Bobby Beathard




Twenty years ago, Junior Seau, Stan Humphries and Bobby Ross led the Chargers to their first and only Super bowl in 1994.  It is now 2014 and the similarities of that squad can be found with this year’s team.

That season began in Denver.  I recall lightning in the background of Mile High stadium on a stormy night in Colorado.  How symbolic of how the season would go for the Chargers.  This year San Diego opened up in Glendale against the Cardinals.  It would figure that Arizona would be experiencing the worst flooding the area had ever experienced.

Bobby Ross was in year 3 at the helm of the team in ’94 and the Chargers were coming off of an 8-8 season.  General manager Bobby Beathard was also in his third year in the front office with the team.  Current head coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco and both in their second years with San Diego.

The Chargers began the 1994 campaign with a 7-2 record steamrolling through the first 9 games.  As we’ve written here on, the 2014 Chargers have a great opportunity to that very same thing as the schedule sets up favorably for them.

Speaking of the schedule, the next opponents are the Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, Dolphins, Raiders again and the Rams.  The Seau-led Chargers faced all of those teams as well during 1994.  Additionally, both the ’14 team and the ’94 team faced, or will face, the Seahawks, Jets, Patriots and 49ers.

It is pretty interesting when you look at the like-opponents.

Let’s talk about the Miami game.  The Chargers haven’t won in Miami during the regular season since 1981.  Booga was probably still crapping in his diapers.  Many of us are speculating on how special this Philip Rivers’ team can be.  A win in Miami this year and they will have done something they haven’t done in 33 years.  Imagine the plane ride home.  Hank Bauer, the Chargers play-by-play co-host would be speaking to the team about what they had just done.  He knows what an incredible feat it would be seeing as he played in the 1981 victory over the Dolphins. Do you realize the bonding that would take place?  All thoughts would then turn to the magical 1994 club and how this year’s Super Chargers can replicate that very same success.

When looking at the ’94 roster, what gets me is that team wasn’t overly talented.  They were well coached and a few players had career years. Natrone Means was one of those players that would have a career year.  That was the only year that he would surpass 1,000 yards rushing. Ryan Mathews has already had two seasons with 1,000 yards or more rushing.  The next comparison goes to the signal callers.  Philip Rivers or Stan Humphries?  Both are very tough, gritty quarterbacks.  But if you compare the numbers – although it’s a different league nowadays – it isn’t even close.

If you compare the rosters from top to bottom, it would seem that this year’s Bolts are more talented.  Do some of the homework.  The wide receiving corps and tight ends are better in 2014.  There is no Seau on this year’s team, but overall the linebacking group is better.  There certainly was no Eric Weddle back then.  Rodney Harrison was a rookie and didn’t see a ton of playing time.  The addition of Brandon Flowers and the selection of Jason Verrett in the draft would possibly turn the scales toward the secondary this year trumping that of a defensive back unit that was led by guys like Stanley Richard, Darrien Gordon and Darren Carrington.  But an argument could be made for either side.

I actually remember the ’94 season very well.  The Chargers came out of nowhere.  There was no NFL Network.  ESPN was basically a one-hour broadcast regarding the NFL.  San Diego was ignored until their play demanded the country’s attention.  Sound familiar?

People talk about the “curse” of the 1994 Chargers.  Eight players have passed from that team.  The Bolts have not been back to the Super bowl in 20 years, but they may have a little divine intervention in the form of 8 Charger angels looking down on them.

How exciting would it be two decades after watching Junior Seau run out of the tunnel of Joe Robbie stadium during Super bowl 29 to see Philip Rivers do the very same thing this year at University of Phoenix stadium?

Can you feel the goosebumps?

All of us celebrating at the Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley or on Twitter and Facebook.  The tears of joy would be flowing and Bolt family members would have something incredible to be proud.  No one would ever be able to take that away from us.  Ever!

Sure, it’s a one game at a time approach, but every Super bowl Cinderella team has a special story.  The Patriots winning the big game after September 11th.  The Saints bringing home the Lombardi trophy after Hurricane Katrina.  The Chargers going to the Super bowl 20 years after their first appearance?  Talk about special.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll all be watching the clock tick to 0:00 and watching the confetti fall on this year’s San Diego Chargers.  I look forward to being with as many of you as possible as we raise a toast to our team and the 8 men watching from the heavens.

This does seem to be a special season.  It is early, but I have a very strong feeling we’ll be talking about this article in February.


Thomas Powell

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