The San Diego Chargers find themselves between a rock and a hard place. With the words of franchise quarterback Philip Rivers ringing in their ears, they know they have a choice to make.
To paraphrase, Rivers said he’s going to play out his contract, which concludes at the end of the upcoming season, and what happens next happens. He has no interest in playing in Los Angeles and he’s simply going to focus on this season. His decision to play any further for the Chargers rests on what happens with the stadium issue and relocation to Los Angeles.
What’s a front office to do?
The rumor mill has been abuzz with talk of the Chargers possibly trading Rivers to Tennessee in exchange for the number two pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, affording them the ability to draft Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota to be the new quarterback of the Chargers. Other rumors are circulating about Rivers being dealt other places and for any combination of picks and players but that’s all they are, rumors.
Would the Chargers front office really trade Philip Rivers?
We all know football is a business before all things. No player is untouchable. Anyone can and has been traded. All-time legends of the game like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Franco Harris, Ronnie Lott, Deion Sanders, Brett Favre and countless others all saw phenomenal careers end in a jersey other than the one they were drafted in. The Chargers are well within their rights to do their due diligence in searching out options in case Rivers decides to leave if the Chargers relocate.
Obtaining Mariota with the second pick and then a game changing running back like Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley with the 17th pick has to look attractive on many levels. It’s a hyper speed rebuild with the intent of keeping up with the Joneses (Denver) at the same time. The Chargers would be taking two of the most dominant players at their position in college football over the last four years, rolling the dice and hoping to come up roses.
Here’s the problem. They’re still rookies. It’s still too much to ask them to take on such a huge task and expect immediate results. Quarterback and running back are arguably the two most difficult positions to come in and be the day one starter. There will be growing pains. There will be flashes of brilliance some days and startling ineptitude in others until they adjust to the game at the NFL level and some gifted players coming out of college never do. Ask Johnny Manziel how easy it is to go from being a big shot quarterback in college to playing against NFL defenses.
That is the very reason San Diego should not entertain the thought of trading Philip Rivers.
Rivers is the face of the franchise. He is the Captain, the undisputed leader of the team. As he goes, the Chargers go. No team feeds off their quarterback more than San Diego. Rivers has been the consummate team player. Seemingly every offseason the Chargers revise his contract to free cap space to sign players and he does so without complaint. He’s the first man in the facility and the last to leave. Rivers is the player every man in the locker room, rookie or veteran, can look up to and draw inspiration from. Philip Rivers is the heartbeat and the soul of the Chargers and the San Diego fan base.
In the San Diego county, Rivers has made himself at home and become a pillar of the community. He is a role model. Never do you hear of him getting into trouble at the club, getting arrested, bashing media or rival players in social media or falling prey to any other trapping of success afforded to a multi-millionaire athlete. Rivers began a humble son-of-a-coach and has stayed that way. He comes with a blue collar mentality. A true grinder in every sense of the word, he shows up with the traditional lunch pail and hard hat in hand, leaves it all on the field and quietly goes home to his family at the end of the day.
If only more players would follow his example….
I feel a strong connection to Rivers on a number of levels. Being born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina I literally grew up on the N.C. State campus. I saw all of Rivers games at NCSU. There hadn’t been a successful quarterback out of N.C. State since Roman Gabriel back in the 60’s. Logically, Rivers became my favorite player and I was elated when the Chargers fleeced the New York Giants in the Eli Manning fiasco to bring Rivers to my favorite pro football team in 2004.
Few players are more fun to watch than Rivers. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He feels the way we feel sitting in the stands watching the action unfold before us. We live through him. Ironically, I have to admit, Marcus Mariota is my favorite college player since Rivers. Mariota shows the same poise, accuracy, score at any moment capability Rivers did in college. All eyes stay on him and he does not shy away from the big stage. Mariota is going to be an amazing pro and the Chargers have every right to wine and dine him and work him out. That being said, I don’t want Mariota if the cost is Philip Rivers.
It is alarming the Chargers haven’t made significant strides to assure the fan base that Rivers isn’t going anywhere. Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. GM Tom Telesco has said he wants to do everything to make sure Rivers retires a Charger. We’re all wise to front office speak by now and what happens at the draft will speak volumes.
I will be attending the draft in person with my Rivers jersey on as it is every year on day one. A nightmare scenario will be hearing that the front office pulled the trigger and sent Rivers to Nashville. Soul crushing would be the phrase that comes to mind. I grew up a Chargers fan. I bleed Navy and Gold. I thought nothing would ever change my allegiance to the one team I hold on a pedestal above all others regardless of sport.
However, I find my faith has been shaken. I’ve honestly had to sit down and reevaluate my allegiance to the Chargers if a trade were to happen.
One man is not bigger than the team but Philip Rivers is the embodiment of the San Diego Chargers. A move like this would make me question the decision making of the front office. Franchise quarterbacks don’t grow on trees. Ask the Browns, Jets, Cardinals, Rams, Titans, Raiders how hard it is to find a quarterback you can rely on day in day out, year in year out. Once you get out of the top ten quarterbacks in the league every team remaining would give anything to have a signal caller as great as Rivers.
To trade Rivers means they have given up all hope on keeping him even if they have signed and sealed documents confirming a move to L. A. sitting on their desk. It means they’re not willing to exhaust all avenues to convince him to stay. I know a lot of this rests on Rivers shoulders also, he is not without blame in this. Philip has painted the Chargers front office into quite a corner. However, aside from Rivers himself coming out and telling the world through TV, newspaper or radio that he is asking to be traded will I be able to forgive the Chargers brass for letting him go.
What are the Lakers without Kobe? Nothing. What would the 90’s Chicago Bulls have been without Michael Jordan? Nothing. What are the Patriots without Tom Brady? Nothing. What are the Chargers without Philip Rivers?…
Would YOU remain a Chargers fan if Rivers gets traded Thursday?
After long thought on the matter I arrived at this conclusion: I have been a Chargers fan since day one and that was three and a half decades ago. The Chargers are part of who I am. I have seen them all come and go both ceremoniously and unceremoniously. I have seen good, bad and inbetween. Without the Chargers I am a man without a country sports-wise. There’s no NBA team, no baseball team, no college team aside from my Alma Mater, N.C. State, that I root for nearly as feverishly. Leaving my Chargers would be like losing a family member.
I’ve been in the trenches with this team too long. I’m past the point of no return with this team. I want my casket to be in Chargers colors and the date(s) we win the Super Bowl to be inscribed upon it. Love won’t allow me to leave but I understand more practical, less emotionally invested fans leaving the Chargers ranks over a move like this. Let’s all hope it doesn’t come to that.
The Greg One
During the two weeks leading to the Super Bowl here in Phoenix the focus of all things statewide was the Super Bowl. Media, celebrities and athletes overran the capital city and a visitor had no shortage of NFL-related spectacles to enjoy no matter wherever in the valley they were.
One of the biggest events of the week happened Tuesday as media day took place at the US Airways Center, home of the Phoenix Suns. The floor of the arena was reminiscent of an NCAA National Championship where the student sections storm the court and swallows the team amidst the celebration. The floor was a mass of credential wearing humanity pushing and shoving to get close enough to get their recorders in a player’s face.
At media day, the throngs gather around the podiums of the biggest named stars hoping to get good sound bytes. Similar to Mardi Gras, some dress in ridiculous costume in order to catch the attention of a star and make themselves known, however ignominiously.
Why then, is anyone gathered around the podium of Marshawn Lynch?
We get the fact that he is the arguably, the biggest name on the Seahawks marquee. Lynch and Russell Wilson are 1 and 1A, in either order. Marshawn was fourth in the league in rushing, only 57 yards shy of making it to #2. There’s no question he is the most punishing runner in the league. A great quote from Lynch could move a lot of newspapers or at least get a lot of clicks on your website. There’s just one problem.
Marshawn Lynch is not interested in talking to the media. At all. Not even a little bit.
We remember last season when Deion Sanders found Lynch lurking behind a backdrop in the corner of the venue. Even the charismatic, widely respected Primetime wasn’t able to get much response from the enigmatic Lynch. He did get the catchphrase of the season though.
…I’m just ’bout that action, Boss.
It’s been no secret for many season now that sticking a microphone in Lynch’s face is pointless. He rarely talks to the beat writers for his own team, what makes the league think he’s going to talk to the rest of the media circus?
Lynch has accumulated over 100,000 in fines this season for refusing to speak to the press. He has added more to the fine toteboard for taunting as a result of crotch grabbing as he scored touchdowns. It’s clear to the rest of us, Lynch says all he wants ON the field, not off of it.
NFL players are mandated to speak to the media in their contracts. They signed it knowing that fact. Marshawn seems completely comfortable taking the fines and being left alone. The fines are likely tax-deductible anyway.
At Media Day Tuesday, Lynch sat at his podium and repeated the same phrase 29 times.
I’m just here so I don’t get fined…
Five minutes later he was gone. Even though they knew he wouldn’t say anything different, his podium was surrounded by media. On the second day of their mandated three days of media sessions, Lynch carried the theme over today too with a new line…
You know why I’m here….
This doesn’t translate to a t-shirt very well, does it? No merchandising opportunities here. Still, he was the object of everyone’s attention when all he wanted was to be left alone. Five minutes later he was gone.
On day three he did speak more than one sentence. He used his five minutes to rant on why the assembled throng continues to come to him when they know he has nothing to say to them. Great point.
These Lynch/media confrontations are painful to watch. It’s akin to the school nerd trying to get a date with the homecoming queen. He walks up to try to utter something resembling a greeting and in the midst of his stammering she stares at him like he is growing three heads. It’s as uncomfortable as a separated couple that still lives together. It’s like trying to hold an intelligent conversation with a Raiders fan. Time to face it media…
He’s just not that into you.
Why go someplace where you’re not wanted? In the interest of solving the problem I’ve posed, I offer the media and the league these solutions.
1. Leave Marshawn alone. Give him time to miss you. Perhaps if you play hard to get he’ll actually come to you.
2. Restructure his contract. Marshawn is a free agent now and while the Seahawks are (allegedly) looking to extend him for another couple of years, now is the time to solve this problem. Just as easily as the ‘must speak to media’ obligation is included in his contract, it can also be omitted in negotiations. Lynch will be happy to stay and the media knows he is a virtual ‘no fly zone’ in the locker room.
3. Fine him at the beginning of the year. If the rule can’t be taken out of the contract, fine Lynch the equivalent of whatever it will cost in fines to absolve him of speaking to the media for the entirety of the season. The NFL will donate half to a charity of their choice, Lynch chooses the charity of his choice for the other half. This will result in good PR in the form of helping the disadvantaged and will show the league is sympathetic to its players to the casual fan even though we diehard fans knows its the farthest thing from the truth.
This way, everyone can move on and do more productive things with their time. The media can move on to interviewing people who will actually talk. Lynch can hide out in the locker room scarfing Skittles. The league can focus on the much bigger matters at hand than an athlete who doesn’t want a close up for a change instead of bullying him into saying nothing for five minutes.
( Photo Credit: Jesse Arroyo Jesse Arroyo Photography www.ArroyoPhotos.com )
Every team in the NFL has some terms and idioms that are very specific to their organization; terrible towel, the 12th man, and the red sea to name a few. As a San Diego Charger fan, there are five terms you should know and memorize in order to increase your knowledge of the organization and become an even better fan. Now, some of these have been used since before my time, even when my parents were young football fans. Don’t feel bad if you’re a little behind, because even the players and experts need to know the specific terminology used.
San Diego Super Chargers
If you have ever been to a Charger game at Qualcomm Stadium, you have heard the fight song. If you haven’t been to a game, you need to stop what you’re doing and buy tickets to the next home game. The song was written in 1979 and had an undoubtedly disco sound to it. It was re-written in 1989, excluding the disco flare, and is used at home games after scoring and victories. It’s so popular that I have met various NFL fans that know the words and can recite it. I can hear it now, San Diego Super Chargers, San Diego Super Chargers (very high voice).
Not to be confused with a Crossfit workout called the Murph, but way back before many were even born, Qualcomm Stadium was named Jack Murphy Stadium. Yeah, it really is that old for all you kids born after 1998. The stadium was once named after Jack Murphy, a sportswriter who built the support for the stadium back in 1965. Before he died, Bob Murphy, a former New York Mets broadcaster and brother, still referred to the stadium as Jack Murphy Stadium. To this day, there are still those that call the stadium “The Murph”.
Last year, the Chargers marched into Denver and defeated the Denver Broncos in a Thursday Night Football showdown. After the game, Deion Sanders and company interviewed Philip Rivers. What caught most eyes while watching the post-game show was Rivers’ shiny bolo tie that a fan made for him. Ever since then, the bolo tie has been a symbol of how well Rivers can play in clutch scenarios. It was so popular that you can now buy t-shirts with the logo on it. I haven’t seen this yet, but someone please wear one for the remaining home games.
Have you seen this saying all over the Chargers website or even on tickets? It’s because the Bolts are a family that includes their fans and charging as one is one of the main goals of the organization. When fans gather in the stadium, getting as loud as possible when the other team is on third down is charging as one. Even gathering at a tailgate party or meetup defines this whole concept. Have you seen a team successful without working as one? I haven’t.
This is a term used by a lot of fans, personnel, and experts. Basically, it means get ready and prepare for the Chargers to play some football. It can be used many ways, but if you notice on Facebook or even Twitter people say the term “Bolt Up” in a positive way. Anytime I say it, I’m usually pumped up, heart beating fast, Chargers jersey on, beer in hand, and ready for kick off. Even if you Google search Bolt Up, you won’t find much, but that’s ok it’s a Charger thing.
I guarantee that using these expressions will make you an even better Charger fan. Also, don’t be afraid to express your enthusiasm for Bolt pride. Sure, I might sound silly screaming the Charger fight song in the middle of a Packers bar or referring to “The Murph” while living in Arizona, but I don’t care because I remain a fan; I know you all do too.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of the beginning of this offseason, there is one phrase/term that stands out to me that could have been included in this article, “Next man up.” Many fans are sick of hearing it, but, the fact of the matter is, it has been exercised and used to the fullest in San Diego.