Farewell Chargers

Farewell Chargers

56 years being in San Diego has come to an end.

It was the 1994 NFL season and the San Diego Chargers were in Pittsburgh at Three Rivers Stadium for the AFC championship title. In the final quarter, quarterback Stan Humphries threw a 44-yard touchdown to wide receiver Tony Martin, making the score 17-13. It then became Steelers ball and former quarterback Neil O’Donnell was at the helm. Leading the Steeler's offense to the red-zone, it was fourth down and they were four points behind. O’Donnell makes a pass attempt to running back Barry Foster as a last effort for the lead. Suddenly, linebacker Dennis Gibson tips the pass, turning over the ball and sealing the game; awarding the Chargers their first Super Bowl ever.

I was five years old when the Chargers made it to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the San Diego Chargers lost to the San Francisco 49ers 49-26 at that Super Bowl and never have been since.

I grew up to be a Chargers fan and I was proud to have them as my team. However, on January 12, 2017, current owner of the Charger’s organization Dean Spanos announced the team will be moving to Los Angeles, joining with the Rams who left St. Louis last year.

The legacy of the Chargers has snapped. For 15 years, Spanos and the Charger’s organization has been trying to get a new stadium agreement. It was met with indifference by the San Diego’s city council, including a failed initiative that was proposed in November’s election ballots. The ballot called for a hotel taxation which would contribute construction for the stadium in the downtown area.

Last year, the NFL gave the Chargers the option to move to L.A. and to share a stadium with the Rams in Inglewood, California, which in my opinion is unpleasing.

The Chargers decided to give another year in San Diego to find a stadium solution. I even wrote an article on how there could’ve been some optimism with the Chargers staying in San Diego for good. The reality of it all is that the Chargers won’t belong to America’s finest city.

It hurts as a Charger's fan and San Diego native to lose this team. I remember current quarterback Philip Rivers and Hall of Famer finalist running back Ladanian Tomlinson were sidelined in the 2007 divisional playoffs against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Back-up quarterback Billy Volek took the reins in the final quarter with eight plays finishing it off with a 1-yard run for a touchdown, taking the Chargers to the AFC championship.The next matchup the Chargers lost to the New England Patriots and was the last time, San Diego was close making it to a championship again. Moments like these is what makes myself and other fans a Charger, it indicated that the Chargers are a caliber team and it represented San Diego, my hometown.

The acutality of this unacceptable transition is that the NFL is still a business. If you did not read the letter of Spanos confirming the move, the main reasons are to move to L.A. is to take over the so-called L.A. market and develop a fan base there. It is insulting to Chargers fans and the city of San Diego. Fans were burning Chargers memorabilia in front of Charger’s Park and Spanos has now become a pariah.

On the business side of this move, the revenue is predicted to be more profitable in L.A. than San Diego, adding to the objective of re-branding the team.

Dean Spanos' decision is for nothing but profit and capitalism in its purity. The Chargers in San Diego was salvageable and Los Angeles does not want the Chargers. Going after this invisible market and non-existent fan base in L.A., I pray for it to backfire.

The Chargers will play temporarily in the Stub-Hub Center in Carson City, where MLS team the L.A. Galaxy play with the seat capacity of 33,000 compared to Qualcomm’s capacity of 70,561.This conspires for another insult to the Charger’s team.

Historically, the Chargers first started in Los Angeles in 1960, but one year later, the Chargers moved to San Diego and developed 56 years of history with the community. Apparently, culture is not dignified to Dean Spanos, who was awarded the Chargers organization by his father Alex Spanos who bought the team in 1984.

Dean has now become a villain to San Diego and I give him a middle-finger salute with his endeavors.

Cover Image Credit: Los Angeles Times

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