Although I was only eleven, I recall watching the then Los Angeles Chargers first game, a come-from-behind 21-20 victory over the Dallas Texans on September 10, 1960. Future Congressman and presidential candidate Jack Kemp and running back Paul Lowe led that first victory.
I also recall the thrill of watching the San Diego Chargers win their first and last championship (pre-Super Bowl) in 1963—a whopping 51-10 drubbing of the then Boston Patriots. That game was particularly memorable, because Keith Lincoln—a product of my home state WSU Cougars—was named MVP.
Then came the Air Coryell years with my all-time favorite QB Dan Fouts.
All of this is to say I have been a fan of this team for 55 years.
Now ownership is threatening to abandon San Diego for a deal that would move the team to Carson to share a new stadium with their hated rivals, which is not such a stretch when you consider half the fans at a Qualcomm Charger-Raider game root for the pseudo Pirate franchise.
And now this long time fan asks, who cares?
Go, I say. I’m sick of the mega elite at the helm of this team—and most other major sport franchises—whining about the lack of a competitive building to house their multi-million dollar industry. Gee, doesn’t every major, All-American city fork over millions of taxpayer dollars to construct “offices” for Qualcomm, IBM, Apple, General Motors, and every other major private business?
To listen to the Spanos family and its representatives, you would think the Chargers were a latter day Oliver Twist being sadistically denied a mere second serving of gruel. This attitude becomes particularly galling in view of the fact that Spanos is buying the new site and plans to build the Carson stadium without taxpayer money.
Yeah, I know. San Diego will become a second-class city without an NFL team to anchor it. Just like L.A. did when it lost the Rams and those faux swashbucklers. If the NFL and its local ownership are unwilling to carry their own weight, then I say forget the Chargers. Forget these spoiled brats in control of major sport.
So, Spanos family, buy and build your own playground. Residents of San Diego enjoy the malaise, go surfing, drink a beer, and feel good about all the dollars San Diego politicians will be able to divert to filling potholes and providing services for the truly needy (like that would happen under any circumstance). And, if you find it as hard as I will rooting for a relocated Charger franchise, consider donning a Cheesehead in support of a team owned and operated by its local fans.
As for me this fall, I’m looking forward to supporting the new AHL San Diego Gulls.