2014 AFC Playoffs
History shows that the Chargers do not perform well in the month of November. Maybe it’s the changing of the seasons; warm to chilly air, or maybe the injuries tend to catch up and cripple them. Since 2006, Philip Rivers has played all sixteen games every season, leading the team to great accomplishments, playoff appearances and impressive numbers, yet there always seems to be a trend; a sub par record in November.
Not including the current season, the Chargers are only 17-15 in November since 2006; often having at least two of their games away. For the last five seasons, the Chargers have accumulated 122 penalties for 885 yards, yet have only scored 531 total points in November. Starting this month off like many of the previous ones, the team is 0-1; having lost to the Dolphins in Miami. Even last season, the Chargers went 1-3 with three away games in the month of November; entering December at 5-6. In the 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons, the Chargers only managed a 4-7 record; they missed the playoffs all three of those seasons.
The Chargers return from a bye week with a 5-4 record and face off on Sunday at the Q against their division rivals the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, Rivers is 3-5 coming off a bye week. In the last three years, the Chargers have lost their second game in November every time; two of three were home games and one of the home game losses were against the Raiders. Since 2010, Rivers hasn’t been able to surpass a passer rating greater than 100.0%; only averaging 99.8% in the month of November. Let’s face it, the Chargers do not perform well in the middle of the season. However, December is a completely different story.
If you haven’t heard before, you should hear it now; Philip Rivers and the Chargers are red-hot in December. Rivers’ middle name should really be “clutch” since he continuously pulls through at the end of every season. Since 2006, he is 30-6 in December. Not enough to impress? Well, Rivers also has an average passer rating of 105.4% and has averaged only 2.6 interceptions opposed to the 3.8 average interceptions in November. In the 2013 season, Rivers led the team to win their last four games of the year and sneaking them into the playoffs. In the last six seasons, the Chargers went to the playoffs three times when the team had two or fewer losses in December. Since 2006, the team has a 5-3 record for their first December game; each opponent has been an AFC team. This year, the Chargers start December off at home versus the New England Patriots; an AFC East team. Unfortunately, Rivers is 1-3 against Tom Brady in the regular season. Why is this important? Defeating any AFC team will increase their chances of a post season appearance.
Unlike Peyton Manning, Rivers plays very well in outdoor stadiums with cold weather present. Yes, Rivers plays in an outdoor stadium in sunny San Diego, but the way he owns teams on their cold turf is incredible. For the last eight years, he has won 15 of 16 games played in outdoor stadiums during the cold December month. The last two games of this season are in outdoor stadiums; Kansas City and Santa Clara. Ending the season with two wins on the road in cold weather will impress more than just Charger fans.
For the Chargers to sneak into the playoffs this year, a winning November record is crucial. Luckily for them, they play the Oakland Raiders and the St. Louis Rams at home in the next two weeks; both teams only have a combined record of 3-15. Adding to that, Ryan Mathews, Melvin Ingram, Manti Te’o, and Jerry Attaochu all returned to practice this week. If Philip Rivers and company can continue their stellar December play and win games in November, there is no reason why they can’t turn heads and head into the 2014 playoffs. However, if history repeats itself, November can be another ugly month. Time will tell, but Rivers is capable of accomplishing the unheard of when most have already written him off.
To the ladies of the world that love our great sport of football, on the behalf of the men of the world, we salute YOU! Ask any sports loving, red-blooded American male and we will all tell you, there are not nearly enough of you. After what seems like a lifetime of dating, pretty close to eight out of ten women rolled their eyes at me when the subject of conversation turned to football or sports in general. At one point about a decade ago, I even forsook the entire regular season for a woman. She wanted us to be together on Sundays and her idea of a fun Sunday was craft fairs, going antiquing or playing with her cat.
My fanaticism with the Chargers began when I was 7, so I was a full blown Chargers addict by this time. At the time of this romance, the Chargers were in year four of the Ladainian Tomlinson era. I fooled myself into thinking she was more important than football. It took those regular season months and the growing withdrawals I was suffering to realize the importance of common interests. We liked very different things. I realized that no degree of hotness makes up for a year without football. A year without football leaves a void inside that must be filled. Antiques are just old stuff. And I hate cats. By the end of December this experiment was over but I rejoined the party too late. The Chargers won the AFC West by going 12-4, (of all the seasons to sit out) then Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding forgot how to kick and missed three field goals in a 20-17 loss to the Jets in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The football gods had smote me for my insolence and taken my team out of the Super Bowl mix for good measure.
It was at that point I decided I would never let a woman keep me from my Chargers again. Football was added to the dealbreaker list. Thankfully, I will never have to deal with that problem again.
My beautiful wife Dawn is as fanatic a football fan as I am. She knows the entire team roster. She knows each player by just their number. Her commentary on the game is better than the announcers on the broadcasts. She can give you her team’s history going back to her childhood. That alone was enough to make me fall in love with her. The only problem is, her favorite team is the Denver Broncos. Great… Division rival. Opposite ends of the couch twice during the regular season. The Broncos are the toast of the league this season and now to make matters even more interesting our teams are on a collision course Sunday for the right to advance to the AFC Championship.
There will not be opposite ends of the couch for this one. Separate buildings on the opposite ends of town is the plan for this trilogy game.
Many have asked me, ‘What’s it like to have a wife that’s a Broncos fan?’ She is the mirror image of me. She roots as hard for them and yells at the TV more and louder than I do! (That’s saying something…) She is ready to defend her team with facts and stats at the drop of a hat. Same as I do. She endures my Chargers fanaticism as I do her Broncos fanaticism but there’s no doubt looking at each others’ colors burns our eyes.
We are insufferable when it comes to our teams, which is the way it should be. We both hate the Raiders with the fire of a thousand hells. Again, as it should be. I will say this. As beautiful, charming and awesome as she is all around, if she was a Raiders fan there is no chance we would have even dated! Talk about dealbreakers, that caveat was at the top from day one! If you’re a Raiders fan its just proof you don’t make good life decisions! She takes losses harder than I do but the Broncos haven’t lost much this year, just three times.
As a long suffering Chargers fan, we’ve become accustomed with the Chargers finding new, excruciating and imaginative ways to lose over the last four years. She scours Twitter (@dawnwilliams83) to find injury reports and news. Ask anything about any Broncos player and she knows. She’s like a female John Clayton. I admire that.
I can only imagine what it must be like for her having to endure this rivalry from the opposite side. Instead of me speculating, I am going to turn over the keyboard to her and let her tell her side of the story on what it means to be married to a herald of the rival team. Enjoy.
First off, I can’t believe my husband gave up a football season, for a woman. I dated a European guy once, who knew and cared nothing for American football. Well that was just too damn bad, cause I watch football on Sunday. He endured the bars with me a couple times, and he once, even tried to cuddle up to me during a game. Are. You. Kidding. Me? The conversation went, in a nutshell: “Don’t fucking touch me while I’m watching the game.” I guess you see why that relationship failed!
Greg is correct, I do know my roster almost top to bottom, and I refer to them by their first names, and sometimes by nicknames of my own imagining IE Derek Wolfe is “Big Sexy.” What? I’m AM a woman! I am definitely louder than my husband while watching a game, and I can be exceedingly vulgar. During the Patriots game, I was at work, and I can’t believe I didn’t get in trouble for screaming that Tom Brady was a “Sissy fucking whiner.” Good thing I work at a sports bar
I am from Oregon, and people ask me CONSTANTLY why I am a Bronco and not a Seahawks fan. People who believe you can only be a fan of your local team drive me bananas. It’s simple, my dad was born and raised in Denver, he’s a been a die hard fan since childhood. I was raised in a house where you were a Bronco fan, or you could go live somewhere else. The son of a family friend once tried to walk in our door with a Raider hat on, my dad snatched it off his head and lit it on fire. Does that explain it well enough? And just for the record, my mom was a Chargers fan before she met my dad, albeit mostly because she had gone to school with Eric Castle, but I will forever find it funny that my dad converted her, but Greg will never turn me. I got my Bronco tattoo in 2003, and I will forever wear it proudly.
My husband and I share the same sentiment about Raider fans, and while we’re at it, the Chiefs. But since the Chargers are the lesser of the evils, I made an exception when I met Greg, and I’ll never regret it. This Sunday, it was MY idea to be separate. Mostly because I want to strangle Greg while watching our teams play, in a regular game. I’m not into starting a marriage challenging fight during the playoffs. I’ll be at my bar, where there is a large contingent of Bronco fans, probably with my phone off. And if, IF my boys fall through, I may consider staying with a friend, for a couple days. You think I’m joking. I am rabid, faithful and beyond passionate.
That being said, I am also not blindly faithful. I know Denver’s defense leaves a LOT to be desired. The run D has been seriously lacking since we lost Big Sexy, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be on the field Sunday. Whatever neurological ailment befell him, seems to be stumping doctors. And NOBODY has a clue as to why Wes Woodyard hasn’t been seeing a lot of snaps. It’s a mystery of epic proportions. I can only hope that the world becomes right on it’s axis again, and he starts tomorrow. Everybody knows what it takes to beat the Broncos. Don’t let them have the ball. Which is why the Chargers were able to beat them in December, the above mentioned horrendous run defense. That being said, losing to the Chargers might be the best thing that could have happened to the Broncos. Now there will be no bravado (you hear me Ihenacho?), there will be no underestimation, there will be no slack. There will, however, be focus, determination and, I imagine, a whole lot of fire. Bring it, San Diego, we’re waiting.
So, what’s it like to be married to the enemy? Well, I am hot tempered when it comes to my team, so it sucks. But usually only twice a year. Obviously this is uncharted territory, and nobody knows what the outcome will be. Also, sleeping with the enemy is pretty awesome 😉
Afterthought: I hereby swear that I won’t rub the loss into my husbands face, too much, for the first 48 hours.
There you have it friends and neighbors, the most awesome football loving wife on the planet! This game is definitely going to be a test of faith. Our emotions are affected by our teams. Neither one of us will be able to look at the other without thinking of this game because these are the playoffs! One of us will be happy next week. The other will be swearing under their breath because we know the other person’s team caused our favorite team’s exile from the playoffs. It may take all offseason to get over the result of this game. Lest we not forget, the winner will have bragging rights until the first head-to-head matchup next season. There is a LOT riding on this game and neither one of us wants to lose!
So to answer the question it is tough, challenging, intense, competitive and passionate being married to the archrival of your favorite team. I am and always will be a Chargers fan. She is and always be a Broncos fan (unless I find a way to convert her. Impossible or not, I will try!) In the end, I can always brag to other guys (psst…my wife knows who the mike linebacker is…) How many guys can say that?! My wife’s eyes light up when I mention going to games which is a uncommon response among the general populous of women. Don’t believe me ladies? Ask the guy next to you. I lucked out finding her and I will forever love her for that.
If we lose I will hate her for a few days because all I will be able to see is that damn Broncos head in my mind’s eye and she will understand. As will I. It’s gameday.
Til death do us part.