Quaalcomm Stadium

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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

Philadelphia Eagles

Chargers

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.

CharlieIt 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

 

 

q

I feel it is time to throw my two cents in regarding the stadium issue. The only problem is that I tend to waffle when I think about it. Some days I feel optimistic and think to myself, “No one really wants to see the Chargers leave San Diego”. The next day I’ll do a complete turnaround and pessimistically say, “There is no way to get the 2/3’s vote that is needed to use any tax payer’s money to build a new stadium”. So let’s take a look at both sides of my split-personality.

The Optimist:

What kind of fool would allow the Chargers to leave San Diego? The Chargers are in one of just 32 cities to host an NFL team and reap the benefits. Having the Chargers is a large reason why San Diego is relevant in the sports world. Building a new, multi-purpose stadium would open the door for hundreds of events to take place in San Diego, hence funneling money that is currently going to other cities. The new San Diego stadium could be “Jerry’s World West”! Final Fours, Championship boxing, MMA Championships, major college football bowl games, SDSU football, high school football, Pro Bowls, The World Baseball Classic, World Cup, Olympics, Super Cross, Comic Con, major concerts, etc. Oh yeah, I forgot that every 10 years or so; the Super Bowl. There are countless opportunities for the city and county of San Diego to benefit from building a new stadium. How can people not see that?

Wait! I think I know the answer to that question. Stop saying that San Diego needs a new stadium for the Chargers! Too many wealthy people have no interest in the Chargers or sports in general! I have heard people say, “Why would we spend a billion dollars for 10 games a year?”  Also, I have heard, “Why are we paying money for a rich guy to get richer?” Honestly, those are valid questions. That is why the Mayor and the Chargers must stop talking about “saving the Chargers” and focusing on a multi-purpose stadium that will be filled more than 200 nights a year. Put enough events in that stadium and the revenues that San Diego brings in will be enormous. The Chargers staying will be a nice bonus, but not the main benefit (I secretly wink to Chargers fans). I don’t care if the number one reason to build a new stadium is to retain the Chargers. It won’t pass unless the rich folks think they will profit from the stadium. Hopefully, that angle will take the headlines soon and the public vote will sway toward the positive.

The Pessimist:

I hate to say it, but I find it hard to believe that the “leaders” in charge of getting this stadium vote through will be able to pull it off. As I understand it, if the city has to raise taxes in order to finance the new stadium, it must receive a 2/3’s vote to pass. The Padres were only able to muster a 59% vote to get Petco built and that was after going to a World Series! If the city of San Diego wanted to keep the Chargers that badly, it wouldn’t have waited 14 years to get the project done. Once the NFL said that there would be no more Super Bowls in “The Q”, the city should have used that as a reason to get it done ASAP. But they didn’t.

Now, here we are in the eleventh hour and still no stadium. That is extra bad news as the St. Louis Rams are talking about moving to Los Angeles and have already purchased property! It wasn’t so long ago that the Chargers said that a team moving to Los Angeles would force them to leave San Diego due to losing the LA and Orange County markets. It looks more and more like by the end of the 2015 season the Rams will announce their plans to move. If they do, the Chargers will have to make a decision on their future. The only problem with that is that the vote for a new stadium would not take place until November of 2016! Without knowing the outcome of that vote, the Chargers may be forced to move to LA, or another city that has been trolling around for an NFL franchise. Not good.

Another, less important issue that I have with the new stadium is, will San Diego fans be willing to pony up the money for tickets at a new stadium? I hate to say it, but a new billion dollar facility will certainly increase ticket prices by quite a bit. The Chargers already have trouble selling tickets without the ridiculous prices that may be in our future. Then there is Personal Seat Licenses (PSL) where people will pay thousands of dollars to basically have the right to get a seat for the season. You still have to pay for a ticket, but you get first chance. At least that is my basic understanding of what has been happening around pro sports. Now, some stadiums only have PSL’s in their luxury boxes and more exclusive seats. Let’s hope it is no worse than that in San Diego.

The moral of the story is that San Diego fans need to get the word out that not only do they want the Chargers to stay, but they don’t want the city to lose a great opportunity to create jobs and revenue through a multi-use facility that would also keep San Diego as one of the elite cities in the country; a true destination city.

Remember, “…I’m Just Sayin’”, represents my opinion on Chargers topics of the day. I would love to ready your opinions too. Just leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for the read and Go Chargers!

(Thanks to www.welcometosandiego.com and www.skyscrapercity.com for the pics)

Keiser

We all know the playoff scenario. On Sunday the Chargers need the Ravens and Dolphins to lose even to have a chance at getting into the playoffs. The Ravens plays at Cincinnati and the Dolphins host the Jets. It’s a possibility the cards can fall into place  and both games go the Chargers way. That really isn’t the important thing.

The Chargers must beat Kansas City at home on Sunday.

We all want to see the Chargers in the playoffs but the Chargers don’t need to worry about things that aren’t in their control. Even if one of the above mentioned teams wins, it is no excuse for the Chargers to play with anything less than their absolute best. By the time the Chargers come out of the tunnel at Quaalcomm stadium, they will know if they are playing for a spot in the playoffs or not. If so great. If not, doesn’t matter. The win is what matters.

There are rumors that it is common for Andy Reid to rest starters when he knows his team is set to make the playoffs. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe won’t be playing due to a concussion. Stud pass rusher Tamba Hali will not play due to injuries. Jamaal Charles playing time may be restricted. This game has no bearing on the Chiefs playoff seeding. They are in and they are playing on wild card weekend.

Whether they’re playing the Chiefs reserves or the starters, the Chargers winning will signal a successful beginning of the Telesco/McCoy era. The Chargers are guaranteed at least a .500 record. They were 7-9 last season and they are 8-7 now. A win gives them a winning season and means they closed the season on a 4-game winning streak. The Chargers need that momentum going into the offseason.

We have witnessed a return of Pro Bowl Philip Rivers. Rivers is the fourth highest ranked quarterback in the league and is in the top five in almost every passing category there is. The new offense implemented by McCoy and conducted by OC Ken Whisenhunt has kept Rivers standing upright and completing passes all over the field, putting up sensational numbers.

Ryan Mathews has played in every game this season, a first for him in his career. As a result, he has posted a career high in yards with 1,111 yards and 6 touchdowns. Mathews has played very well the last half of the season. Next season is Mathews’ last season before his rookie contract expires. A repeat of this season’s effort could earn him a veteran contract. The one-two combination of Mathews and Woodhead has been a success and will be lethal if Mathews can show he is durable enough to be counted on week in and week out.

The offensive line has turned into a cohesive unit and with one week left Rivers has been sacked almost 20 fewer times than he was last season. DJ Fluker has been every bit worth his draft position to the point where his exclusion from the Pro Bowl should be considered a snub. King Dunlap has played admirably. Clary at guard has been a great decision. The entire line is playing their best when it counts, at the end of the season. This line will only get better.

All the new names on defense from rookies Mantei Teo, Jahleel Addae and Tourek Williams to guys getting starters minutes  like Thomas Keiser and Andrew Gachkar have thrived. They will make great second unit once the injured stars like Dwight Freeney, Larry English, Melvin Ingram and rookie draft pick Steve Williams return at full strength next season.

A 9-7 record highlighted by a four game end of season win streak is the objective. That’s a wave of momentum that can sway free agents to San Diego, highlights areas to enhance in the draft and sends the team into the offseason on a high. That momentum then flows into offseason workouts, minicamps, training camp and preseason. Playoffs or not, getting the win is the most important thing the Chargers can do for themselves.

Bolt Up

 

#TelescoMagic

 

The Greg One

 

 

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