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.
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.
Over the weekend the San Diego Chargers released a brand-new four-and-a-half minute sizzle ad, launching their movement to win the stadium vote in November. The ad, narrated by Chargers’ legend and Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Fouts, shows a beautiful 3-D rendering of the stadium, complete with improvements to the cityscape both physically and financially. Edited versions of the ad will be seen on local television soon.
The ad spearheads a full mass media campaign blitz which will also cover print, radio and social media. In addition to the Chargers’ efforts, citizen-led fan groups such as Save Our Bolts, Die Hard Bolt Club, San Diego Chargers Backers, Bolt Pride and others will cover the streets of San Diego by foot, detailing the stadium plan and encouraging citizens to vote YES in November.
To view the full-length stadium ad, click on the image below.
The ad is funded by Citizens for Sports, entertainment and Tourism with major funding from Chargers Football Company LLC. Major bulletpoints in the video stress the fact that there will be no new taxes levied on San Diego citizens. The funds would instead come from tourists, convention-goers and out-of-town business people staying in local hotels.
The 55-year history of the Chargers in San Diego is highlighted going back as far as Fouts’ famed ‘Air Coryell’ era to the current Philip Rivers-led era. The CGI-renderings show a beautiful state-of-the-art facility with a convention center annex. The deck of the annex would feature multiple viewing balconies and a grass-covered rooftop ‘sky garden’ where patrons can enjoy a panoramic view of the San Diego skyline.
The stadium would hold 61,500 fans and when they host the Super Bowl, seating could be expanded to hold 72,000. As Fouts so eloquently asks in the video, “What could be sweeter than Raiders, Broncos and Patriots fans all helping pay for the project, when they pay their hotel bill?”
The video is capped by Chargers’ owner Dean Spanos, speaking on behalf of the entire Chargers organization.
“This new facility will be much more than a stadium, it will be a world-class event center for San Diego that will create new convention space and attract new sports and entertainment events year-round. I hope you’ll take some time to consider our proposal and know that we’re here to listen and respond. San Diego is our home, and I believe the best is still to come for all of us together. So please, join with us.” Spanos said.
The video is remarkable and would be a boon to the San Diego economy for decades to come. In the short-term, tons of new city and government jobs will be added. Stadiums take time to build and this stadium could take 5-7 years to complete. Money from the approved hotel rate hike would go into the general fund after the stadium revenues are fulfilled. That money can go anywhere from repaving roads, improving schools and improving outdated features of the city.
San Diego is the greatest destination city in America, every travelling convention, trade show, major concert act would make San Diego a priority. Special attraction events such as the Olympics, World Cup, Final Fours, Wrestlemania and the yearly return of Comic-Con would ensure there is no off-season when it comes to the amount of money the city stands to make.
Citizens of San Diego, you owe this to yourselves and to your families. All it takes is a Yes vote at the polls in November to provide the brightest future, not just for the Chargers, but for the city of San Diego and its’ people for decades to come.
When all those annoying Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs fans roll into town bragging about how great their team is, we can just smile and thank them for building our new stadium. What do you think Bolt Nation? Will this get a YES vote from you in November? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
The San Diego Chargers are officially on the clock. On Saturday, the votes needed to place the Citizen’s Initiative stadium plan on the ballot were verified, with over ten thousand signatures to spare. In November, the San Diego voting public will be able to vote in a new stadium for the Chargers.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos released a statement of gratitude to all who helped in getting the stadium initiative to this point. It reads:
Last week, the California Supreme Court blocked a lower court ruling that would only require a simple majority for the initiative to pass, instead requiring a two-thirds vote (67%) for the initiative to pass. That ruling is still in question. The Chargers will proceed in their campaign as if 67% is required.
It’s up to you, the Chargers fans, to come out to vote because to be honest, even 50.1% is going to be hard to come by if there isn’t the same fervor at the polls that there was during the signature drive. All Chargers fans must come out and vote yes and also actively work to sway those who are on the fence on the issue, non-sports fans or those who are not supporters of the stadium initiative at all.
A new stadium for the Chargers will be an economic windfall for the city of San Diego for decades to come. A flood of new jobs will be an immediate result as this new stadium will take years to build. Every major sporting event, political convention, concert, and one-off spectacle (i.e. Wrestlemania, the Olympics, World Cup) will come to San Diego. This also places San Diego in the Super Bowl rotation almost indefinitely.
San Diego is the best destination city in the United States. All those tourism dollars from the aforementioned events are going to flood the city’s coffers. America’s Finest City may well become America’s Richest City.
Do the Chargers have your support? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Over a month ago the San Diego Chargers drafted defensive end Joey Bosa with their third overall pick. Along with Bosa the Chargers drafted two more defensive players. One of them was Bosa’s running mate at Ohio State, Joshua Perry. These look to be great additions combined with the free agent signings of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and safety Dwight Lowery.
Some Chargers fans are clamoring for the Chargers to switch defensive schemes. I’ll tell you why this can not and will not happen anytime soon. First, I’ll tell you the difference between the two schemes. For the purpose of this piece it will just be a base 3-4 scheme versus the base 4-3 scheme. After this I will give my opinion on why switching schemes wouldn’t be beneficial for the Bolts moving forward.
I’ve stated in a previous article (Bolt Up For Bosa) that the Chargers only run their base scheme about 50% of defensive snaps. It’s these 50% of snaps I will be focusing on. That being said what is a 3-4 defense? It has been used famously by Bum Phillips, the father of Wade Phillips.
Used by the Houston Oilers in the 70’s, it’s predicated on pressure by overwhelming the offensive line with multiple attacking defensive players. If used correctly this scheme can be virtually unstoppable. This was defensive scheme used most brilliantly by the Denver Broncos to defeat the Carolina Panthers in this past years’ Super Bowl.
The 3-4 was the staple of Dick LeBeau’s defense which helped drive multiple teams to Super Bowl appearances. Lebeaus’ defense has yielded two wins and four losses in the Super Bowl. In New England, the 3-4 has been the driving force behind the Patriots dynasty. Yes, Tom Brady has made his throws but its been the defense that’s given the Patriots four Super Bowl titles in 15 years.
Breaking it down the 3-4 consists of three down linemen and four linebackers. The four linebackers have endless possibilities on how they can be placed. There’s a multitude of packages to utilize. This makes the 3-4 a hard defense to plan against. With four linebackers you don’t know who is blitzing or who is dropping back in coverage. The point of a 3-4 defense is mismatches. It’s built to stop the run and apply endless amount of pressure on the opposing teams’ offensive line. In theory, the Chargers should be good at run-stopping although this has been the Achilles’ heel of the defense over the past several years.
Here’s a diagram of a basic 3-4 defense.
So how will the Chargers look defensively? Let’s start with the defensive line. At left defensive end will be Corey Liuget. Anchoring the middle will be nose tackle Brandon Mebane. At right defensive end will be Joey Bosa. At weak side outside linebacker will be Jerry Attaochu. The inside linebacker will be Manti Te’o. The middle linebacker will be Denzel Perrymen. The strong side linebacker will be Melvin Ingram.
Anchoring the back end of the defense from left to right will be left cornerback Jason Verrett. At Free Safety will be Dwight Lowery. Next to him will be strong safety Jahleel Addae. The right cornerback will be Brandon Flowers. Keep in mind this is how it stands right now. A lot depends on training camp and if the Chargers sign other free agents.
So now know how the Chargers will run their basic 3-4 defense. What is a 4-3 defense? The base 4-3 first came to us under Tom Landry when he was the Giants defensive coordinator in the 1950’s. He then made it even more famous with the Dallas Cowboys and through their vaunted “Doomsday” defense. Ever since, there’s been multiple variations of the scheme from the Bill Parcells stack defense to the Wide-9 defense famously used by the Philadelphia Eagles.
On to the basis of the 4-3. It’s four down linemen and three linebackers. In its most basic form the four down linemen will always have their hands in the ground and be in pursuit of whomever has the ball. The three linebackers are in charge of coverage in this base defense although they may blitz in certain packages.
Here’s a diagram of a basic 4-3 defense.
The Chargers run a variation of the 4-3 in a hybrid nickel package. The nickel package features Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu with their hands in the dirt. The 3-4 defense has been implemented since 2001 when Marty Schottenheimer took over as head coach. Since then the Chargers have had a few dominant defenses in ’06, ’07, ’09 and 2010. Its been proven very effective when the right pieces are in place. In 2016 this is such the case. My main reason for this belief is Joey Bosa and the signing of cornerback Casey Hayward. The Hayward addition was an amazing pick up.
It’s all about the anchor of the 3-4, the nose tackle. A viable anchor is something the Chargers have lacked for so long. Since the days of Jamal Williams its been a revolving door at this position. Brandon Mebane probably didn’t make headlines to the casual Chargers fan. I believe this is the most underrated pickup of the whole offseason. Mebane can garner double- and sometimes even triple-teams.
This defense, hell, this whole team is going too shock a lot of people. As I said earlier the 3-4 requires almost pure selflessness from its three down linemen. It starts with Mebane. I may call him Bane by seasons’ end. If you know Batman then you understand the reference. Its been five years in the making with this defense. Why change philosophies now when this defense is so close to grasping greatness? Its proven to be a dominant defense in the past. It can and will be for years to come.
The San Diego Chargers are an essential part of the San Diego community, whether people would like to realize it or not. They are as big if not bigger than the Padres in the San Diego area. Not only would it be a disservice to the fans to let the team move, it would also be a major disservice to the city at large.
A new stadium would bring in all sorts of new revenue. Among them are advertisements, restaurants, tourism, and especially sports fans that want to see something new. If they were to extend the convention center and go with the Convadium plan, that would guarantee that San Diego will be a permanent home for one of the most beneficial events for the San Diego economy in the cities’ recent history, Comic-Con.
Comic-Con has brought in several hundred million dollars in just one appearance. Imagine the amount of tourists all around the globe that would go to visit the new Comic-Con museum. With this museum, one can still bring in stars such as William Shatner, Mark Hamill, and Robert Downey Jr., to do autograph signings and still make money in the offseason. The Comic-Con museum would only be a small part of the massive revenue that the city would bring in.
The rest comes with the territory of having a new stadium. The stadium can host more than just football games, it can hold concerts, and other sporting events. For example, the University Of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, was able to host the College Football Playoff Championship game, will hold a Guns-N-Roses concert, a One Direction Concert, and even world soccer recently with the Copa America match that was just held there.
All of these events benefit the city’s economy. When people come to the events, they don’t just attend the event and leave, they go and spend their money at restaurants, buy commemorative merchandise in the stores surrounding the venue, and some even pay for public transportation to and from the event.
The biggest reason that this stadium is a good idea, is the same reason that the Chargers play every single Sunday during the season, the Super Bowl. No company spends any less than ten million dollars to get their name associated with the Super Bowl. The advertising is just one small part of it, the rest comes with tickets to the game, the gambling surrounding the game, and of course, tourism. When New Orleans hosted the Super Bowl, it brought in 480-million dollars to the city’s economy according to Fox Business.
Hosting a Super Bowl can be considered a city’s chance to show off to all sorts of perspective tourists that a city like San Diego, with Cornado, Seaworld, and any beach in the area, is practically guaranteed to have repeat tourism. Obviously, it will cost a lot to build, but adding that three-percent hotel sales tax will be sure to cover it. It’s worth it with the city making a large profit, with zero taxpayer dollars involved. The possibilities are endless.
Agree or disagree? Post your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for reading.
A football season is 16 games long. If a team is lucky, it can prolong the time of clearing out lockers and getting bodies healthy for at least four weeks beyond the regular season.
For Melvin Ingram, that would be a total of 64 games in which he could have played every September to December of the last four years. Instead, the thorn in his side has been injuries which cost him 19 games; the equivalent of an entire season!
Ingram’s 2013 campaign was supposed to see his statistics spike; after all, free agency saw Shaun Phillips move on to the AFC West rival Denver Broncos while Antwan Barnes joined the New York Jets. That left the second-year outside linebacker to learn from wily veterans such as Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. Both Freeney and Johnson were known for their work ethic and hard-nosed play. Unfortunately, his sophomore season was over before it had even begun.
Ingram suffered an ACL tear on May 14 during OTA’s. The expectation was that Ingram would be lost for the year and in August he was placed on the Reserve/PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. Fans were elated to see number 54 back on the field in December and ecstatic to have him force a fumble while sacking Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin. Two weeks later in Cincinnati, he intercepted Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the AFC Championship game.
“SupaMelvin” was BACK!! Or was he?
Ingram appeared to make it through the 2014 OTA’s, minicamp and preseason unscathed. That all changed after the September 14 game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. The weekend arrived and brought with it another stint on the Reserve/Designated to Return list. Eight weeks later he was back sporting his blue and gold. It was a deja vu moment – two years with back-to-back injuries and who does he suit against? Both games were at home against none other than those pesky Raiders. San Diego won both contests.
In April of 2015, the Chargers exercised the fifth-year option of Ingram’s rookie contract. His salary for the 2016 season is $7.751 million, per Spotrac. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
Ingram appeared in all 16 games for the first time since his rookie season, collecting 65 tackles, 10.5 sacks and six passes defensed (PD). His career numbers in 45 outings are 143 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 13 PD with three forced fumbles.
The Bolts’ defense needs Ingram to step it up. Adding former Seahawk Brandon Mebane at the nose tackle position is a start. Drafting Joey Bosa, projected to be the bookend on the defensive line opposite Corey Liuget, was a boon. Having third-year man Jerry Attaochu in the mix along with thumper Denzel Perryman provides defensive coordinator John Pagano with chess pieces that he hasn’t had in years.
Ingram has only logged two games with more than a single sack, both coming last year. One was the preseason game against Seattle last year (2) and another 2.5 collected in the win over Miami. Expect that to change.
Should the starting group on the field complement one another as anticipated, I can see this defense lighting up wide receivers and tight ends, stuffing the run and pushing back opposing linemen.
For Ingram to be successful, he must start strong and stay strong. He has to be a leader on defense this season. He needs to set the tone.
Does Ingram outperform his 2015 numbers? I anticipate that he will. Could he get to 14.5? It could be a real possibility given he should be a bit more free to roam with Mebane in the middle at nose.
These guys don’t wear lightning bolts for show. That electricity HAS to find its way into each and every game and I hope that “SupaMelvin” leads the charge.
Thanks for reading!
Junior! Just hearing his name evokes all sorts of images and reminders of one of San Diego’s hometown heroes. He was a beloved and favorite son.
I never met Junior, but I’m sure that the term “hero” is probably one that would have made him uncomfortable. From what I have read about him, I think it would be safe to say that his response would be something along the lines of he was just showing his gratitude in his own simple way to a community and fanbase that idolized him when he was just doing his job. A job he loved so very much. A job that, ultimately, once he hung up his cleats, he could not reconcile being away from. It was a fundamental part of him that eventually caused him to take his own life.
May 2, 2012.
A day many Chargers fans would probably prefer not to remember.
As I write this, it is the four-year anniversary of Junior’s death. I vividly recall feeling the utmost shock when my husband told me, “Seau’s dead.” My brain could not fathom that one of THE most vibrant Chargers’ players was gone. He was so young. The circumstances were more mind-boggling when it was reported that he had shot himself in the chest. Later it was announced that he had deliberately done that to make certain his brain could be donated and posthumously examined for CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).
Tiaina Baul “Junior” Seau, Jr. was born in San Diego and played his early football years in Oceanside. He lettered in three sports for the Oceanside Pirates. He accepted a football scholarship to the University of Southern California after graduating from Oceanside High School. Seau was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1989 after totaling 19 sacks and 27 tackles-for-loss as well as receiving All-American honors that year.
It is no wonder that the Bolts took the ferocious, hard-hitting linebacker with the fifth pick in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft. His play was like lightning. One couldn’t help but become engaged while watching Seau blitz the offensive line followed by his signature celebration. Junior would leap up, pump a fist and kick out a leg after dropping a ball carrier or quarterback. How could you not get caught up seeing the ferocity and excitement of Seau over the course of three hours?!
No. 55 brought so much vitality to not only the sport he lived and breathed, but to the people who watched his team because he was one of its stars. He was a very compassionate man who loved giving back to his community and fans. He WAS the San Diego Chargers. HE was the face of the franchise.
He wore lightning bolts on his shoulders from 1990 until 2003. That year, Seau signed with the Miami Dolphins and played there for three years. After Miami let him go, he came home to California.
I remember watching the sports news on August 15, 2006. He had signed a one-day contract with the Chargers. A press conference was held at Chargers Park for all of us to witness Junior’s announcement. The heart and soul of the defense for 13 seasons acknowledged his fellow players, coaches and team management. He stood at the podium, explaining his decision saying, “It’s pretty easy. When a team doesn’t want you or need you, retire, buddy.”, eventually to be followed by the words, “I’m not retiring. I am graduating.” Then he shocked us all four days later by signing a one-year contract with the New England Patriots, stating, “I’m going for my master’s now.”.
There were many honors bestowed upon Seau throughout his stellar 20-year career: 12 times voted to the Pro Bowl; NFL Defensive Player of the year (1992); Walter Payton Man of the Year and AFC Player of the Year (1994); two-time AFC Defensive Player of the Year (1992 and 1998), just to name a few. In 1994, he helped lead San Diego to its lone Super Bowl berth, facing the the San Francisco 49ers. It was a blowout loss. In 2010, he was inducted into Oceanside High School’s Hall of Fame. On September 16, 2012, a mere four months after his death, he was honored by having his jersey No. 55 retired. The white, blue and gold banner with his name and number hangs and flies high above Qualcomm Stadium.
The best was yet to come, however.
August 8, 2015, the final accolade. It was bittersweet to watch as he was posthumously voted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The Bolts’ beloved linebacker finished his career with 1,524 tackles, 56.5 sacks and 18 interceptions.
Perhaps one of the most poignant descriptions of Seau was this one made by former NFL cornerback for the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers Willie Buchanon. He claimed, “Mr. San Diego, Mr. Oceanside, everything that deals with football in this community deals with Junior Seau.” This on the field of Seau’s high school alma mater, when his No. 11 jersey was retired there.
We all miss you, Junior Seau. In our minds, we can see you strumming your ukelele and singing your songs, or being in one of your favorite places, the ocean, riding those sweet waves as you surf to your heart’s content. In our hearts we recall your infectious smile, your enduring friendship, your deep compassion, your profound love of family.
Most of all, we will remember the inspiration that was you.
Rest in peace, buddy!!
Thanks for reading.
Maybe I’m crazy, but it seems like there is a path between Chicago and San Diego when it comes to football and I don’t just mean head-to-head match-ups.
Consider this: Since 2000, there have been three quarterbacks who played for the Bears before coming to the Chargers (Jim Harbaugh and Moses Moreno (1999-2000) followed by Doug Flutie (2001-2004). There was also a defensive tackle in 2011 named Tommie Harris. The year 2000 brought a wide receiver named Curtis Conway, now a studio analyst for the Bolts, who was catching what they threw at him until his 2002 release. Don’t forget that the Chargers had Ron Rivera as their linebackers coach/defensive coordinator during the 2007-2010 seasons. (Yes, that would be the same Rivera who is going to the Super Bowl as head coach of the Carolina Panthers). Ah, what could have been!
The Bears and Chargers have met five times since 1999, with the Monsters of the Midway leading the match-ups 4-1. That sole win, a 14-7 final score, was played in September 2007 at Qualcomm Stadium.
Chicago’s defense sacked Philip Rivers three times and racked up 70 tackles in that game. Do you remember who was the defensive coordinator for Da Bears that day? None other than the Bolts’ new linebackers coach, Bob Babich.
Babich has 33 years of coaching experience, with his first eight having been at the college level. He entered the professional ranks in 2003 as linebackers coach for the St. Louis Rams. The next year, Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith was named head coach of the Chicago Bears and took Babich with him. After coaching linebackers during his first three years, he took over the role of defensive coordinator in February 2007, when the Bears decided not to renew the contract of Ron Rivera. Babich spent three seasons in that capacity, until he was returned to his prior position of linebackers coach from 2010-2012. He then moved on to serve as the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator from 2013 until earlier this month.
Chris Harris recently joined the Bolts defensive staff as an assistant defensive backs coach. Harris is a former safety who played most notably for the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers. In Chicago, Harris was coached by Babich for three seasons (’05-06 and 2010). Chargers coach Mike McCoy was on the offensive side of the ball while Harris was in Carolina.
Harris played for eight years as a safety in the NFL after being selected in the second round (#181) of the 2005 draft by the Bears. His career statistics: 439 tackles (352 solo), 13 forced fumbles, 16 interceptions and one sack. Also known as “Hitman” during his playing days, Harris will most likely be coaching the Bolts’ own “hitman”, Jahleel Adddae.
Harris was an integral part of the Chicago Bears defense which participated in the 2007 Super Bowl against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. He intercepted a deep, third-down pass from Manning, and returned it 6 yards to the Bears’ 35-yard line. Unfortunately Chicago could not convert the pick into points. The campaign saw the Bears defense collect 87 tackles, a sack, defended 14 passes, two fumble recoveries and forcing one. That defense was pretty stout that year with guys like Harris, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Mike Brown, Jerry Azumah and Nathan Vasher implementing Babich’s playbook.
I like these two hires on the defensive side of the ball. I like the experience Babich and Harris both bring. With the teaching that will take place when OTA’s and mini-camp arrive, the Chargers 2016 defense can be what we would all like to see: getting after the passer, stuffing the run, making picks, forcing fumbles – you know, stuff we have seen them do in the past.
I can’t wait to see how the DB’s progress! Bring it on!
Thank you for reading!
During the offseason linebacker Dwight Freeney was released from the San Diego Chargers after two seasons with the team. Today, Freeney officially signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
Freeney’s deal is for the veterans minimum (approx 970k) and has performance-based bonuses. Injuries suffered on the Cardinals defensive line, particularly to their best pass rusher Alex Okafor, necessitated the move. Freeney’s role is described as ‘pass rush specialist’. His single purpose will be rushing the passer and to that end, the Cardinals have added incentives for sacks.
Freeney will make 200k for his first four sacks. For each sack thereafter, Freeney will collect 100k each up to a cap of 12 sacks. If he gets twelve sacks this season, Freeney will gain an extra one million dollars on top of his base salary. Not too shabby.
Even though Freeney did not get a lot of sacks (4) in San Diego, he did rank in the top five in quarterback hurries and pressures last season. At 35 years of age, Chargers GM Tom Telesco chose to go younger instead of keeping the veteran around for his experience and leadership ability.
Thankfully, we can still root for the sure fire Hall-of-Fame selection from afar with his signing to an NFC team. We can even root to see him on the defensive line opposing Philip Rivers. San Diego does not play the Cardinals this season which means the only time that meeting has a chance of happening is in the Super Bowl. Even though there are no Chargers doing spin moves, here’s hoping the young defensive line absorbed what Freeney had to teach and it shines through over time.
Godspeed Mr. Freeney.
The Greg One