The 2015 football season has spiraled downhill for the San Diego Chargers. Despite all the issues going on away from the field, there was always the actual game to look forward to. When the game is on, all else fades into the background for three hours.
Thirteen games and a 3-10 season record later, all the off the field issues have spilled over onto the sanctuary of the field as well. Players are crestfallen, reduced to nothing more than playing for pride in this, their worst season since 2003 where the Chargers finished 4-12.
Looming largest of all is the ongoing Los Angeles relocation effort spearheaded by the NFL front office. The league is bent on reclaiming the Los Angeles market and the Chargers are frontrunners to be chosen to do so. Efforts from the community and city officials have been lackluster. According to Commissioner Roger Goodell, the Bolts have not provided a viable plan to keep the Chargers in San Diego.
Anything can happen in the NFL. Carolina can be the last undefeated team in the league. Johnny Manziel can win and lose the starting quarterback job for the Cleveland Browns in less than a week. There are not one but two divisions in the NFL where not a single team has a winning record. That being said, the only thing left to question for the Chargers is the day the moving trucks arrive.
If that is indeed the case, then Sunday’s tilt against the Miami Dolphins will be the final home game of the San Diego Chargers. The whispers that swirled around Chargers park every offseason for the past 14 years have become roars and no player is immune to it. Every play knows this is their curtain call before the home crowd in San Diego.
Said quarterback Philip Rivers in a press conference this week:
“I’ll probably soak it in on the drive over there a little more than the past hundred-something times I’ve done it before a game. Because it could get emotional thinking about it, riding down that hill for the last time to this stadium.”
Antonio Gates was brought into San Diego as an undrafted free agent and will retire a first ballot Hall-Of-Famer. Said Gates:
“Obviously, San Diego has been phenomenal to me, I’ve played in San Diego my whole career. All I know right now is I’ve got one game left in Qualcomm, and I want to make the most of it. I’m going to go out and play it like any other game. I’m going to do the same thing from a preparation standpoint. Obviously, the assumption is that we’re going into this game to win. That’s my only concern. And if this is our last game, who knows what the future holds, but I want to make it my best game, a game to remember.”
Defensive captain Eric Weddle is the fourth-longest tenured Chargers after Rivers, Gates and punter Mike Scifres. Said Weddle to reporters:
“For us as players, we don’t have any idea or clue what’s going on, so we’re blind just like everybody else. So what we hear is what we hear from the outside. It’s unfortunate. It’s a great city, great fans. I wish we were better and could put a better product out there for them. But you are what you are. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to give it our all for them one last time if it is our last game.”
Win or lose, expect the Chargers to stay after the game and inhale being a San Diego Charger on their home field one last time. The players are as unsure of their moving status as we are but they’re not taking the gravity of the moment for granted. Expect an intense, inspired team hell-bent on winning their final home game. It will be a colossal success or an abject failure from trying too hard and making mistakes. There will be no in-between.
If you’re a Bolts fan, forget about how the season has played out. Show your appreciation to the team and come to the game. Tune in from home. Don’t give up hope that the team will stay, until the moving trucks do in fact arrive. Wear your lightning bolts with pride Bolt Nation. This is still our team.
The Greg One