The Chargers are retreating to the place of their inception after 55 years
When news broke Wednesday night that franchise president and CEO Dean Spanos officially decided to pack up the Chargers and bolt to Los Angeles, it served as the penultimate spit in the face to a fan base which has suffered a series of disrespectful transgressions by the team’s ownership in recent years.
Spanos and Co. have pined for a new stadium for years now, yet their reluctance to provide more options repeatedly pigeonholed the local citizens, the majority of whom refused to be bullied into paying a majority stake in a measure which seemed to be doomed from the start.
Some will try to pin the team’s dissension and subsequent upheaval on the city and even the fans themselves, but those people quite simply are being myopic. The voting measure applied only to those living within city limits, not everyone within the county at-large. Not everyone is a football fan, and even then not every fan would be accepting of a tax hike which could be better utilized elsewhere.
The result has been a bitter and swift divorce for many, which is easily tangible by means of the vitriol being spread through social media.
If it reaches the level of dissatisfaction attained by the prior moves of the Cleveland Browns or Baltimore Colts, that remains to be seen. However, with the team’s social media accounts quickly debuting a new logo and team slogan – an obvious attempt to hastily sweep this dubious period of team history under the rug – people aren’t likely to be singing good graces anytime soon.
It’ll unfortunately sting even more once they are forced to watch the final slight: Their team open up shop in Los Angeles’ StubHub Center, home of Major League Soccer’s L.A. Galaxy, in August to begin its new chapter without them.
Now the Chargers won’t go down as an illustrious franchise, like the Green Pay Packers or New York Giants, but they’re indisputably woven into the fabric of the NFL nonetheless.
A charter member of the AFL and eventually the modern-day NFL, the franchise has hosted its fair share of standout players on the gridiron, most notably quarterbacks Dan Fouts and Philip Rivers, running back LaDainian Tomlinson, receivers Lance Alworth and Charlie Joiner, tight ends Kellen Winslow Sr. and Antonio Gates, and linebacker Junior Seau.
All of those guys are, or eventually will be, in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Chargers also hosted Don Coryell, a longtime head coach of theirs who revolutionized the league’s passing game with his “Air Coryell” offense in the ’70s and ’80s.
The Chargers have a rich history, and it’s one that should be left in San Diego. If the team is truly considering changing its name, it should waste no time in doing so.
Just like the Browns became the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Oilers became the Tennessee Titans, sometimes it’s better to let well enough alone.
Besides, it’s not like people will be welcoming Spanos and the team back if their ill-conceived L.A. fling goes as poorly as many people believe it will. It’d have to be under the direction a new owner, but it’s impossible to predict such developments.
If Spanos can extend any courtesy to the fans he plundered, it should be keeping the fond memories they hold intact until the true Chargers return – if they ever do.
Until then, so long, San Diego.