saturday) in Kansas City. Less than 36 hours later, all three played extremely well against the Chiefs.
    But the Chargers lost this game — seemingly without explanation, losing the focus, discipline and maturity that had carried them undefeated through the final two-plus months of the season. So people are looking for reasons why.
    Heck, I’m looking for reasons.
    This isn’t it.
  2. Sheba

    Sheba BoltTalker

    Jan 22, 2010
    I think the Chargers were over-confident going into the game but the main reason they lost was all the mistakes made by the offense throughout the whole game. Just look at all the miscues, dumb penalties, wasted timeouts in the first half, and Bad Luck.

    When the Chargers didn't score on their first drive due to the center hiking the ball over Rivers head for a 10 yd. lost I got the feeling things were going to go bad and they sure did.

    The Chargers should have been up 24 - 0 at halftime.

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