Late last week multiple sports outlets reported that Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will not show up to camp without a new contract. In addition, if they can not come to a deal, Gordon is demanding a trade. Gordons’ agent, Fletcher Smith, told the media that he and his client are dug in on the matter. Reportedly, there has been no progress in negotiations which spurred them to take this drastic action.
Gordon is in is option year, set to make $5.6 million dollars. Given his production since being drafted in 2015, he has transformed into a top-5 running back in the NFL. Last season, he ranked fifth in yards from scrimmage. Over the last three seasons, he’s only second to Todd Gurley in carries with 1,079 and third in the league in touchdowns (38) and yards from scrimmage (5,205) over the last four seasons. Undoubtedly contributing to their decision making process are the recent long-term extensions given to fellow running back contemporaries Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (4-yrs, $60 million, with $45 million dollars guaranteed), Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (3-yrs, $39 million with $30 million dollars guaranteed) and Le’veon Bell (4-yrs, $52.5 million with $25 million dollars guaranteed). All three threatened to sit out until they got a new deal and only Bell actually sat out a season.
To holdout now will be the greatest leverage he has to use. The Chargers are coming off a 12-4 season highlighted (and lowlighted) by a trip into the AFC Divisional Round against the eventual Super Bowl champions, New England. The window of opportunity for Philip Rivers and company is now and Gordon is a big piece of the pie in that equation. At 26, this is the best time for Gordon to holdout. His value is at its peak, this is the moment of greatest need for his team with the Chargers ascending to championship contender status and he has proven himself to be a durable, reliable, elite dual-threat running back.
The only reason Bell didn’t succeed in getting paid with the Pittsburgh Steelers is because he waited until after he had been franchised twice. Bell and Gurley got their deals before the team had that control in their hands. The Chargers have the same leverage inasmuch that they can franchise tag Gordon for up to two more seasons at the league average of the top-5 running backs in the league. It’s in the Chargers’ best interest to get a long-term deal done or trade Gordon now as opposed digging in and letting him go (after sitting out the season) and getting nothing in return. Gordon loses all leverage by playing the season and allowing himself to get franchised for two seasons. What team is going to give a long-term contract with a boatload of guaranteed money to a 28-year old running back?
So what do the Chargers do?
The Chargers have a lot of big contracts of core players coming up at the end of 2020 and not a lot of cap space to sign them all. Rivers, Gordon, tight end Hunter Henry, linebacker Jatavis Brown, cornerback Trevor Williams, safety Adrian Phillips and center Mike Pouncey headline the players who will be looking to cash in on their on-field success. By the way, franchise defensive end Joey Bosa will be looking for big bucks at the end of the 2021 season. Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco has some big decisions to make and Gordon is forcing his name to the top of the list.
Without Gordon, the running back depth chart will be Austin Ekeler, second-year pro Justin Jackson, Detrez Newsome and Troymaine Pope. Ekeler has proven his versatility and ability to make plays in space but the group behind him is unproven to say the least. Gordon, obviously is the element that takes this group from good to great. As seen by the recent signings of guys like Bell and Gurley plus the growing influx of backs that are as deadly catching the ball as they are running it; the devalued running back position is making a comeback. If Telesco makes a trade he is hamstrung because no team is going to make a fair offer knowing the position he is in. At best he may be able to acquire a package of draft picks. A first round pick isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
The Oakland Raiders received a first-round pick from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for wide receiver Amari Cooper. Weeks earlier, they had received two first-round picks, a sixth-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick plus a conditional fifth-round selection for Khalil Mack. Cooper was coming off a down 2017 season and found himself lost in the wide receiver shuffle until newly-hired Raiders coach Jon Gruden shipped him out of town. Mack has established himself as a top-5 if not the best pass rusher in the league before Gruden sent him away. Gordon is closer to the Mack end of the spectrum than the Cooper end. The problem is draft picks are always a crapshoot. A package of picks including a first-rounder or two is all well and good, but it does not result in equal value and it does nothing for the loss of production for a team that is among the favorites to appear in the Super Bowl.
The other side of the coin is to sign Gordon and judging from the deals mentioned above, the terms are going to be in the neighborhood of a three- to f0ur-year deal worth $13- to 16-million dollars per year with two-thirds of that money guaranteed. Can the Chargers afford it? According to Sportrac, Over-The-Cap, ESPN Stats and Info and other sources, the Bolts have just under $11 million dollars in cap space. Still, cap space backdoors are known and utilized by ever GM in the league. Keeping Gordon keeps the Chargers consistent and on course for that long-awaited Super Bowl return. Keeping Gordon keeps the Chargers in place as the biggest threats to Kansas City, who will be heralded as the heir apparent to the Patriots’ franchise based on the trajectory of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is coming into this, his third season, on the heels of winning the NFL MVP award after his first season as the Chiefs starting QB.
As a fan and as a man who was there at the NFL Draft when Gordon was drafted, I want him to stay a Charger for life. I’ve met the man, had a conversation with him and shook his hand on the very first day he was tapped to be a Charger. He’s a solid guy, very kind, very active in the community and has a sparkling reputation as a teammate. That being said, I believe Gordon will be traded. I cannot blame the Chargers front office as much as I’d like to do so. The system is flawed with the way teams can get away with so many years of control before a player can cash in on a long-term deal. I can’t blame Gordon for holding out as much as I can’t blame the Chargers brass for wanting to hold onto control for as long as they can before backing the Brinks truck up to his door. Players are now getting wise to the fact that this is the road to hoe if they’re going to avoid overuse and get paid before getting stuck on a series of one-year contracts.
Whatever they decide, they don’t have long to do it. Gordon and Smith have established the beginning of training camp, July 24, as their hard line date to get a new contract done. If they don’t get a deal, they want the Chargers to start looking for trade partners. There’s no reason at this point to believe they won’t follow through on their threat since no new news has come through the pipeline since this story broke. I believe the Chargers will shop Gordon and take the best offer they can get. Having a disgruntled player in the fold will be a huge distraction to the team, the fan base and the bottom line knowing he is at home while the team is fighting for a playoff spot. If Gordon is gone everyone has no choice but to accept it and move on. The Chargers should be able to get a Khalil Mack-esque deal. It won’t be as good but comparable in the sense that it will be multiple picks and at least one first-round pick. Brace yourselves Chargers fans. It won’t be pretty but we know, now more than ever, how much of a business the NFL has become. May the football Gods have mercy on our souls….
The Greg One
The Chargers broke countless hearts when they finally announced they would be relocating to Los Angeles, leaving the residents of San Diego in shock, confused and heartbroken.
Some fans decided to decided to follow them to their new locale, while others decided not to support such horrible ownership and what many believe to be an incredibly poor decision.
I have with me a good friend and fellow staff writer who’s made the decision of choosing a new team, Chris Hoke.
Chris: First off, thank you for conducting this interview. It’s been a long six months since greed and selfishness took my hometown team away from me, leaving me to wonder where the fuck do I go from here.
Charlie: No problem at all! I would like to briefly go over your time as a Chargers fan and ask you a couple of questions about the process of being a free agent fan, so to speak. How long were you a fan of the Bolts? Was it a born-to-now thing? This move must’ve really crushed you.
Chris: I was Chargers fan for 25 brutal seasons. Basically since I was a little kid I grew up watching them with my grandpa and my brother. It become a Sunday tradition in our household. No matter how bad the bolts were my brother and I stuck our team.
Hearing about the bolts was definitively soul crushing. I’ve seen the Chargers get killed in their only Super Bowl appearance. I was there for LT’s last game as a Charger. I was there when the Jets beat us in the playoffs in 2010. I thought those were soul crushing experiences. They pale in comparison to losing your hometown team. It’s like your brother died. I would never wish this kind of pain on any fan. It’s truly been one of hardest times in my life.
Charlie: I’m sure if we take the Spanos family out of the picture, were looking at a much different outcome in this whole process. So that being said, what was a couple of moments being a fan that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life? There’s got to be a part of you that wants to see the players still succeed and do great, right?
Chris: As much as I despise Dean, If you took the Spanos’ out of the picture maybe things would’ve worked out. It wasn’t just his fault though the city of San Diego needs to take some of the blame. For the last 15 years both sides did this dance. Dean would come up with plans to renovate Jack Murphy Stadium or build a multi-purpose center downtown, which would host a number of sporting events. Each time Dean would do this the city turned him down; finally capping it off last November when Proposition C failed miserably. The city and Mayor Faulconer basically left Dean no choice but move the Chargers. So no, I don’t believe the end would be better without Dean. San Diego losing the Chargers was inevitable.
I don’t know if you ever went to any Chargers home games in the Q Charlie, but when the Chargers were winning there was blue and gold everywhere. This city was buzzing. One of the things I will miss about home games was the calm before the storm. The music would start and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” would hit. Then smoke would filter out of the Chargers helmet then the cannon would fire and then the starting units would be introduced. You just got that electric nervous feeling almost like you were in the game. Those nerves would be turned up even more if it was a rivalry or a playoff game.
As far as moments I’ll cherish, every game I went to was with my brother. Win or lose we were always there next to each other for support. The shared experience of moments and memories like that were enough to last a lifetime.
If I had to go back and pick one game. It would be the Colts wildcard game in 2010 when Darren Sproles scored in overtime in one of the craziest overtime endings ever. Shocking the then Super Bowl Champion Colts.
Football and the Chargers were more to me than money or the games I went to. It was family. Not Dean, not Roger Goodell or anybody will ever take that from me. Family is forever and I will forever be a San DIego Chargers fan!
As far as the players, some have handled this in a way where they can put the true San Diego Chargers fan into their perspective. Take Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates for example. They have both expressed how much San Diego meant to not only their careers but to their families as well. For those players I will cheer for them and hope they finish their careers on top.
Now for those players such as Keenan Allen, who by the way was caught wearing a Raiders hat after he was drafted; we know which team he gets soft against. Allen wasted no time burning his bridge with SD fans by tweeting how excited he was to play in LA only moments after news broke about the Bolts departing from San Diego. I would say that in my eyes those players don’t exist to me and that true Chargers fans should question those players loyalty to not only the team but to us the fans.
Charlie: Safe to say that Darren Sproles game winner has to be a top-3 moment in every Chargers’ fan memory. It was amazing. Still gives me goosebumps to this day watching it and seeing Peytons’ helpless face. *Devilish Laugh*. Now that you’re a free agent fan, have you narrowed it down to any teams in specific that you are gonna cheer for from here on out? if so, how did it come down to them? Whats the process on picking a new team? What plays a big role in attracting you to become a fan? I’m sure given this experience, a huge part has to be ownership.
Chris: I have narrowed it down to three teams. Those teams being the:
Green Bay Packers
For me it came down to several reasons,
First of all with the Packers, I’ve always loved the Packers and the history that comes with this franchise. Not to mention they are publicly owned. The team cares about its fan base. It would also be nice to be a fan of a franchise that knows what it takes to get to a Super Bowl and win.
Secondly, the Philadelphia Eagles. One of the oldest franchises in the league. Like my former team the Eagles have struggled to win a championship. They have had two Super Bowl appearances. One was in 1981 where they lost to the underdog Oakland Raiders. The second loss came in 2004 at the hands of the New England Patriots. Why the Eagles though? My best friend comes from Philly. So I’ve already become a secondary Eagles fan. Since I am now a free agent the idea of being a part of a fan base that is loyal to its team no matter what would be a breath of fresh air compared to the fair weather fan base of the San Diego/LA Chargers.
Lastly, the Chargers. I still can’t call them that disgusting cities name because really it makes me sick to my stomach. It’s like the New York Yankees moving to New Jersey and becoming the New Jersey Yankees. It would make a New Yorker sick. I digress though many may call me a hypocrite since I said “I would never cheer for a team in that city.” However, the Chargers have been all I have known for 25 years. I’ve grown up with this team. They are my blood. They are the bond that my brother and I have always shared. The Chargers are like family to me. If I were to pick them it would be not because of that shithead of an owner. Not because the Mayor of San Diego had a stick so far up his ass he refused to see the grander picture. It would be my heart. My heart has belonged to this team. Whether I like it or not it will always belong to this team.
Charlie: It truly sounds like you have limitless love for the Chargers even after this whole disaster. That’s why you and I connect in good ways. The Packers and Eagles are pretty fair choices as well. Both places can get very cold though, so if you plan on taking trips to see the teams, at Lambeau especially, make sure to bundle up. So before we get into the actual team that you’re rocking with, how has this decision affected relationships with fellow Chargers fans? Do they understand why you’re doing this? I’m sure people feel your pain to some degree. Have you lost any followers on social media?
Chris: I live in Missouri and just moved from Nebraska. I’ve adjusted to cold weather I actually prefer it as well. As far as the transition to being apart of the bolt family on social media to a free agent fan. Man, its been rough. In fact its been one hell of a past seven months. Some have accepted it and understand why I have done it. Some have chosen the same path. Such as former BoltBlitz writer Zak Darman. Others who I have considered close followers have shown anger towards myself and others saying “we were never true fans” which is preposterous. I believe as humans we all grieve in certain ways. Of course I haven’t helped my own cause when I have drunkenly mocked the bolts and L.A. For that I apologize. It was a part of the seven steps of grief anger. In fact after this interview I will no longer be talking about the move or how much I hate Dean Spanos. The subject on this matter is now officially closed!
Charlie: Hypothetical question here, lets say you pick a team that isn’t the Bolts and they end up over exceeding expectations and making playoffs, how would that make you feel? Would you consider coming back? I myself would welcome you back with open arms. Everybody makes mistakes right? All 3 teams are good this year so there should be no letdown where ever you choose to land.
Chris: If the Bolts finally exceed expectations that would be a shock. I mean every time this team is predicted to “take over” the AFC West this team falls flat on its face. So I would be shocked and happy for the players like Rivers, Gates and other veteran guys who deserve to go out on top. However I would not change my mind to be Chargers fan again. Though I’ve thought about trying to be a fan for just one year. Like a player does when he signs a one-year contract. That’s not for me though. When I pick my team this is gonna be the team I stand by till I die!
Charlie: Is everybody in the Hoke family going to be following you on this decision or will this be a solo mission? Somebody in your family had to have either helped with your decision or entice you to go a certain route? Joining a fan base alone can be like switching schools as a kid.
Chris: As I’ve stated in an earlier question. My brother will be remaining a Chargers fan. The rest of my family is either fans of different teams or they are not into football in general. So no, this is something I’ve done on my own unfortunately.
Charlie: Alright so by now, I’m pretty sure the people are on their toes. Everybody can feel your pain and love for the Chargers throughout the article. A lot of people understand you and share those same emotions. Hopefully, this article and your decision can help others and their futures as football fans. With all that being said Mr. Man-of-the-hour, what team are you going with? Who are you going to support going forward? This is a huge decision and it has me so ecstatic to find out! I just hope you’re choosing to stay with us!
Chris: Oh man, This is a question I’ve asked myself over and over for the past seven months. Its taken a lot of soul-searching to get to this point. Being that I’m the man of the hour and I’m a man of my word.
I’ve decided to take my fandom with the Chargers to LA. At the end of the day this is my team. No owner can strip that away from me. I’ve seen these players such as Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates come up from nowhere to be the NFL’s elite. More so than this the Chargers are family. As the line in “Fast and the Furious” series always says “You don’t turn your back on family.” As hard as it is to cheer for a team in a city I hate, things change and I will learn to love this team again. I would once again like to apologize to all the bolt family I’ve spurned for the past seven months. It was a part of the grieving process. I hope you all can forgive me and let me back into the bolt family once again.
Again, Charlie I would like to thank you for these wonderful questions and helping me to close a huge chapter in my life. I look forward to cheering with you on Sundays. Go Bolts!!
Charlie: Yesssssss!!! Words can’t describe how hyped I am to hear you say that. I sure as hell speak for the entire bolt family when I say “welcome back”. Something told me all along you were going to stay with the team. Your passion for this team stretches further than most. This would definitely would not be the best time to leave anyways. The talent on this squad has everybody hyped for the future and I’m truly happy that you are able to look past all the destruction and let downs over the years to stay with them. It’s only going to make winning that much better. I truly am grateful to have found out your great decision first! Next round is on me!
Charlie LaFurno and Chris Hoke
On Thursday the news broke that the Oakland Raiders had made their quarterback, Derek Carr, the highest-paid player in NFL history. The new deal is for five years and $125 million, a cool $25 million dollars per season. Carr will receive $40 million guaranteed at signing and $69 million guaranteed over the first three years of the deal.
The deal is a huge leap of faith for the Raiders but they feel they finally have their franchise quarterback in the fold. Quarterback has been the most glaring weakness of this team for almost two decades. The last time they had anyone that could be considered franchise quarterback quality would have been the Rich Gannon years from 1999-2004.
Carr is coming off of a breakout season in 2016 in which Oakland went 12-4. In his three seasons as Raiders quarterback, Carr has a 22-26 win-loss record and is barely over a 2.5-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio with 81 touchdowns and 31 interceptions.
Now the league will be watching to see if Clast season was a fluke or if he truly is ascending to the elite level of NFL quarterbacks. He is certainly paid as if he is elite. To their credit, the Raiders have built a championship-caliber defense. The offense is taking shape with Carr, standout wide receiver Amari Cooper, veteran wideout Michael Crabtree and blossoming tight end Clive Walford as an impressive assortment of weapons for Carr. Add the newest addition in legendary running back Marshawn Lynch to bolster the running attack and you have a scary unit, at least on paper.
While Carr is the richest player in the league at the moment, it won’t last long. Quarterbacks Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers are all in line for raises next offseason. Skill position players such as Le’Veon Bell and Odell Beckham Jr. will also be looking for mega-millions sooner than later.
What do you think? Was the the right move for the Raiders? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Currently, many NFL fans have been faced with a very difficult decision. Now that my team has moved away, or will soon be moving away, who should I root for? It seems that the answer should be obvious: Root for anyone you want!
But, alas, it is not that simple.
Unfortunately, right now in “Chargers Country” there is a bit of a civil war. Long-time Chargers fans who feel deeply hurt by their team moving to Los Angeles are not only rooting against the Bolts, they have elevated owner Dean Spanos to the level of Osama Bin Laden on their list of most evil men who have ever walked the earth.
All I have to say to those people is that I understand and feel their pain. I was born and raised in San Diego and I certainly get why you feel abandoned, bullied, and misled. I especially feel for those who knocked on doors, gathered signatures, joined fan groups, et cetera. I also feel for those who live in the county and did not get a chance to vote.
On the other side are the fans who believe that they can move on despite their dislike for Mr. Spanos. They just want to watch and enjoy NFL football and not have the same passion for any other team than their Chargers. Yes, Spanos benefits from their support, but they don’t really care because they put the players above the ownership. To those people I would say that I am in your boat. I have come to grips with the fact that my team has a very flawed owner, but I will continue to root for my Bolts.
Now the interesting group….the undecided. These are Chargers fans who just can’t make up their mind. Should they remain Chargers fans? Or, should they shop for a new team? If they decide to move on to greener pastures, what team should they choose? For those people, I offer some facts to ponder. I hope they help. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular teams in the NFL and why they may or may not deserve your loyalty, love, and hard-earned dollars.
New England Patriots
If you are looking to celebrate championships, this may be the team for you. At least while they still have head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, I would never bet against them. But hold on just one minute before you choose the Pats. Consider the fact that they have been caught cheating multiple times. Everything from filming other teams signals to deflating footballs. I won’t even go into the Aaron Hernandez story. They like to say that they push the envelope. In reality, they rip the envelope open and rely on their popularity and extremely wealthy owner, Bob Kraft, to save them in the end. So far, their plan has been successful. So, you need to ask yourself if you can root for a team that has possible morality issues and one that has most likely been one of your most hated teams for years? If you can get past all this, enjoy the next few years as a winner.
I can’t even believe that I am listing the Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders as a viable option, but here they are. Yes, I have heard many ex-Chargers fans saying that they are switching their loyalties to the Raiders. As always, I believe that is their choice and they are welcome to it. I just don’t understand it.
Let’s be fair. The Raiders are an up and coming team that honestly has a chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy within the next two or three years. That can be enticing to any waffling fan. They have a great, young quarterback, outstanding pass rushers, and exciting play makers. All that being said, they are still the Raiders! If you have been loyal to the Chargers for any length of time, you most likely have a deep-seated hatred for the Silver and Black. But let’s put rivalry behind us for a moment. In my opinion, it makes absolutely no sense for a Chargers fan to jump ship and join Raiders Nation. You are mad at Dean Spanos for not being loyal to his fans, yet you are willing to give Mark Davis a pass? The Raiders have a long history of screwing their fans. They went from Oak-town to Los Angeles (sound familiar), back to Oakland and now they are moving to Vegas. All along they have used cities like Irwindale and Los Angeles as leverage to use against the city of Oakland to force them to build them a new stadium (sound familiar?). It is quite confusing to me why anyone who quotes loyalty as the reason that they are leaving their team would go to a team that is quite possibly the least loyal franchise in sports. But that is just me.
Kansas City Chiefs or Denver Broncos
Good teams. Quality ownership. Chance to win in the future. The only real negative would be that you would be going from hating them to loving them just because you are mad at Dean Spanos. If you can sleep at night, go for it.
New Orleans Saints
I have heard other Chargers fans say that they are going to follow the Saints because of Drew Brees. Yes, Brees is great and he was a fan favorite (more-so after leaving) in San Diego. The problem is that he will only be around for a short time and then you are stuck with this decision all over again. Do you stick with a team you don’t have any passion for? Or, do you become a free agent again.
Los Angeles Rams
Again, I don’t get it. Yes, I have heard the argument that supporting the Rams would be a throat-punch to Dean Spanos. I suppose there is some validity to that. But once again, we are talking about supporting an owner who abandoned his fans. Yet another owner who sees the bottom line as dollar signs, rather than loyalty to those who love their team. Also, an organization that has gone from Los Angeles, to Anaheim, to St. Louis, and back to Los Angeles. Once again, it is your right to make this choice, but to me, your logic is flawed.
If you are old like me, you may think of the first time that they fans in St. Louis lost a team. It was the Cardinals, not the Rams. I’ll admit that the Cardinals have been in Arizona for quite a while now and do not seem to be heading out anytime soon. I think you are safe to root for them, if location is your biggest concern. Arizona isn’t even that far to drive if you want to make an annual trip or two to see a home game. They will also play in Los Angeles at least once a year. I don’t have any reason to like the Cards, but if you do, knock yourself out.
“Sixburgh” knows how to win championships. They must be a fun franchise to watch. They play at a high level year in and year out. They have cool looking uniforms and a unique helmet with a logo on just one side. They do have a history of paying guys who have some pretty serious “character flaws”, but most teams in the NFL can say the same. My favorite memory of the Steelers is watching them go down to defeat to my Chargers in the AFC Championship game, just a week after producing their own Super Bowl video. Makes me smile every time I think of it.
“America’s Team”! You are most likely an American, so it makes sense to like the Cowboys. Right? Seems to me that the Cowboys are one of the most polarizing teams in the NFL. People either love them or hate them. Either way, they have a very solid team and have a real chance to be playing on the next several Super Bowl Sundays. I’m sure there is room on the Cowboys bandwagon (or wagon train in their case). Perhaps before long, you will find yourself as passionate about that star as you were the lightning bolt. Do remember though, owner Jerry Jones came up with the framework for the Chargers and Rams to share a stadium in LA.
This choice was interesting to me. It came up the other day on social media that an ex-Chargers fan was going to root for the Eagles going forward because of Darren Sproles and the recent drafting of Donnell Pumphrey (RB out of San Diego State University). I have no real argument against this choice. Perhaps by the time Pumphrey concludes what is hopefully an illustrious career with the Eagles, the new fans will have found a way to attach themselves to Philly and will continue on. Perhaps not.
This could be the flavor of the month, or it could be a legit choice for free agent fans. Everyone seems to love their owner and there aren’t many negative stories plaguing the roster. They were Super Bowl runner-ups last year (they should have won) as well. So again, good team with a chance to win. Perhaps you can find a way to jump on board. If so, enjoy the ride. It should be fun for a while.
“The Field” would consist of all the other team except the Los Angeles Chargers. These are teams that have no obvious reason to pick them. Sure there are great players like JJ Watt or Aaron Rodgers out there who you may like enough to start following. But beware, players careers are short. Do you really want to be right back in the same spot again in five or 10 years? Perhaps there is a city that is important to your family. Your Dad grew up in Chicago and is an avid Bears fan. Okay, root for “da Bears”. Maybe you are moving elsewhere and your new city or state has a team. Great! Your choice is easy. Maybe you want to pick your team the way you pick your horse at Del Mar. “I really like the colors on this one.” Whatever your method, the choice is yours and no one else’s opinion matters. Peace and love, Baby. Peace and love.
the Los Angeles Chargers (that is so strange to type)
Let’s assume for a moment you are straddling the fence and you just can’t decide what side to come down on. The side that shows Dean Spanos how much you despise him, or the side that shows how much you love the team despite how much you despise Dean Spanos. Notice, I am working on the assumption that the vast majority of Chargers fans, current and ex, share a hatred for Spanos. Anyway, you have a decision to make. Let me see if I can help. First of all, consider the aforementioned teams and whether or not you have any passion for any of them. If you do, problem solved.
If you are one of those “two favorite teams” people, your task is easy. But, if you are like me and do not believe in having two favorite teams, you still have work to do.
Here is what worked for me.
I simply paid attention. I paid attention to what was going on in the NFL. I listened and read about the various news on players, owners and teams. Then I paid attention to how that news made me feel. It didn’t take long before I realized that I was still far more interested in Chargers news than any other team. The more I heard about the players, the more I realized that Dean Spanos means nothing to me. Yes, I realize that every shirt, hat, jersey, or ticket I buy puts money into Dean’s pocket. I just don’t care. Dean Spanos is rich and he will continue to be rich, with or without me. Why should I let him ruin my enjoyment?
It finally hit me last week. There was a build up for the draft and I found myself paying more attention than in recent weeks and checking mock drafts for who people thought the Chargers would pick. Then draft day came and I got more and more excited as the Chargers pick drew near. I can’t say that I had the same level of interest or excitement as I have had in the past. But I can say that I had far more interest and excitement when the Chargers picked than any other team. I even got frustrated as I noticed the NFL network kept going to commercial break before the Bolt’s picks and therefore didn’t have much time to discuss the team or their needs.
Yes, I have decided to stay with my team because I do not care in the least about any other team, and I do not feel the desire to waste all that I have gone through for the past 39 years. That being said, I am not saying that you have to feel the same way. Although, if you are reading this on Boltblitz.com, you still have some interest in the team. That much is obvious.
If you choose to move on to another team, or no team at all, or whoever is playing the Chargers on any given Sunday…good for you. I respect your choice. It is a personal decision for every individual to work out. I hope you don’t waste your time and energy trying to spread your hate to others. Who I like doesn’t affect you in the least. Nor does who you like affect me. Football season will be here before you know it. I hope you find your team and manage to enjoy the season. Remember, it’s a game.
Thanks for reading.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com has taken on the task of grading each and every one of the NFL’s 32 draft classes in this year’s draft.
Clearly, the conjecture involved here is what it is, but I really like Reuter and his work for NFL.com.
For the sake of this article, we’ll begin with his thoughts on the AFC West.
Garett Bolles (No. 20 overall), DeMarcus Walker (No. 51 overall), Carlos Henderson (No. 82 overall), Brendan Langley (No. 101 overall), Jake Butt (No. 145 overall), Isaiah McKenzie (No. 172 overall), De’Angelo Henderson (No. 203 overall), Chad Kelly (No. 253 overall)
Day 1 grade: C
Day 2 grade: A-
Day 3 grade: B+
Overall grade: B
The skinny: Garett Bolles is an athletic, tough-minded player. He’s also an older prospect who has lived through a lot. Some teams have concerns about his ability to handle complex line adjustments. The team certainly needed a left tackle, but Ryan Ramczyk was also available here. It will be interesting to compare the careers of those two players. Though DeMarcus Walker didn’t get a lot of love after his big first week in 2016, his power and hustle make him a great pass rusher. They got a good receiver in Carlos Henderson in the third round, one of the toughest pass-catchers to tackle in the draft. Bolstering the team’s cornerback depth was a major need, so picking up intriguing former FBS cornerback Brendan Langley was worthwhile.
Denver ended the draft with a bang — taking Chad Kelly at Mr. Irrelevant. Kelly’s potential makes him a non-irrelevant selection. There’s no reason not to make that pick given his arm strength and football acumen — if he can calm himself and focus on the task at hand. The Broncos‘ first pick of Day 3 was the top selection in the fifth round, tight end Jake Butt. He should be a solid starter when he recovers from his bowl game injury. They picked up an extra fifth from Cleveland in an earlier deal. Late-round running backs De’Angelo Henderson and Matt Dayes will make an impression in training camp.
My take on Bolles, Butt and Kelly:
I am not a fan of the fact that I like the Broncos’ draft class this year. Addressing the offensive line — adding Bolles — in the first was a must, and the team added one of my favorite prospects in the entire class in Michigan tight end Jake Butt.
The thing that sticks out to me the most is John Elway pulling the trigger on troubled quarterback Chad Kelly of Ole Miss.
Kelly, nephew of former NFL gunslinger Jim Kelly, was selected by Elway with the last pick of the draft (No. 253). The youngster has all of the makings on the field of a solid early-round prospect — injuries aside — but his inability to stay out of trouble off of the field resulted in his fall to the Mr. Irrelevant selection.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:
Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: A
Day 3 grade: C
Overall grade: B+
The skinny: Chiefs GM John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid saw Brett Favre in Green Bay, and they have to see some of that gunslinger attitude in Mahomes. There is a risk factor here given his penchant for throwing the ball anywhere and from any arm angle (which will turn into interceptions in the NFL), and they have up a future first-round pick to get him. But if anyone can get Mahomes to adjust and succeed, it’s Reid. Villanova doesn’t put out a lot of top football players, but the Philadelphia crowd love seeing Tanoh Kpassagnon get picked. He’s a very good five-technique with a lot of upside. The Chiefs got a starter in Kareem Hunt, an all-around player who can do it all. Patrick Mahomes has all of the tools to be a great quarterback.
The Chiefs continued to move up and down the board on Day 3. Jehu Chesson was inconsistent in his senior year, so I might have waited a bit to pick him given the other receivers available. They also gave up a fifth-round pick to pick him, which isn’t a premium selection, but would have helped with depth. Kansas City didn’t select a cornerback with some size, which would have helped this season.
My take on Mahomes:
Though I like this class as a whole, it begins and ends with the drafting of Mahomes.
The Texas Tech star seems primed to replace current quarterback Alex Smith sooner rather than later, as the latter is hardly an average signal caller at this point in his career.
Mahomes has as good of a chance to succeed in the NFL as any of his peers at the position from this class, possessing an awkward, yet highly accurate deep ball. Though he often throws off of his back foot and from odd trajectories, he still manages to give his receiving weapons great opportunities to come down with the rock. The only team in the AFC West that I was hoping to land the former Red Raider will be playing its home games at the StubHub Center in ’17.
Gareon Conley (No. 24 overall), Obi Melifonwu (No. 56 overall), Eddie Vanderdoes (No. 88 overall), David Sharpe (No. 129 overall), Marquel Lee (No. 167 overall), Shalom Luani (No. 221 overall), Jylan Ware (No. 231 overall), Elijah Hood (No. 242 overall), Treyvon Hester (No. 244 overall)
Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: B+
Day 3 grade: B+
Overall grade: B+
The skinny: As long as Conley’s off-field issues are cleared up, the Raiders got the long, agile, ballhawk they needed. If he gets in trouble, then GM Reggie McKenzie will have to answer for the pick. The Raiders are in love with long, athletic secondary members. Obi Melifonwu is a hard-hitting guy with nice speed that Al Davis would have loved. If Oakland gets the junior-year Eddie Vanderdoes, they’ll like his interior push; if he’s the 2016 Vanderdoes, they might not like what they see.
Oakland needed to get better on the offensive line, but David Sharpe must prove he can move with NFL-caliber players on a down-by-down basis. If he can, his length and size make him tough to get around. They met their inside linebacker need with Marquel Lee from Wake Forest in Round 5. Oakland didn’t ignore the running back position despite signing Beast Mode — Elijah Hood is a banger, as well.
My take on general manager Reggie McKenzie:
You sexy mutha.
This dude seems to have turned around what was a horrid franchise when he took over the organization’s general-manager spot.
After effective drafts and free-agency periods the last few seasons, the Raiders are primed to push toward the top of the AFC for the next several years, as they finished last season as the fifth seed and a 12-4 record.
Look out for the Silver and Black, folks.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS:
Mike Williams (No. 7 overall), Forrest Lamp (No. 38 overall), Dan Feeney (No. 71 overall), Rayshawn Jenkins (No. 113 overall), Desmond King (No. 151 overall), Sam Tevi (No. 190 overall), Isaac Rochell (No. 225 overall)
Day 1 grade: A-
Day 2 grade: B
Day 3 grade: B+
Overall grade: B+
The skinny: Mike Williams is a physically dominating receiver who will make life easier for Philip Rivers. He has enough speed to make plays, as well. Keenan Allen‘s injury forced the team’s hand, as well. It will be interesting to see where second-round pick Forrest Lamp plays for the Chargers; he would be an excellent center. It was an excellent value pick. The Chargers again bolstered the interior of the line with Dan Feeney, who will play guard to protect Philip Rivers and block for Melvin Gordon. Hitting two interior linemen that early is a bit of a knock, as they need safety and linebacker help.
The Chargers‘ safety group needed an upgrade. Desmond King (fifth round) and Rayshawn Jenkins (sixth) should help in that effort. Finding an aggressive swing tackle in Sam Tevi in the sixth was a nice find, and adding versatile 3-4 lineman Isaac Rochell in the seventh was a solid pick.
My take on Tom Telesco:
Sir, you complete me.
The fact that Telesco used three of his team’s seven selections on offensive linemen shows that the team is serious about opening up holes for their up-and-coming running back (Melvin Gordon) while also protecting their highest-paid asset (Philip Rivers).
Still, the question remains the same among the fans and media pundits alike: Has it become too late in the aging quarterback’s career for him to be a true difference maker?
I am a firm believer that the savvy veteran is more than capable of getting the job done for the Bolts for at least the next two years.
This team, knock on wood, will also be able to contend for the postseason should it muster up some ancient wizardry and stay relatively healthy for the first time in what seems like forever.
The Chargers have been one of the most injured teams in recent years, losing hundreds of starters all over the squad and playing 3,482 different offensive-line combinations in the last two years. (It feels as though I am only slightly exaggerating.)
The AFC West will once again enter the 2017 campaign as one of the top divisions in the league, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if it turns out to be the best of them all. This division was already tough as nails prior to all four clubs having solid drafts this past weekend.
Thanks a lot for reading.
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.
Korey Toomer has only been wearing lightning bolts since September, but it surely seems longer.
The former Oakland Raider is as happy to be with the Chargers as they are to have him. He is finally getting an opportunity to put his talents on display, especially that 4.53-second 40-yard dash.
After being drafted by Seattle in 2012 (round 5, selection No. 154). He was on the roster for 20 (including preseason) games during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory in 2013. Between being on injured-reserve for two straight years and having guys like Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner ahead of him, it was difficult for Toomer to get on the field in Seattle. He was released from the Seahawks in 2014. Subsequent stops in Dallas and St. Louis with minimal playing time (special teams only) garnered three tackles in seven games. More of the same followed in Oakland, so much so that he terminated his contract with the Raiders to sign in San Diego.
The signing of the ultra athletic Toomer has gone a long way towards solidifying the linebacking corps. Season-ending injuries to Manti Te’o and Nick Dzubnar left a void that demanded filling. Recent injuries to both Jatavis Brown (knee) and Denzel Perryman (hamstring) only increased the necessity of his presence.
Ahead of the match-up against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Toomer had started in four out of seven games. One of his best plays to date came in the Thursday Night Football game when he tackled Broncos wide receiver Jordan Taylor and the Broncos’ player coughed up the ball. The fumble recovery led to a San Diego field goal and put the Chargers up 13 points on their division foes. San Diego went on to win that game, their first victory in the AFC West since 2014.
Since mid-October, Toomer has amassed 51 tackles, the majority of which are solo (37), defended against two passes, forced three fumbles and notched one fumble recovery. There were impressive stats against both the Tennessee Titans (nine tackles/eight solo) and the Miami Dolphins (11/10), including three-and-a-half tackles for lost yardage. In the Houston game, the veteran linebacker recorded 13 more tackles (four solo) and a quarterback hit.
Having Toomer back there to get receivers off routes has been fun to watch, as well. His ability to reroute crossers and drags which run through the linebacking corps’ area can significantly alter the short passing games of opposing offenses. He has helped solidify that inside linebacking group.
Speaking to Ricky Henne of chargers.com in October, Toomer stated:
“Pags’ system is benefitting me because he is letting me play fast. He is putting me in positions not to fail. That is why it is working for the both of us. I feel like these coaches are giving me a chance. Granted, I made good on the situation. These coaches have put me in position to make plays and are not putting too much on my plate. They are letting me fly around. I am grateful for these coaches giving me a call and giving me a chance to play this game. I want to show people I can bring more to the table than just special teams. I love special teams, that’s where I want to play for the rest of my career as well, but I want to play defense, too.”
Whether he plays defense or special teams, the fact that Toomer left a division rival in order to grasp an opportunity with both hands shows he has gained confidence in himself and his ability.
Bring on the Bucs and Mike Evans!
*Featured image credit: AP – Denis Poroy
In case you missed it, measure C, the plan that would have given the Chargers a brand new, non tax payer funded, downtown stadium got struck down with a vengeance by the citizens of San Diego. So what is next for the San Diego Chargers? Vegas? Los Angeles? Franchise disbandment?
If you ask me, someone who is currently studying sports business, the answer to that is none of the above.
The reason that it would not be Las Vegas, is because the Oakland Raiders have already been in talks with the city of Las Vegas and a move there is all but official. However, with the large amount of gambling that goes on in Las Vegas, something tells me Mr. Goodell is going to do anything in his power to not let that move happen. The Raiders fanbase or “Raider Nation”, is the perfect candidate for Las Vegas because of the large amount of residents that migrated from California. It is one team that is guaranteed to bring in a lot of money not just for the organization itself, but for the city of Las Vegas as well. So Vegas is out for the San Diego Chargers.
The issue with Los Angeles is that it is now Rams country after the team recently left St Louis. Before the Rams left for St Louis, they were the longest tenured team in Los Angeles, so as I stated before, they practically almost had an established fan base, minus of course the ones that became Raiders fans when the Raiders spent their time in LA. Citizens of Los Angeles do not want the Chargers; several fan polls done by ESPN and Fox Sports proved that earlier this year (2016). Not to mention there is a reason that the Chargers left the Los Angeles area in the very early stages of the franchise.
Now to franchise disbandment: This is a possibility so do not think that it is not. It is a highly unlikely possibility but it is still there. Let’s call it the worst case scenario. The reason this is a possibility is because San Diego is a bandwagon sports town – a transplant city. If you do not believe me, just look at the stands from this past Sunday, or look at how much measure C lost by. In places like San Francisco, you can not walk a city block without seeing at least seven 49ers logos. In San Diego, you are lucky to walk two miles to see one bolt on the window of a bar. They can not trust the fans in their own city to show up to games, and the answer to that is a whole other discussion/debate.
What I honestly believe will end up happening is the Chargers are going to have to look somewhere in San Diego county for a beachfront stadium. Why the beach you ask? It brings more people in and it encompasses what is so great about San Diego.
How great would a tailgate on the beach be?
The Chargers would be able to enclose an area specifically for that and charge per tailgater, similar to what the Arizona Cardinals do with the great lawn. There is a large amount of the population that likes to go to the beach, so not only would it give the Chargers a new stadium location, but you will see an increase in single game tickets, and more importantly, season ticket sales. On top of all of that, it will make San Diego eligible to host the greatest money makers in all of sports; like the Super Bowl, the Final Four, and the college football championship.
Just my take, thank you for reading.
As Chargers fans are emotionally recovering from the team’s dramatic overtime victory over the Falcons in Week 7, let’s put Sunday’s big win in perspective. There are three different areas about Sunday’s game that shows us as fans that our team is not going to suck as bad as they did the first few games of the season.
- The comeback win itself – One thing that the Chargers could not do when they started this season was finish games. Even though the Bolts are in the top-5 of the entire NFL as far as points scored before halftime, they still are near the bottom, if not dead last, in the point-differential in the fourth quarter. Sunday’s game was different as the Chargers were down 27-10 in just the second quarter. It seemed a very daunting task to complete that sort of comeback with this team, They used to be the only team in the national football league that could have a three- or four-touchdown lead, and their fans would still be on edge like it was a one or two touchdown lead. Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers showed great resilience, creating a daring comeback that would eventually end in an overtime victory.
- Defense – The defense was the unspoken heroes of this game, particularly Joey Bosa and Denzel Perryman. One thing that is overlooked about this game was that the Atlanta Falcons did not just defeat both the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos. They also are the number one scoring offense in the national football league, even earning the praise of San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano. Who stated , “I looked in the dictionary at the word explosive, and when I pulled it up, a picture of the Falcons showed up.” This is very large praise for one team to give to another. So what ended up happening? In the first half, Atlanta scored 27 points, one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, and three field goals. They also scored on a fumble recovery. However the narrative changed in the second half, as the Falcons, this super high-powered offense, only managed to score 3 points in the ENTIRE second half PLUS overtime. This is a very large feat, especially against a team like Atlanta who has not scored less than 21 in any game this season, almost racking up 50 points versus the NFC champion Carolina Panthers.
- Special Teams, Although there was the mix-up on the kickoff in which Griff Whalen misread the ball and came out of the end zone instead of just letting the ball roll in and giving better field position to the offense. The special teams in this game actually did really well. After all, it was special teams that won us the game in overtime. It looks like having Kellen Clemens hold the ball on the field goal attempts made a world of difference in our special teams play. Also it doesn’t hurt that the punter Drew Kaser was actually able to kick the ball further than a little girl serving in her little league soccer match. The only times the Falcons started their possession on the Chargers side of the field were because of turnovers and not because of a bad punt or a bad kick, which is a huge bright side.
It seems like there are a lot of things that worked out this past Sunday, not to mention the awesome day that Melvin Gordon had two rushing touchdowns, and a receiving touchdown while averaging 8 yards after the catch. He also made a heads up running play that kept the Chargers hopes alive. It’s beginning to look like the San Diego Chargers are starting to gel, however only time will tell. From what I saw on Monday, I can see the Chargers making the wildcard, if they keep that resilience, and nothing goes too haywire, this team should be in good shape.
As many have seen through all sorts of mediums, the time is finally here; it is time to vote on the building of the new Chargers stadium in downtown San Diego. It almost seems like people forget the impact that PETCO Park had on the San Diego landscape, transforming the area it was built in from a lonely ghetto to one of San Diego’s most valued real estate areas.
During last year, when the NFL was having its meetings about the Chargers, Raiders and Rams and where they would all end up, there were all sorts of fan polls taken as to who they would prefer in the Los Angeles area to represent the NFL.
The team at the very bottom of every poll presented was none other than the Chargers. Although polls can be misleading because of the sample size of each, driving through the Los Angeles and Orange County cities, one can see who really runs the city of angels, meaning the Rams and the Raiders.
Dean Spanos has ruled out rebuilding on the current site of Qualcomm Stadium, guaranteeing to everyone that the Chargers organization is putting all of their eggs in one basket, going full force for the downtown stadium. Of course, it would be wonderful if it does pass and does get built. However, what happens if it doesn’t pass? After all, this is the city who allows the away team to overrun its own stadium. The amount of Chargers fans in Los Angeles is extremely dismal, and one would think that after lasting only one season in Los Angeles that history would repeat itself.
The Chargers are going against well established LA teams, and hoping to pull a fan base out of thin air. It makes it worse that one of those established fan bases in Los Angeles is already a hated rival of the Chargers.
My question is, how do you expect to build a sports franchise when MOST of your future stakeholders have grown up hating your brand? It’s like R/C Cola creating a factory and headquarters right next to Coca-Cola in Atlanta, GA. Just bad business.
There is no future for the Chargers in Los Angeles.
So, the bottom line is, vote yes on C, or else in 2-3 years, we will have no team to root for. No let’s go Chargers; everything we own will become franchise wear similar to those who own Houston Oilers’ merchandise. The Chargers are a staple of San Diego, and to let them leave would be a catastrophic disaster.