Yesterday was January 12, 2017, a day that shall live in infamy. Some will refer to it as the beginning of the end, and to others just the beginning.
The Chargers are officially moving to Los Angeles, and with this sudden and drastic change, many Charger fans are jumping ship to other teams, or dropping any passion they had for the NFL all together. Of course with those publicly made comments, there have been tons of rebuttals from fans of other NFL teams belittling said fans for doing so.
I say to those that are making the decision to follow another team: Although I am making the decision to follow them in Los Angeles under the condition that they remain the Chargers – I do not blame you.
I also come from a different background. I was not born and raised in San Diego. I became a Chargers fan at a very young age because everyone else around me where I lived, seemed to be an Arizona Cardinals fans. So in a way, I was a fan of the Chargers as an entity, not as a representation of a city.
Regardless of how I became a Charger fan, it still hurts me to watch the team leave by way of a press release; no public meeting, just a cowardly gesture and they are gone like a thief in the night. I understand that the team is now not that far away from San Diego, however the team moved to what is considered to be a rival city. I remember the benches clearing brawl in the Padres- Dodgers game a few years ago between Zack Greinke and Carlos Quentin! These two cities do NOT like each other. It is not to the likes of a New York and New Jersey rival; closer to that of a New York and Boston rivalry. Fans of the NFL born after 1996, who were not alive to witness the move of the Houston Oilers, St. Louis Cardinals and the original Cleveland Browns, do not understand the gravity of this situation.
The social media attacks of Charger fans walking away from the team, seem to forget that a majority of the fans they are chastising, the team was a large part of not only their community, but their upbringing as well. Without actually experiencing the situation yourself, you really have no idea what it is like to lose such a large part of your community – your life. Chargers fans in some of the Facebook groups compare it to having a girlfriend that cheats on you and then shares the picture with you on Facebook with her new ex. You still may love that girlfriend, but it is clear that she did not love you back.
That is the case with the Chargers in my opinion. The reason for the low attendance the past few years is not just because of poor performance, but also the Spanos family yanking the citizens of San Diego around and giving them false hope. It is not just the Spanos family, however, that is at fault. I believe all sides regarding the team and the stadium issue are to blame.
Getting back to my original thought: Fans of the teams that either have not moved in their lifetime or have never moved, where their loyalty has never been tested, should not be telling Chargers fans about how loyal they are and blah, blah, blah. Those casting stones often forget that being a fan of any sports team is a passionate yet gentle distraction from the stressors of our daily lives. We put our heart and hopes into that team, and in return they give us hope and pride in something that is bigger than ourselves. A sports team is a large part of a community; it brings people together and in turn gives back to the community by public works. Now in San Diego, that entity is gone with no public meeting, just a few touches on a keyboard. That is why it hurts the way it does.
So for those who are not, or never were, Chargers fans, please be reminded that everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings. Your loyalty might not have been tested yet, and even if it has and you choose to stay with your team, I am fairly certain there were numerous fans of your team that jumped ship.
Thanks for Reading
With free agency officially set to open tomorrow, Tuesday March 10th at 4 p.m. ET. exactly, NFL teams are preparing to sign some heavy hitters. Since last week, rumors and predictions have circulated as fans eagerly wait for what is set to unfold. As of right now, everything is all speculation which leaves Tom Telesco and the Chargers still in the hunt for big name players. Let’s stop there because the Bolts don’t sign big names.
It was nice to ponder the thought of free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh coming to a team with a tremendous need for a nose tackle, but it was all a fictional. An array of fans flooded social media when it was announced by NFL Media insider’s Ian Rapoport that Suh is being considered by the Chargers. What a tease. Bolt fans had to have known that names like his don’t ever come to San Diego. It is already looking like this year’s free agency signees won’t be anything like what A.J. Preller did in the Padres’ offseason. I would love to eat my words on that.
Well, wait a second. The previous back office has been gone for a few seasons now and this is the first year Telesco has had cap breathing room. Fans have been unable to determine what the young general manager is capable of, but most importantly, willing to do in order to build a Super Bowl contending team.
We all know what happened in recent years with some semi big name signings. Jared Gaither and Derek Cox are just a couple that did not live up to their contracts, to say the least. Is it the money or just the uncertainly that the back office feels the need to justify not snagging a big hitter via free agency? Either way, I believe starting tomorrow things may start to change.
There has to be some reasoning as to why big name players should not be chased. For example, it’s reported that Suh will sign with the Miami Dolphins for a 5-year, $114 million dollar contract, but should the Chargers spend a quarterback’s salary on a defensive tackle? It’s debatable, but not wise when the roster has many gaps yet to fill. Yes, Telesco finally has money to spend, but it shouldn’t be spent on a single big name guy.
In the most positive news yet to transpire, per Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune, free agent guard/tackle Orlando Franklin is set to join the Chargers. Seems as if strides are being made for big names. According to NFL Trade Rumors, Franklin is ranked 19th of 100 free agents in 2015 which gives him a presumable headliner label.
Last week, the Bolts added an explosive kick returner, Jacoby Jones, to the roster. In addition to him, Telesco then solidified the secondary by re-signing cornerback Brandon Flowers. These players may not be big names per say, but they add much-needed value to the organization.
It’s always been a stigma that the Chargers don’t sign heavy hitters via free agency. This offseason seems to be different, and things are progressing forward with player talent, rather regressing. Bolt fans should be hopeful with the leadership of Tom Telesco and company. In the next few weeks, his true colors will be exposed. I’m hopeful for bright and exuberant colors, opposed to the gloomy grays.