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.