Not Your Father’s Chargers

Aug 2, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Five year old San Diego Chargers fan Ceasar Villa (center) watches Chargers practice through a fence during training camp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Ahhhh.. remember what it was like to be a young Charger fan? Maybe some don’t, but it was an amazing thing! My Dad and I would anxiously await kick-off on Sundays, and sing along to the “Super Chargers” song.. which was pretty new back then, actually (Yep, I’m old). I loved the Chargers, because my Dad loved the Chargers. My Mum loved the Chargers, my brothers loved the Chargers, and we were San Diegans! It was a beautiful time when the late great Chuck Muncie ran like a wild man from the backfield. When Dan Fouts fearlessly slung the rock like an NFL version of Grizzly Adams. When Kellen Winslow & Charlie Joiner were lighting up the scoreboard in the famous Air Coryell era. It was an exciting time for Charger fans, and San Diego.

Well, although I will always have very fond memories of those Chargers… my Father’s Chargers.. these are not your Father’s Chargers. They aren’t even my Chargers. In fact, they are more like your niece’s & nephew’s Chargers… your son’s & daughter’s Chargers. The next generation of Chargers.

On Boltbeat today, while I was commenting back and forth with “High Voltage” (thanks for the inspiration ahead of time, btw), he brought up an excellent point. We were actually disagreeing on the Jammer topic, but he brought up a very interesting observation. He basically said that getting rid of veterans like Jammer leaves nobody who can tell the rookies, and newly signed players what it means to be a Charger. At first, I thought to myself “OK, so we cut Jammer.. so what? There are still veterans on this roster who are Charger lifers, right? There’s Rivers, Gates, Hardwick, Weddle, Floyd, Scifres… and.. and… wait a second! That’s about it. Hmmm”. Never noticed that. I mean I watched our best talent do the “AJ shuffle” out the door, but it just sunk in today.

OK, so there were some Chargers Veterans let go this season. Martin, Garay, Vasquez, Greene, Cason, But, even that isn’t a heck of a lot of players. Furthermore, with exception to Martin & Vasquez, (who were the most talented of the bunch), they all had sub-par seasons last year.. possibly the year before as well. Which leads me to this realization. AJ let a lot of veteran leadership walk out that door, and kept the mediocre players. The only two players I really give him a pass on are Dielman, and McNeill, as that is just football, unfortunately. This is no big epiphany, by all means. However, on top of leaving us with the worst salary cap situation… he left us with no more than a handful of good veteran players that can show these young players what it means to be a Charger. In fact, some of the aforementioned talent isn’t far off of retirement themselves. That makes me a little sad, honestly. This team deserved better than Norv “run it up the gut” Turner, and AJ”show em’ the door” Smith. Not that I think that we should hang onto veterans simply because they are veterans.. because I don’t. But, wow! AJ really stuck it to us, didn’t he?

Anyway, I am not going to sit here, and cry over spilled milk. Every obstacle is an opportunity in disguise. You could also look at it like this. These new players will have a unique opportunity that many don’t. An opportunity to mold this team into something that is theirs. Something that the next generation of Charger fans can be proud of. This team is bursting with youth! Not just on the field, but at the head coach, and GM position. They have a chance to take this team out of the darkness that Norv and AJ left behind. Out of the status quo, the mediocrity, the complacency.. what I call “the chill pill era” of Chargers football. This group still has veteran leadership, whether it has been wearing lightning bolts for long, or not. Players like Double J, Dwight Freeney, and Ronnie Brown will all need to embrace being a Charger. These new rookies need mentoring. They need to step up, and take ownership of THEIR team. They need to redefine what it means “to be a Charger”.

We… and most importantly, the next generation of Charger fans… are counting on them.

Keep Bolting Toward Excellence.

Thanks for reading.

Topics: San Diego Chargers

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  • tubbs45

    The AJ shuffle!!! I envision a spaz-matic dance move equalling a door hitting someone in the ass doing a disco shuffle… Classic! PT thanks for the thoughts!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Quite welcome TB45.

  • tubbs45

    I think the vets are gonna to be fired up and provide the leadership we need #BoltUP mofos!

  • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

    And that is why Weddle stepped up and slapped Keenan allen in the face for rocking that cap.. That is where the fans stepped in and showed Allen the tradition in town

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      What did the five fingers say to the face, Keenan?

      SLAP!

    • http://www.facebook.com/lostkiara Stefanie Smith

      And that is the importance of Veteran leadership. It’s not going to come from the rookies or kids. They don’t have the loyalty to the team or the city or the fans, like the vets do. It will come eventually, but they have to invest in the community like so many of our vets have done–yes, like Jammer. Our vets can teach these kids this. It’s like nails on a blackboard when I hear someone say that T’eo is a leader.. he really doesn’t know what it is yet… hopefully he will.

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        Not trying to beat a dead horse, because I totally feel ya about the veteran leadership thing. But, Jammer has been bad for 3 seasons straight. Not just “having an off season / losing a step” kind of bad… but, getting outplayed kind of bad. Him & Cason were rated among the worst CB tandems in the league in 2012. And, he supposedly had a better year than the last two. I’m not trying to trash the guy, trust me. But, can he really be a leader to these young guys if his play is hurting the team? This new breed of young NFL players are ultra-competitive. I’m not sure they would look up to a guy that wasn’t playing well, even if he was a leader in the locker room. Maybe he can consider becoming a Charger assistant coach of some kind? I would be VERY down for that! Charlie Joiner did it = )

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.mederos.923 David Mederos

    Classic article! Great stuff. I am ready for my kids Chargers to step it up! “KEEP BOLTING TOWARDS EXCELLENCE” LOVE IT!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Thanks David.

  • Dion Chin

    Awesome article. I’ve been a Chargers fan for 20 years and I’m from Toronto. Charger 4 Life! #BOLTUP

    • FitzWilly

      Awesome, a fellow Canuck, just up the road here in Sudbury
      I got 32 years under my belt :)
      Been a long time since I’ve been so excited the season to start. Love the new look/attitude Chargers
      GOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOLTS

      Sorry to hear about your Mayor, Jimmy “Crack” Corn lol

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        32 years here too, Fitzy. Seen a lot of blue and gold water pass under the bridge.. Lol.

        • FitzWilly

          I still remember the game when I became a life-time Bolts Fan
          SD @ SF in san fran
          We won 41-37 in a shoot-out with Joe Montana
          WoW what a Game

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Thanks DC. Not usually one for the fluff articles, but I thought.. Why not? Its offseason.

      • MC Boltman

        haha…but I agree, this “fluff article” is great – cool story! #Charger4Life

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          Thanks, MC. I thought it would be fun to read how everyone became a Charger fan. They come in all shapes, sizes, and ages!

  • Gunnar Martin

    I told you that you were ancient!! Haha

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Hahaha… Yes you did.

  • 1961 Fan

    This franchise is the fault of the Spanos family; they have created an air of losers and making very bad choices when it comes to who will direct the team. If this is a rebuilding year we may not see any improvement for years to come, if at all.
    1960′s Chargers football was where the other teams feared coming to San Diego to get their butts kicked; at least I have those memories!

    • Cgoodness13

      Well John Spanos seems to be a football smart person, grew up training as a VP of football operations I believe, I’m probally going to get a lot of downs for this but I cant wait till he replaces his dad as owner.

      • Gunnar Martin

        Don’t worry, you’re not alone there.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      This is true. Thanks for the comments Pops.

  • Cgoodness13

    I’m a 10 year chargers fan. I’m 18 so don’t hate lol

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Are you really 18 CG13?!!!

      • Gunnar Martin

        Hey I’m 15, but at least I’ve been a Charger for 15 years!

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          Oh… Got it… That explains everything… Lol.

          • Gunnar Martin

            Hahaha

      • Cgoodness13

        Ya, I’m very professional for my age lol.

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          Is that what you tell all the bloggers? I wanna see some ID.

          • Cgoodness13

            Lol here ya go

  • davacho

    great article- to piggy back on what you were saying… we as fans need to define/redefine what it means to be a bolt head fan… get crazy at games, wear our colors with pride and no jumping ship if it goes downhill (doesn’t mean we can’t be frustrated and voice our opinion), but our allegiance does not falter!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Excellent point, Davacho! That’s why I started out with what it meant to me & my family to be a Charger fan. Once the general malaise of the last 6 years has worn off.. the period where we went gradually from 14-2 to 7-9… the stadium should get healthier, as well. I think we will see more support this year, even if we go 7-9 again. The product on the field may be a little tough to watch at times, simply because there is so much new blood out there learning… but, not because the coaching, personel decisions, and general treatment of the fans is awful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lostkiara Stefanie Smith

    Excellent job, Pete. And at least it got you thinking as to the intangibles that the vets do offer, that we cannot get from the rookies or newcomers.

    Granted, TT is the GM and Mike McCoy is the coach, but this is OUR team. They have to prove themselves still. It’s not their team yet… They don’t love the Chargers like we do.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Yes, they most definitely have a lot of hard work to put in, and proving to do. My biggest concern is new guys taking performance enhancers. I was watching NFL Total Access last night, and Irvin from the Seahawks just popped a drug test for illegal substances. They have had 7 cases of this recently, and are starting to get a reputation of being dirty. One thing that they were discussing was that they have 10+ year veterans on the team, and they need to provide the kind of leadership that keeps these young players from doing something stupid like that. You could tell from the reports that Pete Carroll is livid, and isn’t sure why it keeps happening, after all of his preaching. I know that McCoy, Pags, Whisenhunt, and especially Telesco are not goiong to put up with that.. but, it still made me a little nervous, as we have so many young players on the team. Using these illegal substances is starting to become a trend among rookie players.

  • Rob Base

    I remember watching the Bolts as a kid very young. Foutes and Munchie setting club records. I still have all 3 cards of the bruise brothers Gary Big Hands Johnson, Louie Kelcher and Leroy Jones. Watching Joiner and Foutes was exciting! I have Lionel little train James rookie card. I cried when Fouts and Joiner retired. It was great being a kid and watching the Bolts so many many great memories. Getting to watch players like Marion Butts, Means, Martin,Humpries. I was livid when they traded SEAU. The Harrison realese stung too. I could go on for days! I have been a Bolt fan threw the good the bad and uggglllly. The thing I enjoy most is watching the tradition live on with my children! Great article Peter

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Thanks Rob! I almost included Little Train in the article ; )

  • Danish_bolt

    I made this my father’s Chargers! Not a lot of NFL Coverage in Denmark from February to August :(

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