These are my top 5 favorite San Diego Chargers of all time. Just my opinion, and given that I grew up a Wide Receiver there are 2 of them that made my top 5! Let me know who your top 5 are in a comment below as I would love to hear everyone’s input!
#5: Gill Byrd – Defensive Back
Byrd played 10 seasons with the Bolts and totaled 42 interceptions throughout his career, returning 2 for touchdowns. He had at least 1 interception in every season on the roster and was a leader for our pass defense throughout his whole career.
Bolt Records: Most career INT’s – 42
Most career INT return yards – 546
#4: Charlie Joiner – Wide Receiver
Charlie Joiner was in the right place at the right time, and possessed the talent to take full advantage of it. What do I mean by the right place at the right time? He was on roster with 2 other fellow Chargers hall of famers, Kellen Winslow and Dan Fouts. Joiner thrived in a pass happy offense and broke multiple NFL receiving records.
Most career receptions: 586
#3: Ladainian Tomlinson – Running Back
Who could deny Tomlinson the right to be in the top 5? Not me! Tomlinson won games almost single handedly for us throughout his career and was a complete workhorse for 9 seasons. He has become perhaps the most widely known and legendary Charger of all time since being drafted in 2001 with the 5th overall selection. Not enough could be said about this guy. He has great character, diversity, leadership, talent, drive, passion, and most of all the ability to change games.
Most point in season: 186
Most career td’s:153
Most td’s in season: 31
Most td’s in consecutive games: 18
Most seasons leading NFL rushing: 2
Most career rush yds: 12490
Most rush yds in season: 1815
Most rush yds in game: 243
Most seasons leading NFL rush td’s: 3
Most career rush td’s: 138
Most season rush td’s: 28
Most rush td’s in game: 4
Most career rush attempts: 2880
Most season rush attempts: 372
Most attempts in game: 39
Most receptions in season: 100
#2: Lance Alworth – Wide Receiver
Nicknamed Bambi and is the most famous Wide Receiver in San Diego history. Lance Alworth was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame and holds multiple records with the Chargers. If you ever watched highlights of Alworth receiving you know exactly how he earned his nickname. He possessed a combination of speed, agility, and the ability to leap over defenders therefore leading him to the name “Bambi”. He was a member of the 1963 Chargers club that won the AFL Championship over the Boston Patriots.
Most seasons leading league total td’s: 3
Most seasons leading league rec yds: 3
Most career rec yds: 9584
Most season rec yds: 1602
Average yds per catch (min=250 catches): 19.4
Most seasons leading league receptions: 3
Most consecutive games with catch: 96
Most seasons leading league rec td’s: 3
Most career rec td’s: 81
Most consecutive games with td: 9 (tied with Antonio Gates)
#1: Don Coryell – Coach – Innovator – Genius
Okay so this might not be a position player, but I will make a case that he had more influence in our offense than any other person in Chargers history. Not only did he make a presence throughout the span of his own career, “Air Coryell” forever changed the way the passing game has been used ever since he brought it in. Hired officially as head coach of the San Diego Chargers in 1978, Don Coryell brought a passion, a temper, an edge, and a new form of passing to the club. Using his new system nicknamed “Air Coryell” the San Diego Chargers led the league in passing yards for 6 consecutive seasons and led the league in total offensive yards for 3 of those seasons. He had a win percentage of .545 and led the Bolts to multiple division titles and post-seasons.
So what was it that made his offense so successful? “Coryell offense” was the starting point for what is today known as the West Coast offense. The idea behind “Air Coryell” is to be able to have a quarterback with a cannon for an arm and a couple of receivers with the speed and agility to burn defenders and get open for the deep ball. By stretching out the field this way it opens up the inside running game as well as the ability to get the tight end and slot receivers open across the middle. Don Coryell was a leader, a former collegiate athlete, a dedicated coach, and was crazy enough to leave a permanent mark in NFL history!