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Spanos looking forward to ‘09

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Friday, Mar 20, 2009
    By Casey Pearce, Chargers.com


    You must feel good now that you were able to restructure LaDainian Tomlinson’s contract. But there must have been some difficult, worrisome moments for you. What were you feeling while you were going through the process?
    “There was a sense of frustration on everyone’s part because it was something that we wanted to address quickly, but it was one of those situations that unfortunately you just couldn’t resolve in one day because it affected many decisions that we face down the line. There was more involved than just one contract. It affected what we may do in the coming years in terms of signing players to extensions or bringing in free agents. There was just a frustration because we would have liked to have gotten it over with as soon as possible.”

    Afterwards, LT said he appreciates your friendship more than you know. How did that make you feel?
    “I really value our friendship and our relationship, and I can’t say enough good things about LT and his wife LaTorsha and what they mean to not only our organization but also the community. What they’ve done the last eight years has been great for the whole city and all Chargers fans.”

    Did you receive any correspondence or comments from Charger fans after the LT situation was resolved?
    “Everywhere I went people stopped to talk about LT. I was in Florida and Texas and different parts of the country and people were coming up to me congratulating us that we got it done. Everyone was really happy.”

    Next week you’ll be at the NFL’s Spring Meetings in DanaPoint. In your mind, what are the most important issues that will be discussed or resolved?
    “We’ll discuss the ongoing business of the NFL and the difficult economic times that everyone is experiencing right now. We’ll talk about how to get through this difficult period. Nobody is immune to this, including the NFL. We’re looking at how we model our business going forward. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is going to be discussed. There is going to be some issues raised by the Competition Committee. Some of them are a net result of the Chargers’ season last year. One has to do with using instant replay to review plays that are ruled as incomplete passes. That stems from our game in Denver that was obviously an error. We’ll also discuss reseeding the playoffs and the draft order, and a lot of that is the result of the Chargers and how we ended up last year. It’ll be interesting.”

    Is there one particular issue or rule change that you hope gets resolved?
    “The one that interests me the most is the reviewable incomplete pass. I’m anxious to hear feedback from other coaches and some of the other owners to see what their perspective is on that.”

    Did it surprise you that the overtime format won’t be discussed?
    “No, not really. Just in the informal talks I’ve had with other coaches and owners around the League, I think everyone generally feels that the system has worked. We’re happy with the way it is and we’ll just continue on.”

    Next month’s NFL Draft is an event that many fans get excited about. What do you enjoy most about draft day?
    “It’s the process. There are two parts to it. One is the planning phase and all the possibilities. You try to anticipate all of the possible outcomes, but it never comes out exactly like you think. The first round is easier. If you’ve done a good job with that first half of the first round, most of the players that you anticipate being selected high are going to be gone. As you go later into the rounds, it’s important that you’ve done your homework. You don’t want to make mistakes there.

    “The second part (I enjoy) is actually going through it on draft day. You don’t have a lot of time and you have to make big decisions quickly. I really enjoy that part as well.”

    A week after the draft, the Chargers will hold their annual minicamp. What is that experience like for you, getting to see the new draft picks in Lightning Bolts for the first time?
    “Every year it’s exciting when you see the new prospects for the first time. A lot of people don’t realize the hard work that goes into that selection process by our scouts that are traveling all over the country. Prior to the draft, they come here and compare notes. In a very short moment they make their pick, and all of the sudden you have your seven draft picks here. We get to see the fruits of their labor and I know, for them, it’s very exciting. For me, I always look at these guys as possible starters for us, so I get excited. They’re young; their enthusiastic. A lot of them are awestruck. I like to see the different personalities. They’re young men who are excited for the chance to compete.”

    Looking ahead, what are your general thoughts about the upcoming season and what excites you the most?
    “We made some coaching changes that we think are going to help us. The one thing that I’m hoping for is that we can get through one year virtually injury-free. Not making excuses, but that’s something that’s really hurt us the last couple of years and it would be nice to get through this year with a lot of our key players injury-free. Last year we started the season a little banged up. We were still recuperating from the year before. As the season went on, we got healthier and it showed. It will be really nice to start this year with guys like Nick Hardwick, Shawne Merriman, Marcus McNeill, Jamal Williams and Antonio Gates at full strength and hopefully they stay that way.”

    The Chargers will celebrate their 50th Anniversary this season. Are you ready to announce the team’s plans for this celebration?
    “Not yet. We’ll have an announcement next month and Chargers fans everywhere will be able to join in the celebration. We’re working on several exciting opportunities and all give our fans a chance to participate directly in what we’re doing. I really think it’s going to be a great ride through 50 years of Chargers football, but you’ll have to stay tuned.”

    Your family has owned the team for exactly half of the team’s 50 years. When you think back, what were your initial feelings about becoming owners of the team and how has the experience been for you and your family?
    “It’s been a great ride. Some of the best times have been during the last five years because we’ve won four AFC West championships and we’ve come close to getting to the Super Bowl, which allows you to achieve your ultimate goal of winning a world championship. There are ups and downs in this business and you have to be resilient. We’ve had some down years, but it all comes down to being good, lucky and injury free. You have to have the best general manager, the best coach, the best staff and then you’ve got to do a good job of getting players. That’s always a challenge, but I think in the last five years we’ve done some of our best work.”

    What do you treasure and appreciate the most about this team?
    “There are a lot of things, but it’s what this team and its success brings to this community; that’s what makes me the most proud, especially in today’s times where the economic climate is such a drag on everybody. It’s really tough and there’s no business that hasn’t been affected, but what I saw this season was incredible. At the end of the season when we came back from 4-8 to make the playoffs, I don’t think I’ve ever seen fan enthusiasm like we experienced. The way the community came together to rally around this team, it was an incredible experience not just for me personally, but also the organization and our entire community as a whole. I think that says a lot about how important not just the Chargers are to San Diego but sports in general are to their local communities.”

    Is there anything new to report on the team’s effort to bring a new stadium to San DiegoCounty?
    “Right now we’re continuing to focus our efforts in Chula Vista, where we appreciate very much the leadership of the two members of the city’s Stadium Subcommittee, Council members McCann and Castaneda. At this point almost everything depends on when the bay front power plant can be shut down, and that’s ultimately a decision that is made at the state level. So we’re still working as hard as we possibly can, but the most important decision of all – the shutdown date for that power plant – is out of our control, and of the City of Chula Vista’s control. If this doesn’t work out, we’re hopeful that there might be other opportunities in the county. But right now our focus is still Chula Vista. They’ve been very good to work with and they want it as bad as we do, but these are difficult times right now for a lot of reasons. I think there’s a strong desire from everybody to get it done.”
    • Like Like x 1

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

    Oct 13, 2006
    Great article!!! :tup:
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Come on Draft Day!!! :abq2: :abq1:
  4. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Really enjoyed that.

    Got to meet Dean Spanos many years ago when I was doing a gig at the Murph.
  5. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    We're all looking forward to 2009 but I'm am not buying any hype like I did last year and I hope the players aren't either. AJ said he called some guys out that need to step up; we'll see.
    • Like Like x 1

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