It all came about because of a neighbor, who happened to be a diehard Chargers fan.
Initially, I was never a gal who liked to watch football. I went to a couple of games in high school but that was it. I grew up in this little place in Rhode Island, which is about a 90-minute drive outside of Boston. The closest NFL team was the Patriots. (I know, boo-hiss!) The only thing I could tell you then about the New England Patriots was that their quarterback was Jim Plunkett and they played at Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
My dad was a baseball guy, a fan of the good ol’ Boston Red Sox. The BoSox were his team, and Luis Tiant was his favorite player; probably more so than either Carl Yazstremski (“Yaz” was my favorite) or Tony Conigliaro.
We never watched football!
No, not even Super Bowls!
Fast forward to moving from the East Coast to the West Coast in 1980. I was still pretty uneducated about football at that time, but not for much longer!
I believe it was that fall when we began going to our neighbor’s home to watch San Diego Chargers football on Sunday afternoons. The Chargers’ Air Coryell offense was flying high with Fouts at QB. He had Charlie Joiner and John Jefferson at wideout, along with Chuck Muncie and John Cappelletti as his running backs. Additionally, No. 14 had Kellen Winslow at the tight-end spot. Remember that defense? Willie Buchanon, Louie Kelcher, Woody Lowe, Don Macek, Jim Laslavic and Ed White. Beasts!
That was a great year to start being a fan. The Chargers ended the season with an 11-5 record, finishing in 1st place in the AFC West. They went on to face the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round and won. Unfortunately, they ran into the Oakland Raiders at the AFC Championship level and lost. Disappointed, but my interest was piqued.
The following year the Chargers won their division again, in no small part due to the guys who returned from the previous year, but also additions like Wes Chandler, James Brooks, Eric Sievers and Pete Holohan.
Then came the “Epic in Miami.” What a game! Once you hear it, all football fans immediately associate it with the image of an exhausted and drained Kellen Winslow being helped off the field by a couple of teammates. Chargers won the hard-fought, see-saw contest, 41-38 in overtime. It was quite a battle.
These are the types of games that get fans fired up! I was no different. By that point, I was becoming a fan, although my understanding of the sport was still miniscule.
After the heat and humidity of Miami a week later, Fouts and Company found themselves in Cincinnati. This game gets a nickname, too: the “Freezer Bowl.” From the heat and humidity of Miami to the sub-zero temperatures in Cincy, where the wind chill at game time was minus-59 degrees! The Chargers would have the fight of their football lives on the line. Sadly, they lost to the Bengals 27-7.
Of course, there were other games and players that helped solidify my enjoyment – and frustration – of Chargers’ football, just like many other people who root for them. As a “transplant” to California in 1980, there were four football teams here: the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders, the LA Rams and the San Diego Chargers.
I chose to represent San Diego then as I do now. My understanding of the game is better because of family and friends, plus a little bit of reading. I still have a long way to go and every year is a learning experience.
Thanks for some awesome memories over the years, San Diego Chargers! Now let’s bring on 2016!
Thank you for reading!
Over the weekend the San Diego Chargers released a brand-new four-and-a-half minute sizzle ad, launching their movement to win the stadium vote in November. The ad, narrated by Chargers’ legend and Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Fouts, shows a beautiful 3-D rendering of the stadium, complete with improvements to the cityscape both physically and financially. Edited versions of the ad will be seen on local television soon.
The ad spearheads a full mass media campaign blitz which will also cover print, radio and social media. In addition to the Chargers’ efforts, citizen-led fan groups such as Save Our Bolts, Die Hard Bolt Club, San Diego Chargers Backers, Bolt Pride and others will cover the streets of San Diego by foot, detailing the stadium plan and encouraging citizens to vote YES in November.
To view the full-length stadium ad, click on the image below.
The ad is funded by Citizens for Sports, entertainment and Tourism with major funding from Chargers Football Company LLC. Major bulletpoints in the video stress the fact that there will be no new taxes levied on San Diego citizens. The funds would instead come from tourists, convention-goers and out-of-town business people staying in local hotels.
The 55-year history of the Chargers in San Diego is highlighted going back as far as Fouts’ famed ‘Air Coryell’ era to the current Philip Rivers-led era. The CGI-renderings show a beautiful state-of-the-art facility with a convention center annex. The deck of the annex would feature multiple viewing balconies and a grass-covered rooftop ‘sky garden’ where patrons can enjoy a panoramic view of the San Diego skyline.
The stadium would hold 61,500 fans and when they host the Super Bowl, seating could be expanded to hold 72,000. As Fouts so eloquently asks in the video, “What could be sweeter than Raiders, Broncos and Patriots fans all helping pay for the project, when they pay their hotel bill?”
The video is capped by Chargers’ owner Dean Spanos, speaking on behalf of the entire Chargers organization.
“This new facility will be much more than a stadium, it will be a world-class event center for San Diego that will create new convention space and attract new sports and entertainment events year-round. I hope you’ll take some time to consider our proposal and know that we’re here to listen and respond. San Diego is our home, and I believe the best is still to come for all of us together. So please, join with us.” Spanos said.
The video is remarkable and would be a boon to the San Diego economy for decades to come. In the short-term, tons of new city and government jobs will be added. Stadiums take time to build and this stadium could take 5-7 years to complete. Money from the approved hotel rate hike would go into the general fund after the stadium revenues are fulfilled. That money can go anywhere from repaving roads, improving schools and improving outdated features of the city.
San Diego is the greatest destination city in America, every travelling convention, trade show, major concert act would make San Diego a priority. Special attraction events such as the Olympics, World Cup, Final Fours, Wrestlemania and the yearly return of Comic-Con would ensure there is no off-season when it comes to the amount of money the city stands to make.
Citizens of San Diego, you owe this to yourselves and to your families. All it takes is a Yes vote at the polls in November to provide the brightest future, not just for the Chargers, but for the city of San Diego and its’ people for decades to come.
When all those annoying Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs fans roll into town bragging about how great their team is, we can just smile and thank them for building our new stadium. What do you think Bolt Nation? Will this get a YES vote from you in November? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Quarterback Philip Rivers has already set more than his fair share of team records since taking over the reins as the starting signal caller in San Diego. Rivers has passed up the legendary Dan Fouts in most statistical categories, but there are still a few more passing records which he has the opportunity to eclipse prior to hanging up his cleats.
The fact of the matter is, this will be the year that he overtakes Fouts in all major passing stats, make no mistake about it.
Perhaps if Ken Whisenhunt had remained with San Diego after the 2013 season rather than accepting the head coaching job for the Tennessee Titans, we would have already witnessed it. However, “Whiz” left in 2014 and Frank Reich was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator.
While a portion of the argument would have to include the dreaded injury bug to the offense, the majority of blame lies in the uninspired playcalling over the 2014 and 2015 seasons. There was a flash here and there of going outside the box with the occasional reverse or two tight-end sets, but that was too infrequent. Reich may have been one of the better back-up quarterbacks in the NFL, yet play design was not his forte. His tendency to use and shotgun and pistol formations, inability to develop schemes that were more familiar to then-rookie Melvin Gordon and abysmal offensive line play led to a parting of the ways between Reich and the organization this past January.
Let’s not dwell on that, though. A new season is on the horizon. A great many positives can come out of this year’s campaign. It has been said many times that as Rivers goes, so does the team he leads.
Now, I recognize that when Dan Fouts led the Chargers, the rules for protecting the quarterback were a bit different. Quarterbacks might have been hit in the head or had their legs grabbed by a defender, and little came of it. The NFL rulebook has changed considerably, and a quote made in 2013 by ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer pretty much says it all: “…we played a game where we had to stay in the pocket and get hit in the face…But part of the badge of honor of playing quarterback in the NFL was standing in there and taking shots in the face and throwing a 20-yard dig route. That’s what separated you from the other guys. Now that’s just not part of the game.”
Undeniably, the QB position is one of the most protected when it comes to the assessment of penalties. Blatant or not, it’s going to be costly for the defense (possibly for the defender in the form of a fine) in today’s environment.
Keep a couple of things in mind as you read this: First, when Fouts entered the league in 1973, the season was 14 games long. Five years later it was changed to the current 16-game format. Second, two strike-shortened seasons skew his statistics. In 1982, only nine games were played. In 1987, weeks four through six saw predominantly replacement players take the field. One last thing, Fouts only had three seasons (1979 through 1981) in which he played the entire game schedule, whereas Rivers has played every game since becoming the lead signal caller for the Bolts’ in 2006.
There are a few of Fouts’ records that Rivers will meet and exceed in 2016, and at least a couple that might go into next year. For now let’s just concentrate on what is waiting.
Obviously, the first item is the career passing yards record. At the end of 2015, Rivers had amassed 41,447 yards to the 43,040 that Fouts had at the end of his career. That 1,594 mark could be gone by the end of the Chargers versus Saints game on October 2. Brees and Rivers may put on a passing extravaganza that day!
Another record that should easily be surpassed will be the number of 300-yard games. To date, No. 17 has collected 46 (including one playoff contest) to the 56 — including five playoff appearances — that Fouts has. That’s a difference which is well within PR’s reach. He is also one game-winning drive away from tying Fouts (25 vs 26), plus three away (21) towards matching the 24 fourth-quarter comebacks of his contemporary.
Last up, the number of games these two have played. Fouts played in 181 contests while Rivers is at 164. The disparity is due to the fact that Rivers sat behind Drew Brees until the last two games of 2005, when Brees suffered that shoulder injury while diving to recover a fumble in a meaningless game against the Denver Broncos. The only way that 17-game differential gets broken during this year’s campaign is if the Chargers fight their way into the postseason.
The discussion about who is the better quarterback will never stop. Don’t forget, however, that despite never making it to the Super Bowl, Fouts was inducted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Is that honor in Rivers’ future, as well? Only time will tell, but he is so far up the record books, how could it not?!
All in all, the 2016 football season is shaping up to be one to remember!
Thanks for reading!
My girlfriend, Megan, and I had the opportunity to travel to Canton, Ohio and visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame and attend the Class of 2015 Enshrinement Ceremony last year. Personally, I was excited to attend as a diehard Charger fan and show support of Junior Seau, who was to be enshrined that day.
Another player to be inducted that day was Steelers halfback, Jerome Bettis, evidenced by the foam school buses on many people’s heads. Canton, Ohio is only about a two-hour drive from Pittsburgh. Needless to say there were Steelers fans everywhere. Some of them complimented us on coming so far to support Junior, saying he was a great player, or said it was sad he had left us so soon. The respect Steelers Nation showed to him and to us will be with me for a long time.
We eventually met a group of Seau fans from Oceanside, Junior’s hometown. We talked about our favorite memories of Junior and took pictures together. A great moment was shared when the group was asked to cheer in front of the Hall of Fame for the NFL Network broadcast, all in our Charger gear.
The day of the Enshrinement Ceremony is the busiest day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, something to keep in mind if you are ever planning to visit. The line to enter the Hall of Fame Gallery, where the bronze busts of each inductee are on display, was very long. We were told by an employee that they couldn’t guarantee we would get in to see the busts because they were closing the museum early so the Packers and Vikings players could have a private tour before the Hall of Fame Game the next day.
We risked it, and about two hours later, made it in to see the great Charger players already enshrined: Lance Alworth, Dan Fouts, Sid Gillman, Charlie Joiner, Ron Mix, Kellen Winslow and Fred Dean. Junior’s bust would be revealed to the whole world in a few short hours. It was worth the wait.
Soon it was time to leave the Hall of Fame and enter Tom Benson Hall of Fame stadium next door. It’s a 22,000 seat, outdoor football venue, perfect for the Enshrinement Ceremony. The Hall of Fame stadium plays host to many high school and college football games during their seasons as well as the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, and Hall of Fame Games, played the the day after the ceremony to kick off the NFL preseason each year.
We made it to our seats and I started to reflect. I thought about Junior as his transcendent smile would flash on the jumbotron every few minutes. The jumbotron started to show career highlights of the other members of the Class of 2015. When Bettis’ highlights came on about 20,000 Terrible Towels would go up in the air accompanied by loud cheers and chants. Ironically, many of Junior’s highlights were of him tackling The Bus in the backfield for a loss, effectively quieting the crowd, if only for a moment.
It was finally time for Junior’s bust to be revealed. Master of Ceremonies, Chris Berman, introduced a short tribute video to Junior. Next, Junior’s children were allowed on stage to reveal his bust to the world. Due to a controversial NFL policy on posthumous inductions, none were allowed to speak. Junior’s daughter, Sydney, was then taken off stage and interviewed by an NFL Network reporter. Despite the NFL-induced oddity of the whole situation, Sydney spoke with the poise, bravery and the heart of a true champion. The emotion permeated all in attendance.
During her interview, I thought about Junior’s career with the Chargers, his legend, what he meant to the fans and to the City of San Diego. I thought about what he still means to us all. Men who give their hearts and souls to their community, never truly leave us. They live on in all of us, in our memories, in what we say and do every day.
San Diego had lost it’s two favorite sons, Junior and then Tony Gwynn. At the time of this ceremony it was all but certain, we would lose the Chargers as well. For me, that’s when the tears came. At some point I looked up to the sky and imagined Junior and Tony, shoulder to shoulder, smiling down on us.
This experience has given me the determination to follow the exceptional example set by these two great San Diego men; to do what I can to make my community a better place. I won’t be able to be the best player on the field, or donate millions to local charities, but I can treat everyone I meet with respect and love, as these two did. I can take the time to educate people on the downtown stadium proposal, or at the very least, talk with them about it. I think that’s what Junior would have wanted. If we all do a mere fraction of what these two men did over their lives, we can make this town a better place, maybe even keep our beloved Bolts!
Thanks for reading!
Entering Sunday’s contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, quarterback Philip Rivers was sitting with 254 career touchdown passes with the Chargers. That number had him tied with Hall-of-Fame signal caller Dan Fouts for the team record.
Rivers would break the record by throwing No. 255 to wideout Stevie Johnson with 10:35 left in the third quarter.
The 33-year-old would throw a second touchdown strike to Malcom Floyd, spanning 40 yards through the air to get to No. 256.
The Chargers would go on to drop a heartbreaker in Cincinnati, 24-19.
Although Rivers would have preferred to eclipse the mark in a victory, I would assume that he has been able to let it sink in that he has reached rarefied air as an NFL quarterback.
With today’s passing NFL being far different than the league that Fouts played in, there is no guarantee that Rivers will become a Hall of Famer despite the fact that he may surpass him in all statistical categories. He trails Fouts by 6,740 yards passing to earn the team record in that category. It goes without saying, a Super Bowl ring for Rivers would go a long way in ensuring his place in Canton.
Rivers currently sits 19 touchdown throws from tying Vinny Testaverde for 10th place all time with 275 touchdown passes. Having 14 games left to play, that number is certainly attainable.
Fans outside of San Diego, and some within the city, do not necessarily hold the 12-year veteran in that high of a regard. He doesn’t get the respect that many other passers of his caliber receive.
Quite frankly, he doesn’t care.
The man has already cemented himself as arguably the best quarterback in Chargers’ history, and now he’ll continue to strive to be one of the best in the history of the National Football League.
For his career, Rivers has completed 3,081 out of 4,747 passes for 37,300 yards with 256 touchdowns and only 125 interceptions.
Four of the five longest tenured San Diego Chargers will suit up this season, likely for their last time together. Quarterback Philip Rivers, safety Eric Weddle, tight end Antonio Gates and Wide receiver Malcom Floyd all are in their final year of their contract and it’s likely one or more will not be playing football come this time next year.
Now entering his 12th season as the face of the franchise, record-setting quarterback Rivers is the undisputed leader of the team. Recently, Rivers softened on the stance of not being interested in playing for the Chargers if they leave San Diego. There’s no doubt the team will throw as much money as necessary to keep him in lightning bolts. Rivers took a beating last season behind a patchwork offensive line resulting in back and rib injuries. GM Tom Telesco was busy this offseason re-signing and bringing in players to solidify the offensive line and keep Rivers upright. A new deal should be imminent.
A couple interesting milestones are worth following for Rivers this season. The biggest one is with three passing touchdowns, he will pass Dan Fouts into first place in that category. That record could fall in the first game. Rivers needs five fourth quarter comebacks and four game-winning drives to pass Fouts into first place in those categories as well. Considering those specific feats could happen simultaneously, it will be a curious event to track.
Rivers favorite target, Gates, is entering his 13th season as a pro. Rivers and Gates are the number one quarterback/tight end touchdown tandem as they have compiled 72 touchdowns together. One of the leagues greatest undrafted free agent success stories, Gates is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer for his achievements on the field. Coming into the league after leading the Kent State basketball team into the Elite Eight of the 2002 NCAA tournament, Gates helped revolutionize the tight end position. Using his size, speed and basketball instincts to his advantage to win jump balls and create space over the middle, gates showed tight end can be more useful than just being an extra blocker that occasionally catches passes.
There are two huge milestones within reach for Gates this season. He has 99 touchdowns receptions for his career. You can be in the stands when he catches number 100. The Chargers begin the season at home against Detroit. With 13 touchdown receptions, Gates will be the all-time touchdown leader for a tight end, passing Tony Gonzalez who has 111. To his credit, he will achieve these milestones in three fewer seasons than Gonzalez. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. Gates had 12 touchdowns last season. Gates is likely to ride off into the sunset after this season, handing over the tight end reins to understudy Ladarius Green.
Malcom Floyd is entering his tenth season as another fantastic Chargers undrafted free agent signing. The gold standard for possession receivers, Floyd can claim the second-highest first down percentage in NFL history. In 2011, 41 of 43 catches went for first downs for a whopping 95.3%. At present, Floyd is eight all-time in receiving yardage (4,989). With 593 yards this season, he will pass Anthony Miller into seventh place behind Air Coryell great Wes Chandler. Last season, Floyd led the Chargers in receiving with 52 catches for 856 yards and six touchdowns.
The player Bolts fans lovingly refer to as M80 has stated that this season will most likely be his last. In a recent interview he intimated he wanted to spend more time with his wife and four children. He stated he will decide for sure after the season but the timing looks appropriate being in the last year of his contract.
Eric Weddle is another Chargers lifer who has made the most recent headlines in his quest for a contract extension. He has made his displeasure known and feels ‘highly, highly disrespected’ that the front office has told him they will not pursue a contract extension this season.
Weddle is the defensive captain and locker room leader. Now in his ninth season and just crossing the age of thirty, Weddle has shown no signs of slowing down but of improvement. Statistically, Weddle has improved each of the past three seasons. He’s been voted into the Pro Bowl three of the past four seasons. While feelings between Weddle and the front office are contentious, I expect the All-Pro safety to remain in lightning bolts whether the Chargers extend his contract during the season or franchise him after the season.
These four have been the staples, the hallmarks of the franchise for over a decade. Along with punter Mike Scifres they are the five most senior home-grown Chargers on the roster. They deserve our support and our thanks for their long years of continued service to our favorite team. I implore every Chargers fan to come out to at least one game and voice your appreciation for this amazing group of talents and enjoy as they play together.
One last time.
The Greg One
In this time of worry over the location of the 2016 Chargers, it is nice to see that some Bolt fans remain loyal to the team no matter what. Allow me to introduce John P. Schell. John and I have been friends since the ‘70s and despite traveling the world with the United States Army and finally settling down in Minnesota, his loyalty to the boys in blue and gold remains strong. We will start off with a brief bio of John followed by some questions and answers designed to help you get to know him better.
Will: Okay John, give me a brief background of who you are and your life experiences.
John: My personal goal in life is to be a better person than I was the day before. As a husband, father, son, uncle and friend to others, loyalty and leadership describes my personality when working, playing, or just hanging out with people. I had the privilege to serve in the U.S Army for 10 years as an Armor Crewman on the M60 and M1 series main battle tanks. If you saw the movie Fury with Brad Pitt, being a Tanker was the ‘best job I ever had”!
Will: Do you, or have you ever lived in San Diego?
John: I was born and raised in San Diego (Clairemont Rules!) in the late 60’s, 70’s, and half of the 80’s. After finishing my military commitment, I returned to San Diego for my post High School education, achieving my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and off I went into the business world and never looked back.
Will: Now that you live in Minnesota, how hard is it to find fellow Chargers fans? Are there any Chargers sports bars nearby?
John: In 2003, I had a great promotional and career changing opportunity with my company to live and work in the state of Minnesota. All I knew about Minnesota at that time was cold, snow, Vikings, Twins, and Prince. I accepted the challenge and moved my family to the Frozen Tundra in 2003. After 12 full winters (I count winters, not years here) in the beautiful state of Minnesota, it was a great decision all around. I miss my friends, authentic Mexican food, yes the warm weather after sub-zero degree weeks in December/January, but I mostly miss my Chargers on Sundays during the NFL season. I’ve searched all over the twin cities for Charger backers, clubs, bars, and fan clubs, but to no avail. When I wear my bolt (which is all year long) out in public, many Minnesotans say; “I like the Chargers, especially when they had Fouts, JJ, Winslow, Joiner, Chandler, and Muncie. Your team song San Diego Super Chargers is catchy as well.” Minnesota is an NFC town, so I have yet to hear any Charger haters, which is awesome!
Will: As for being in the military; First of all, thank you for your service. Second, did you have any other Chargers fans stationed with you? How much opportunity was there to keep up with the NFL?
John: Yes, my Army buddy was from Chula Vista. We met on the plane from San Diego on our way to Ft. Knox, KY for basic training. He is a diehard Bolt fan, and we drove all the other soldiers crazy when we saw them on TV or heard we won. I think we may have roughed up a few Raider, Chief, and Bronco fans along the way as we had to represent our Bolts! When stationed at Ft. Knox during the 85′ and 86′ seasons, finding the Charger game on TV was difficult being that these were two poor seasons (8-8 and 4-12 respectively) and the Chargers wouldn’t be the national game televised on Sunday. Had to wait for the halftime highlights to get updates (no internet, no smart phones, no satellite TV then). Overseas in Germany, it was pretty much the same with no visibility to watch the Chargers on the Armed Forces Network. My brother taped some of the games and I’d watch them on my $500 VCR a few weeks later when they arrived in the mail. Always loved seeing the shots of Charger fans with all the blue and gold in the stands and hearing the loud cheers.
Will: How long have you been a Chargers fan?
John: I have to say 1974 was the year I became a Charger fan for life. The names I’ll never forget were Jessie Freitas, Dan Fouts, Don Woods, Bo Matthews, Gary “The Ghost” Garrison, and Ray Wersching kicking field goals.
Over the next few years while in elementary school, the Chargers would send a player to come speak to us for an assembly (I remember Carl Mauck/Center talking to the kids and giving away a team photo). I also remember when we did have rainy days in San Diego during school; we would watch Charger highlight films instead of playing outside. That was fun! In my little league baseball days, Charger linebacker Ray Preston was a coach for one of the teams. What a treat that was to have a professional NFL football player from the San Diego Chargers helping out as a coach for that year.
((Will, this has to hit home for you too.))
Will: What was your most painful memory as a Bolt fan?
John: That’s simple for me. 2006 season, 14-2, No. 1 seed in the playoffs with home field advantage, divisional playoff game vs. the Patriots. We lost 24-21 and I was depressed for a long time. Still hurts, just not as much.
Will: What was your favorite moment?
I was very fortunate to be invited to the 1980 playoff game between the Bills and Chargers. First game I ever went to, and it was special. Great game up to the final minutes when Dan Fouts hits Ron Smith for a 50 yard touchdown pass to win the game. The crowd was electric and the feeling was unforgettable that game!
Will: Do you collect Chargers gear or memorabilia? If so, what is your prize possession?
John: The same brother that sent me Charger game tapes when I was in Germany gave to me an autographed authentic Junior Seau San Diego Charger helmet that sits next me at my desk. By the way, my brother worked at Seau’s the restaurant in the 90’s and really got to know Junior. My brother introduced Junior to me at his restaurant and it was amazing to spend a few minutes with him sharing his stories about San Diego. Great memory!
Will: Who is your favorite current Chargers player? How about all-time?
John: Favorite current Charger is Antonio Gates. He just gets the job done, he’s tough, all about the team, and seems to be a respectful man off the field.
All-time favorite Charger(s) is not one person, but a group. I loved the late 70’s defensive line known as the Bruise Brothers consisting of: “Big” Louie Kelcher, “Mean” Fred Dean, Gary “Big Hands” Johnson, and Leroy Jones. They were a unit that performed so well and excited Charger fans with their teamwork.
Will: Who is your pick for the best Chargers quarterback of all-time? Why?
John: No doubt, Dan Fouts. He showed leadership, skill, results, heart, winning, making others better and most of all his toughness. We all remember the severe hits he took, bloody noses, limping around on bad knees, yet he always showed up and competed with one purpose, to WIN!
Will: What position(s) do you feel needs to step up in 2015 in order for the Chargers to be true contenders?
John: Offensive Line needs to step up. Replacing Nick Hardwick is huge. O-Line needs to protect Philip and open the holes for the RB’s.
Will: How do you feel about the possible move to LA/Carson? Will you still be a fan?
John: I don’t even like the thought of this move happening. It would hurt all of us loyal Charger fans and the city of San Diego in a huge way. Yes, I’d still root for my Chargers just as I do for the Clippers and Rockets in the NBA who moved out of San Diego.
I’d like to thank John P. Schell for his service to our country, for taking the time to answer my questions and for his undying support of the San Diego Chargers. If you have any comments or questions for John or myself, please leave them below.
When scanning the debates on Chargers related social media outlets, one topic that always brings heated discussion is: Who is the best Chargers quarterback (QB) of all time? As you can imagine, this argument goes back and forth and at times borders on the ridiculous! Let us take a look at this question and see if there is one definitive answer, or if it is truly open to interpretation.
First or all, in order to answer the question, one must understand the guidelines set forth by the question. We are deciding the best “Chargers” quarterback of all time. Not the best quarterback who ever played for the Chargers. If we were looking to find the best quarterback who ever played for the Chargers, the answer would arguably be Johnny Unitas. Unitas played one season with the Chargers before hanging up his high-top cleats. He only started four games and had a record of 1-3 with San Diego. But his lifetime record of 118-64-4 puts him far past his nearest competitor, not to mention his Super Bowl championship in 1970 against Dallas. Although Unitas was undeniably brilliant as a quarterback in the league, he did almost all of his damage for the Baltimore Colts, not the San Diego Chargers. Therefore, he is not a viable candidate for best Chargers QB in history.
In this reporter’s humble opinion, there are only four quarterbacks in Chargers history who would even garner a vote; Dan Fouts, Stan Humphries, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers. Honestly, I only put Brees on this list because he is still loved in San Diego and many have still not gotten over the Chargers letting him go. In fact, Brees would give Unitas a run for his money when it comes to the best QB to every don the lightning bolts. Let’s take a look at these four QBs and see who has the most legitimate argument for being named the best Chargers quarterback of all time.
Dan Fouts: Fouts played his entire career for the Chargers. He came up as a rookie in 1973 and retired as a soon to be Hall of Fame inductee in 1987. He started 171 games for the Bolts, with a career record of 86-84-1. His career record may surprise you. Most would not honor the work of a QB who barely had better than a .500 record. Well, the fact is that the defense in those days carries a lot of the blame for the Chargers losses. Fouts put the points up, but the defense gave them right back. Fouts also led the Chargers to the post-season on four occasions with a career post-season record of 3-4.
He had a three year span (1979-1981) where his offense, masterminded by legendary coach Don Coryell, was unstoppable. He amassed 13,599 yards in those three seasons with a record of 33-15. Yardage numbers like Fouts was running up were unheard of at that time. In his career, Fouts totaled 43,040 passing yards. Many would argue that Coryell and Fouts laid a blueprint for the future of the NFL and what offenses have become today. Although his touchdown to interception ratio is not that impressive (254:242), one could argue that the wide open style of offense that “Air Coryell” offered was so risky that interceptions were destined to happen and not that big of a deal. The payoff would simply have to come on the next drive.
Stan Humphries: Humphries played six of his eight NFL seasons with San Diego. He played his first two seasons with the Redskins and then was brought to the Chargers in 1992. Good things were starting to happen in San Diego with a stout defense and solid running game needing one key ingredient; a quality starting quarterback. Since Fouts stepped down, the Bolts went through nine quarterbacks in just four seasons, before finding Humphries. Despite the team’s recent struggles, Humphries came in and was effective right away. He led the Bolts to an 11-4 record in his first season at the helm of the offense. In fact, his record was over .500 for his first five seasons with the Chargers. His only blemish was a 3-5 record in his injury shortened and final season in 1997. Statistically, many may argue that Humphries does not belong on this list. He only threw for 16,085 yards with a touchdown to interception ratio of 85:73. But stats do not include everything when it comes to judging a leader. The fact that Stan Humphries is the only quarterback in Chargers history to go to a Super Bowl makes him number one in some fans eyes.
Drew Brees: Brees is the lightning rod in this debate. Some would argue that it was preposterous that Brees was let go after receiving a career threatening shoulder injury on the last game of his expiring contract in 2005. Others would argue it was too big of a risk to keep a QB with an injured shoulder when you had Philip Rivers under contract and ready to start. Still others would argue that the injury had nothing to do with the dismissal of Brees. In fact, it was simply a power-play by then General Manager A.J. Smith to get Rivers on the field after he paid him $40 million to hold a clipboard for two seasons. Honestly, in regards to this question, why Brees left in irrelevant. The fact is that his numbers as a Charger were rather pedestrian compared to some others. Not to say that he would not have led the Bolts to glory as he did the Saints! We will never know what would have transpired if he had stayed. All we know for sure is that he didn’t stay and when considering whether he was the best Chargers quarterback in history, none of his Saints stats should be considered.
Taking a look at Brees’ stats with the Chargers you see that he had a record of 30-28 along with a touchdown to interception ratio of 80:53. Brees also accumulated 12,348 passing yards in his time with San Diego. Respectable numbers, but still not stellar. Brees did lead the Chargers to the post-season one time when he and the Chargers were upset by the underdog Jets. By most, Brees was given a pass on that loss due to a missed field goal by rookie kicker, Nate Kaeding.
Philip Rivers: Rivers, like Fouts is another lifetime Charger. He joined the team in 2004 and is still leading the offense today. In fact, he has not missed a start since he took over the reins from Brees in 2006. His numbers are undeniable. In his tenure with the Bolts, Rivers has amassed 36,655 yards passing with a 252:152 touchdown to interception ratio. His won/loss record with the Charges is a respectable 88-56. He has led the Chargers into the post-season on five different occasions with a record of 4-5.
In his younger days, Rivers was believed to be the chosen one who would finally lead the Bolts to the Promised Land. So far, that has not been the case and Chargers fans are growing impatient. Adding heat to the fire is the recent talk that Rivers will let his contract run out after the 2015 season and test free agency. Some call it leverage, other a smoke screen, still others say it is his way of saying, ‘If the Chargers are going to Los Angeles, I’m not going with them.’ Time will tell on that issue, but the fact is that current controversy aside, his numbers speak for themselves.
Well there you have it! Now who do you think the best Chargers QB in history is? Make your voice heard by answering the poll below.
Thanks for reading and participating! Go Chargers!
A little about me: First off, this was tough because I’m really don’t like talking about myself and tend to avoid attention. I’m a San Diego native and bleed Charger POWDER Blue and Padre BROWN (yes, kids. #bringbackthebrown & #firebuddy!) My passion for the Chargers is only equaled by my passion for the Padres.
I’m single (hint hint, ladies) with a grown son who serves our country in the US Air Force. I’ve lived in Nevada since 1993, but get to San Diego whenever I can.
I’ve been on the Boltblitz staff since the 2013 season. I am now a Senior Writer and Assistant Editor for the site. As Assistant Editor, I get an advanced look at the work the other staff members are posting and get to publish it on Facebook and Twitter.
On Facebook, I’m 99% about the Chargers and Padres, though I will take time to hassle “real” friends and Facebook friends. I may even troll people who’s posts are just too outrageous to pass up! 🙂
On Twitter, I go by the handle @hawk_pie. I chose this after my all-time favorite TV series character, M*A*S*H’s own Hawkeye Pierce, played by Alan Alda.
If I had to pick only one player as my favorite current Charger, that would have to be Eric Weddle. He embodies playing with passion and love of the game. I also respect and admire his leadership, both on and off the field. My all-time favorite Charger is Dan Fouts. He had game. He had guts. Most of all, he was the undisputed team leader during the Air Coryell days.
It was during the Air Coryell days that my passion for the Chargers was truly ignited. Watching the likes of Fouts, John Jefferson, Wes Chandler, Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow, James Brooks and Lydell Mitchell was truly watching a stacked team.
My all-time favorite moment in Charger history was the day LT broke the single season touchdown record. Man, he could do it all!
Believe it or not, the lowest moment for me as a fan was losing to the Patriots in the Divisional Round of the 2006 playoffs. To go 14-2 and see players self destruct was horrible, not to mention seeing LT taken out of the second half game plan. Compound that with the firing of Marty Schottenheimer and the rest is history. I hated that Dean Spanos allowed this to happen. They were on the verge until that other guy came long.
Thank you all for reading not only my articles, but the work from the other Boltblitz members! This is all about you, the loyal fans of the SAN DIEGO CHARGERS!
There is a fine line between a person who is arrogant and someone who is confident. As a daily inner-struggle for most, when you throw in competitive sports, it becomes an even greater wrestling match. After the week 2 victory against Seattle, you saw both sides from both teams. Keenan Allen stated that Richard Sherman was “..not a shut-down corner.” An example of pure confidence. Keenan was able to exploit Sherman and if indeed Richard is looked at as the “best,” Keenan walks away knowing he can succeed against anyone – not that he didn’t think that way prior. On the other side, we heard what Earl Thomas said after the loss – stating that if his team is beat, it was all luck. In those words you can easily define him as someone who is conceited, overly prideful and ego-driven; the makeup of an arrogant player.
Confidence is one of the attributes that comes from self-esteem. When someone exudes confidence in themselves they are able to take criticism without becoming unraveled, they are more upbeat and pleasant to be around, as well as being completely open-minded. How does one develop this level of esteem? Is it constant accolades from peers and superiors? Does acquiring medals and trophies produce positive self-esteem? In achieving rewards, our self-esteem rises and all the traits that come with. This is all well and good for us as individuals, however when playing a team sport, especially football, there is no room for the isolated member who is out to achieve personal recognition.
Since 1970 with the NFL/AFL merger, San Diego has been blessed only once with an MVP award – LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006. During this span, the Chargers have won 10 AFC West crowns and appeared in 13 playoff seasons. In eight of those seasons, where they won the division and/or went to the playoffs, there were no awards given out at all. Are the people who decide the winners obtuse or do they factually agree that there were no deserving Bolt players worthy of not only the MVP shrine, but any hardware? Suspicious is an understatement, especially when researching previous years.
Take 1982 for an example – what a bizarre season that was in the NFL! A strike-shortened season, playoffs where divisional winners and wild cards were not used, and two teams made the playoffs with losing records. I can venture a guess that not too many people reading this can remember who was named the NFL MVP of that year – without looking it up anyway. Before I inform you, let me give you the stat line for our HOF Quarterback Dan Fouts.
2,883 – Ranked 1st in passing yards by 270 yards
17 – Tied for 1st in passing touchdowns.
93.3 – Ranked 2nd in passer rating shy by only 2 points.
The NFL MVP award went to the kicker for the Washington Redskins – Mark Moseley. Stunned? Speechless? I am but I am giving the benefit of the doubt to the selection committee due to an uncanny season. Let’s look at another example that, in this writer’s opinion, has to be a complete snubbing.
The 2001 season, LaDainian Tomlinson’s rookie year, was a shocking one. Our beloved Bolts started out 5-2 but then lost 9 games in a row to finish off the season. Of course with the horrible 9/1/01 attacks, scheduling of games had to be altered. In looking at L.T.’s stats his rookie year, again, I am speechless.
1,236 rushing yards – Ranked 9th overall and 1st among all rookies.
10 rushing touchdowns – Tied with 3rd most and 1st among all rookies
339 rushing attempts – Ranked 3rd overall and 1st among rookies
3.6 yards per carry – Ranked 17th overall (min 200 attempts) and 4th among rookies
The Offensive Rookie of the Year went to Anthony Thomas out of Chicago. L.T. had 53 more yards rushing, 3 more rushing touchdowns, 61 more carries and only .7 yards per carry less than Anthony. Outside of the YPC there is no other statistical fact that shows Thomas was more deserving of this award that Tomlinson. Could the reason be due to the fact that Chicago ended the regular season with a 13-3 record, compared to a dismal 5-11 record for San Diego? Things that make you go hmmmmm……
Does the lack of hardware and national recognition paint a portrait of a bad organization? Is San Diego always snubbed like the band Deep Purple with the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame? Perhaps the Chargers do not vest a big interest in individual trophies; rather a passionate drive for a communal and team oriented award. If the voting committee does in fact take into consideration the team’s success when deciding a top honor for an individual player, as my LT example above speculates, then why do the Chargers lack awards? Our team from America’s best city have had plenty of successful seasons and yet hardly any trophy case fillers.
There are several reasons why teams win championships – from having all the best players on one team, to getting lucky at the right time. Another theory, one that I actually experienced my junior year of high school, is team unity and strength. In 1990 my high school baseball team was crowned 5A state champions – not because we were chock full of superstars, but because we knew every player was special to the team in their own unique way. We trusted each other. We understood that no one can win unless everyone wins. We were a tight-knit group. We were a family. The egos, especially those of the seniors, were held in check because they knew the team could go far. Those veterans wanted to leave high school out on top; they believed in the team and all under class-men believed and followed. Last season, when Nick Hardwick decided to play another year with the Chargers, my initial thoughts was how special this team was to him. This was his family.
Recognition signifies that someone notices and someone cares. It satisfies a person’s essential need and leads to new motivation, improved performance and higher self-esteem. While obtaining the precious and glorifying hardware is rewarding, true praise comes from those they value highest; i.e. friends and family. Teams have their own awards and recognition and it appears that the San Diego Chargers ensure that their players know how appreciative they are. Tom Telesco has definitely brought this community closer and has continued the team/family atmosphere within. As surreal as it would be in having more Charger players earning individual awards over the years, the only Holy Grail us fans, and organization wants, is the one that comes with a ring.
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” ― Phil Jackson