Any long-standing San Diego-now-Los Angeles Chargers fan can think of many failed attempts at clever marketing tactics. The latest, entitled #FightForLA is just as bad as the rest.
We get it. Now that there are two teams vying for the same fan dollars in Los Angeles it is seen as a ‘fight’ for Los Angeles. That sentiment couldn’t be farther from the truth for two major reasons. First and most importantly, no one in Los Angeles wants either team to be there. Aside from the subsection of devout loyalists (such as myself) who grew up with the teams in their former homes and would watch them if they relocated to Mars; neither move has raised an eyebrow among the general NFL populous.
Secondly, if the #FightForLA is intended to pit the Chargers versus the Rams in a L.A. rivalry the same way the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are pretended to be, that too is a fallacy. The Clippers have always been the red-headed stepchild in the NBA version of this L.A. story and even though they are currently better than the current version of the Lakers, the Lakers will always be the alpha dogs because of the championship banners hanging from the rafters.
Head-to-head, the Chargers are hands-down better than the Los Angeles Rams. Don’t believe me? These rosters prove my point:
Quarterback: Chargers QB Philip Rivers vs. (Quick, does anyone even know who the Rams starting quarterback is??) The answer is Case Keenum, Jared Goff and Sean Mannion all took snaps for the Rams last season to disastrous results and a 4-12 season. Altogether the Rams passed for 3,313 yards and that includes a 4-yard completion by their punter! By comparison, Rivers threw for over 1,000-yards more than the Rams quarterbacks combined (4,386).
Running Back: Rams Todd Gurley vs. Chargers Melvin Gordon. Part of a dying breed of bell-cow running backs, this is the most even matchup on the ledger. Gurley fell off from his breakout rookie season once teams figured the Rams couldn’t pass the ball and loaded the box to stop the run. Gurley managed 885 yards and 6 touchdowns on 287 attempts (3.2 yards per carry). Gordon did the opposite, rebounding from a disappointing rookie campaign to fall three yards short of a thousand yards on 254 attempts (3.9 yards per carry). Gordon went from zero touchdowns as a rookie to twelve (ten rushing, two receiving) in his sophomore year.
Wide Receiver: The Rams tried to run their offense through the speedy but diminutive (5″8′) Tavon Austin. Secondaries figured out the game plan early and rolled coverage to him. As a result he had only 509 yards and three touchdowns receiving. Running reverses and other gadget plays added another 159 yards and one touchdown to his 2016 resume. Kenny Britt, Brian Quick and Lance Kendricks provided the bulk of the punch from the receiving corps, accounting for 1,063 yards and ten touchdowns combined.
In San Diego, Tyrell Williams had a breakout season amassing 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns by himself. Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin combined for another 1,487 yards and eight touchdowns. Not bad considering they lost their number one receiver, Keenan Allen, in the first week of the season.
Total offense: The Rams finished dead last in points per game (14) and yards per game (262.7). The Chargers finished ninth in points per game (25.6) and 14th in yards per game (356.8).
There’s no point into going over to the defensive side of the ball. Fans come out to see an exciting, dynamic offense and a good football game. While the argument can be made that neither team achieved that goal, the Chargers were able to put points on the board. The Rams were blown out (16 points or more) six times. They scored ten points or less nine times. The Chargers only had two games where they scored under 20 points (16 and 19) and of their 11 losses, eight were decided by a touchdown or less.
If this were a fight, the ref would’ve stopped it by now….
There is no question as to who is the best team in Los Angeles. Provided they can stay healthy, the Chargers will make the playoffs this season. Health is always the biggest problem with this team as they have not been able to keep their starters healthy for many seasons. The Rams will be living in the NFC West cellar for yet another year, healthy or not. They simply don’t have the talent.
Los Angeles is a notorious fair weather, bandwagon-jumping city. If you win, they will come and tell you they have been a fan for years. The only question is can the Chargers keep their weapons on the field and out of the trainers’ room and if so, how many games will it take before the Los Angeles public officially adopts them?
But retire the hashtag already…
Please and thank you.
The Greg One
Note: Before I begin I want to add that this is an opinion article, also known as an editorial
March 27, 2017: the day that 31 NFL owners voted to uproot the Oakland Raiders, and allow the team to find a new home in Las Vegas. Sure, for the Raiders it may be a good option. They are moving to a territory that they would not have to share with anyone except an NHL team. One thing about the business of sports is that, yes, there is a massive business aspect to it; but it is not the same as any other industry. The difference is the fans. Sure, in other industries there are consumers and customers, but that is still different than fan bases in sports.
Fans are practically owners of the teams. Most of the revenue comes from things that fans do such as buy merchandise, food, tickets, etc… Over the past two years there have been three teams that have left the cities that they have played in (some for 50-plus years) in order to go someplace with a bigger market. Now if this were a restaurant or store, it makes sense. More population equals more potential clients/customers. However these are not stores, these are teams with history. These are teams that integrate into the communities and make a personal and lasting impact on each and every fan. There is a reason that fan bases become family and it is that shared bond and experiences of being a fan of a team.
When teams move, they do not realize they are hurting both the image of the organization as well as their fans. Imagine a business that would abandon its largest stakeholder instead of trying to please said stakeholder. The company’s brand may go up in value, but what is the point of an increase of the brand if there is no loyalty to said brand?
Moving away from a large source of money based upon the “chance” that you could double the current revenue is one of the most greedy business decisions a team could make. The only thing that an increase in brand will help is the cost of selling said franchise.
The NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, and NBA are a fan run industry. The reason that the sports industry is worth several hundred billion dollars, is mostly because of the amount of fans it draws. Being a fan is more than just liking this or liking that, being a fan is being a part of a community and supporting the team by spending money on gameday and on different things with the teams logo on it.
Why in the world ruin a good thing? Teams seem to think the way to earn more money is just to move to a bigger market. Maybe they are right in the short-term because since the Chargers moved they increased the value of the brand. However, they still have to play at a stadium that is meant for soccer with a low amount of seats. So even though the brand increased and the potential is there, the teams need to win a Super Bowl to make a “fan base” in Los Angeles. However, the owner doesn’t seem to care about championships.
In short, the NFL is going to feel the repercussions. It is hard to support teams that have a history of leaving. Maybe to begin with they will see an increase because of new markets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. However, they will not see consistent revenue from the teams. With all of the rule changes and everything else, it is soon to be the NTFL (National Touch Football League) instead of the NFL, which would piss off a major target market in sports.
To the Indoor Football League we go!!! Go Rattlers.
For a decade and a half, the San Diego Chargers and the city government have been at odds over the issue of building a new stadium. This well-documented crusade has played out in the media and tripped over it’s latest hurdle when the team was rebuffed in their bid to move to Los Angeles in February.
The Chargers have since redoubled their efforts in chasing the brass ring that is a stadium in San Diego. Fan groups mobilized and spearheaded a signature-gathering campaign to get the stadium bid placed on the November ballot and succeeded by gathering over 110,000 signatures.
Fueled by a great incoming draft class, numerous team-orchestrated player visits around the city (Thank You, San Diego) and a successful signature drive, hope and enthusiasm finally began to feel palpable in San Diego county.
Then, earlier this week, this story surfaced courtesy of discoversd.com: http://www.discoversd.com/news/2016/jun/27/seaport-village-new-arena-aeg-san-diego/
Sports real estate superpower AEG wants to privately finance and build a 18,000-seat venue to lure NHL and NBA franchises to San Diego. The video in the story says the arena is being proposed for Seaport Village.
So let me get this straight…
There is an uncivil war going on to get a stadium built for the Chargers. However, fat rats in the private sector think it would be great to build a stadium for a phantom NHL and NBA team. What part of this makes sense? We’ve all seen Field of Dreams and know they’re hearing the famous catchphrase:
If you build it they will come…
…in their sleep at night but be real for a minute. The power players in San Diego County would rather chase pie in the sky than give a first-class facility to the team that has been woven into the fabric of San Diego for 55 years. As a devoted Chargers fan who has been a true diehard from the age of 7 in North Carolina, I am appalled and embarrassed for other true Bolts fans who are watching our beloved team get pushed further and further out the door.
And for what? Basketball and hockey?!?! Football is still king in this country if the politicians have missed the memo. Is the NBA and NHL really going to come to a town that won’t even support an NFL franchise? In the NBA, 21 out of 30 teams share a city with an NFL franchise. In the NHL, of the teams not located in Canada, only three don’t share a city with an NFL franchise.
If you can’t support the biggest sport in America, what chance does another sport have? If a team does expand to San Diego it won’t be a winning franchise. Winning franchises don’t pick up and leave town. Losing franchises do.
It took three years for the Oklahoma City Thunder to become playoff contenders after they left Seattle. It took decades for the Los Angeles Clippers to become playoff contenders after they left San Diego. Those are just the two most recent examples in the NBA. Hockey? Please. Their playoffs just ended and it’s unlikely three out of every ten people walking down any street would be able to tell you who won the Stanley Cup.
To make matters worse, on Thursday the California Supreme Court blocked a lower court ruling requiring a simple majority instead of two-thirds of the votes for the stadium initiative to pass. The Chargers need local support more than an NBA/NHL franchise that may not even exist yet.
These should serve as rallying points for San Diego Chargers fans to band together and point a discerning finger at the hypocritical San Diego policymakers in local government. If a stadium is going to be built, it should begin with the Chargers and filter down to the other major sports. Building an arena before you have a team is illogical and wasteful, especially with an established team waiting for that very same thing.
Who do you support? Would you rather build an arena for a future NBA/NHL franchise or build a new stadium for the Chargers? Please post your thoughts below.
The Greg One