To begin, I will start with a lyric from Metallica, this comes from their song, Wherever I May Roam, “I adapt to the unknown/Under wandering stars I’ve grown/By myself but not alone/I ask no one/ And my ties are severed clean/The less I have the more I gain/Off the beaten path I reign.” The reason I use this particular lyric is not only because it is a great song, but also because it perfectly encompasses the feeling of being a San Diego Chargers fan in enemy territory, Arizona.
Although the Cardinals and Chargers are not division rivals, there is still the unspoken Arizona versus California rivalry that gets created because of all of the people who have moved between the two states.
The unknown, refers to the feeling of whenever I wear my Chargers jersey to the University of Phoenix Stadium. I am highly uncertain of the reactions that will be thrown my way. Some may approach and try to have a healthy conversation where we discuss sports and whatever is going on with each others teams, such as, Philip Rivers or Larry Fitzgerald.
Others do the uneducated and frankly stupid thing many sports fans on social media are guilty. They utter the short, dastardly and annoying phrase, “Your team sucks!” Now that is all well and good…… If they can back it up. Most times, they are too drunk to remember why they stated that in the first place so it is kinda funny to ask why and watch them stumble on their words.
The wandering stars refers to the fact that I have lived in Arizona my entire life. So how did I become a Chargers fan you ask? It’s kind of a dumb story but I have never looked back since. When I was younger, my family would often vacation to the San Diego area and there was one time I can remember, we were at the convenience store on the southwest corner of Shelter Island Drive and Scott street. Me being my curious young self I picked up a koozie with a Chargers lightning bolt on it. When I got back I turned on the Madden game I had at the time, and I have grown more and more in my fanhood each year since. That was around…… 14-15 years ago.
By myself but not alone, refers to the surprisingly large presence of Chargers fans that inhabit the metro-Phoenix area that I call home.
The less I have the more I gain, off the beaten path I reign, refers to the ability that I was able to find within myself being the only Chargers fan at my school. When I realized it was actually a huge advantage to have a team not in the state of Arizona. Also, to me any team that does not have a Super Bowl ring from after the AFL-NFL merger is off the beaten path.
A lot of sports fans will gravitate to teams like the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their loyalty is purely based upon the fact that they have a pull safe that they can use if they are ever in a sports argument. That pull safe is “Well, we have rings.” It is a luxury a fan of those teams can use without ever watching a football game.
This is what makes the San Diego Chargers fan base so strong. It’s called faith. Similar to the Chicago Cubs, all we are able to do is look forward to the future rather than living our lives in the past. That is what we will do this season. We will charge forward, not just on the field, but off the field. In the stands we will charge forward. Why? It is because that is what our team needs, and also because of the community it builds.
Bolt Up Charger Brigade.
In a move that went largely unnoticed on Tuesday, the Chargers signed offensive guard Michael Huey. The 25-year old Huey is 6’5, 315 lbs. and has played for three seasons. All of Hueys’ three seasons have been in the Arena Football League playing for the Arizona Rattlers. He played for the Texas Longhorns in college, appearing in 47 games, 20 as a starter.
According to Arenafootball.com, Huey was first team All-Arena last season and in his rookie season in 2012. He was All-Arena second team in 2013. The Rattlers have won the Arena League championship all three seasons and Huey has started all but four games during Arizona’s dynastic championship string. Center Jeff Baca and nose tackle Chas Alecxih were waived by the Chargers to make room for Huey.
Huey’s signing adds depth to the offensive line overhaul GM Tom Telesco has undertaken this offseason. He started by resigning left tackle King Dunlap to a long-term deal then followed it up by poaching offensive guard Orlando Franklin from the Denver Broncos and inking him for five years. Include the two-year deal the Chargers gave to center Trevor Robinson and Huey becomes the fourth signing to the offensive line in a month.
Telesco knows protecting Philip Rivers is priority one and the Chargers were decimated all over the offensive line last season, especially at center. It’s better to have too many bodies ready to go than too few and too unprepared bodies. These signings should be encouraging to Chargers faithful hungry to see the Chargers return to the time they were perennial playoff favorites.
Huey was an attendee in the recent NFL Veterans Combine held in Phoenix during the week of the Owner’s Meetings. This isn’t Huey’s first look from an NFL team, he was on the Washington Redskins practice squad last season and was also on the Chargers practice squad in 2011. With the offensive line issue more dire now than it was then, he’ll get another shot to live his dream and help the Chargers solidify the line without having to mismatch players.
I like this signing a lot. Unlike other players who were at the Veterans Combine, Huey has not been out of the game for an extended amount of time. He’s been a durable offensive line mainstay for the reigning, defending three-time Arena League champions. Many will unwisely discount him for the fact that he’s from the Arena League.
Keep in mind they play at twice the speed the NFL does in the AFL. The number of plays are greater and time between plays are much less than in the NFL. An offensive lineman has to be in prime physical condition to handle that type of workload. The players aren’t any smaller than they are in the NFL and there isn’t that great a disparity in talent. The NFL wouldn’t invite these players if there was. Don’t be surprised if Telesco adds another name to the offensive line mix before the draft rolls around. In the meantime, welcome Mr. Huey to San Diego via twitter; @themichaelhuey.
The Greg One
Most of the time when you see a uniform color combination, you immediately know which sports team it’s associated with. In professional football, the color collegiate “powder” blue is undoubtedly the most recognized color in the NFL with only one team that comes to mind; the San Diego Super Chargers. This Sunday, the Chargers will be sporting the finest uniform in the NFL when they take on the New England Patriots at Qualcomm Stadium.
The powder blue jerseys have a long-lasting heritage that dates back to the 1960’s during the AFL (American Football League) era. In 1974, the color was changed from collegiate blue to dark blue. Team records indicate that the jersey first reappeared in 1994 during the league’s 75th anniversary season. However, every season since 2007, the throwback jerseys are worn twice a year as an alternate to the modern navy blue. It is so authentic, it’s even made its way to the NFL’s top 10 uniforms. Words do no justice for this infamous color.
Since 1994, the color has been worn 51 times; recently during the home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers have a 29-22 record when wearing the special blue; one of the most noteworthy wins have been when the Chargers defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the 2008 playoffs.
For this special event, I’m encouraging all fans to wear their powder blues. It doesn’t even have to be a jersey; a powder blue shirt will be just fine. This game is one of the most important games the Chargers will play all year and the team needs as much support as they can get. Can you imagine, a powder blue sea of people in the stands screaming and rooting at the top of their lungs? Again, words can’t explain how remarkable these uniforms look.
According to ESPN, Antonio Gates said “It symbolizes the historic moments here” while adding, “That’s the fine thing that comes to mind for me. And it’s a sweet color, man. The color to me is amazing. So when you wear it, you represent the organization at the present time…” Join me Sunday by wearing your blues proudly.
Keep in mind, this not all about a fashion statement. Many great former Chargers have worn this uniform during the grind of their playing days; including Dan Fouts and Charlie Joiner to name a few. When wearing these blues, remember the legacy of the Chargers organization. The more you hold onto this concept, the more you will believe that the Chargers are fully capable of defeating the 9-3 New England Patriots in front of the nation during Sunday Night Football.
Keep true to your blues and represent to the fullest. The San Diego Chargers need their fans more than ever on Sunday. Remember, it’s not about what you wear, it’s where you come from.