lack of coverage

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The NFL has managed to do what I once thought was impossible. They have made football the number one story all year-long. No longer does the last snap of the year mark a mass exodus of fans to baseball, basketball, hockey, NASCAR, or any other sport (yes, even soccer). Nope, football fans now focus on the combine, OTAs, the draft, contract signings, mini-camp, injury reports, hold-outs, police blotters, and finally training camp. Yes, all year is football season and we can’t get enough!

Chargers fans have been fortunate to find many local media outlets that quickly share the news of their favorite team just moments after it happens. Websites dedicated to Chargers football (Boltblitz.com comes to mind), social media, San Diego television and print media, and even one relatively new, but wonderfully innovative and fascinating radio show (too much?) give Bolt fans almost everything they need to know about their beloved Chargers….Almost everything.

What more could fans want? National attention and respect! If you stand by the cross on Mt. Soledad, or down by the border at San Ysidro, “East coast bias” can be heard echoing throughout San Diego County. You see, the sentiment is that the national media doesn’t give the Chargers enough attention. Turn on Sports Center and you get endless stories of Rex Ryan bragging about his team, Tom Brady sporting his latest fashion risk, “Johnny Football” doing anything and everything, and all the news, signings and cuts from any team from the Atlantic to the Pacific North West. For some reason, the team from the Pacific South West only gets mentioned when major events that cannot be ignored take place.

After dwelling on this East coast bias for a number of years now, I have come to one conclusion…..GOOD! I don’t want the national media to report on the Chargers, especially during the off season. Why? Because, no news, is good news, when it comes to the national media.

Think about it. Positive, “feel good” stories don’t move the needle too much these days. National media swoops down on negative stories like vultures zeroing in on a dead rabbit on the side of the road. Here are some recent story teasers that demonstrate what I’m talking about:

– NFL suspends Ravens Rice for 2 games
– Banned Blackmon arrested again
– Source: Gordon to appeal suspension
– Ravens CB Ross tears Achilles, done for year
– Caliendo gives advice to Johnny Manziel

Now there were some positive stories too, but right off the bat, there were five stories that were either focusing on injuries, suspensions, arrests, or distractions. Who needs that kind of attention? Seems to me, since it is understood that there will be very few stories about the Chargers, there is a good chance that the vast majority of reports will be negative. Remember some of the headlines from the past?

– Chargers’ linebacker shot by off-duty cop
– Seau’s death ruled suicide
– Chargers’ Merriman succumbs to the inevitable
– Norv Turner lands job as Chargers head coach

I’ll be the first to admit that if you do a search for Chargers news, you will find some analysis, and some pieces that talk up star players. Those are normally filler stories that beat writers have to produce to keep San Diego fans from rebelling. The stories that get the most attention and the top billing are the negative ones.

On the bright side, there was a time when the Chargers did get national attention. Yes, everyone was jumping on the Chargers bandwagon. The Bolts were actually the trendy pick as preseason Super Bowl winners! It felt great! It was wonderful to see the respect that the Chargers were getting around the country. The only problem was that if we can read it, the players can read it. Overconfidence was the result of that media attention. It seemed that the Bolts thought that they would have teams lay down at their feet in total awe of their greatness. That over confidence led to two playoff losses to the Jets and another to the Patriots. The “Ferrari” crashed and burned. Now, before you jump all over me about who was in charge then and how things have changed, I do realize that Mike McCoy seems to run a tight ship and will not tolerate such behaviors. Then again, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Bolts flying under the radar for a while. It’s okay to be underdogs. Let the enemy look past them and get surprised by the aerial attack led by Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen, and the “three headed monster”running attack featuring Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown.

So, where does that leave the average Chargers fan? Do not worry, you don’t need the ESPN’s of the world anyway. This is the 21st Century and there are so many local outlets that all you need to know about the Chargers is readily available to you after a few keystrokes of your computer keyboard, pushing an app on your smart-phone, or tuning into AM 1700 “The Mountain” on Wednesday evenings.

So let’s try to forget that certain national media outlets seem to forget the Chargers played when they are showing highlights (unless they lose), or that there is more to this team than the occasional arrest, or injury. Let’s try to remember that the Chargers do not need national media to gain respect. They need wins to get respect. More importantly, they need a ring to gain respect. Look at the Seahawks, they won the Super Bowl and have become news worthy. That is how to gain respect and national coverage. Until the Bolts win it all, the national media can continue to forget they exist as far as I am concerned.

Enjoy the season, everyone! Hopefully, the Chargers will be the best kept secret in the National Football League from opening kickoff, until they are at the White House celebrating their Super Bowl victory!

 

Will McCafferty

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