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What's wrong with the Chargers?

Discussion in 'American Football' started by thebigfeller, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. thebigfeller

    thebigfeller BoltTalker

    Oct 13, 2015
    The worst thing about Monday night was that sick, sick feeling it had happened so often before. Why is it our Chargers so often find a way to lose while other teams always seem to find a way to win?

    Emphasis here on seem - because y'know, we're not the only ones. All sporting teams are never more vulnerable than when protecting a lead late on - it's human nature, people get nervous, tiredness leads to mistakes - and in the NFL, Cleveland, Cincinnati or Detroit are known for choking more than we are. In fact, like Buffalo since the mid-90s, or Jacksonville since the turn of the century, or Tennessee with the exception of one year (which also ended in heartbreak), or Tampa Bay once they'd won the holy grail, they're all known for plain sucking.

    One of the Chargers' biggest problems is we never truly suck. We're always competitive; always a middle of the road kinda team. And we're punished for that, continually. We don't get to restock with #1 draft picks - whereas Indy moved seamlessly from Peyton to Luck by picking one year to be truly terrible. But because we don't get to restock as others do, we're almost never realistic contenders. At least, not since the window of opportunity closed circa 2010 anyway.

    I think a lot of fans had all sorts of problems accepting that. We'd all gotten so used to being so close; just one more push was all that seemed necessary between 2004 and 2009. But not since. We're way off the pace now: not in the same league as New England, our opponents this weekend, or several others. Almost any head coach would have us somewhere between 6-10 and 10-6 most years, injuries or not. I know many argue otherwise - but MM is not Norv 2.0, and it isn't his fault.

    Whose fault is it then? Trouble is folks, it's complicated. Very complicated. Goodness knows, this franchise made two appalling coaching decisions: first firing Marty (only justifiable had a proven SB-winning coach, eg. Gruden, been waiting to come in; not at all justifiable given the identity of his replacement); then throwing away his legacy with the hapless Turner and leaving him in for far too long. But we have a different GM now - a different coaching team, period - and past failures aren't their fault.

    The ownership? Well yes, up to a point. They were responsible for those two fateful decisions, after all. But Dean Spanos is way, way better suited to this task than his father: Alex, bless him, blew any chance we had for almost a decade by interfering too much, being impossible to work with, and assuming, like so many other owners, that his apparent business genius would naturally translate to sports. His biggest crime, I think, was to care simply too much - but he's given a heck of a lot to this organisation, and to the city of San Diego, like it or not.

    In the end, the Spanos' biggest problem is by the standards of most of their counterparts, they're just not that wealthy. It's asking way too much for them to plow ridiculous amounts into a new stadium; and they didn't get rich by throwing money around either. They are what they are: small town owners of a (relatively) small town club.

    And here's the thing: that small town just doesn't care anything like enough about this team. There aren't many stadiums where the opposing fans so often make more noise; the din the Steelers fans made on Monday was its own horribly apt comment on why we are where we are. And that has a major knock-on effect: home field advantage is a huge, powerful thing for many teams in this league. For us? Barely at all. We must be one of the favorite venues for opponents, because it just isn't a hostile place to come. But without real home field advantage, we have no chance of ever winning it all: and it's no coincidence that our most heartbreaking playoff losses all came at the Q.

    That's not the fault of any Charger fan. We have a hardcore like everyone else; but we don't have anything like enough of them. That the people of the city won't vote for a publicly funded stadium only highlights where we stand in the priorities of San Diegans: nothing like high enough I'm afraid. Is that the owners' fault? The coaches' fault? The players' fault? No, not at all.

    That, of course, is why we've reached the impasse over the stadium. I don't want to see the Bolts leave San Diego any more than anyone else; but from a business point of view, it's a total no-brainer. Unless a brand new spanking twenty-first century stadium can somehow be built, this organisation will never grow, and never be able to win a Championship. The hatred which the Spanos family have attracted despite doing everything they can for as long as I can remember to get a new stadium in San Diego (and being obstructed throughout by the city's disgraceful politicians) just isn't fair.

    Plus, well: the problem with not having a big enough fanbase is the fanbase itself isn't demanding enough, isn't fanatical enough, doesn't have enough edge to it. Even the Chargers' style of play is wrong: defense and running games are what win in January, but we laud Air Coryell (brilliant to watch, but underachievers ultimately), and ignore that the one and only time we reached the Super Bowl was when Boss Ross coached a fabulously close-knit bunch of overachievers, who played like an NFC East team.

    By the way: even Bobby Ross' Chargers were still the Chargers. We had bad days under him; awful ones even. We nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against Miami, majorly rode our luck in Pittsburgh; were humiliated by the 'Phins 2 years prior, and lost at home to our overachieving AFC successors, the Colts, in 1995. But he got more - much more - from less than any other Charger coach I can recall. It astonishes me that his template wasn't followed by any of his successors except the hideously unlucky Schottenheimer.

    That, though, is all history. Bottom line? Until the stadium situation is resolved, things won't change because they can't change. I know it hurts - it hurts a heck of a lot - but it is what it is I'm afraid. Blame one player or another, blame Pagano, blame Reich, blame McCoy, blame Telesco, blame Spanos... it's all entirely futile. And it misses the point completely.
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  2. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

    Aug 12, 2006
    Great post... 1 thing I would say however is.. were the owners able to put together a winning GM & HC ticket ala New England or (look at) Arizona then the fans would come. Having AJ and Norv in place probably 2 years too long alienated too many in SD I reckon. I was never a fan of Marty but he did get his team to play and they were always better prepared than Norv/MM teams. Poor Marty just lost the plot when the pressure/big boys came to play.

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