Morning Dump

By Ernie Padaon

That was a good football weekend! Both games were decided at the end with a couple of teams shooting themselves in the foot. Billy Cundiff, Lee Evans and Kyle Williams all hate LIFE today!

But there’s no doubting his grit or his gravitas now, not even in the San Diego he once spurned. For the spoiled child who belonged to the Chargers for 45 awkward minutes on April 24, 2004, has since grown into an athlete of style and substance and, Sunday night, into his second Super Bowl.

Three community-minded NFL players will be recognized during Super Bowl week as finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, it was announced Sunday. Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens, Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers and Charles Tillman of the Chicago Bears are the top candidates for this year’s award, named for the legendary Bears running back who died in 1999.

San Diego was tied for 23rd in the NFL with 32 sacks as a team during the 2011 season. An inability to put pressure on quarterbacks adds to the difficulty of coming up with stops as a team. San Diego has the 18th pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft, and here is a list of reasons why they should draft a pass rusher in the first round.

The decisions now being made about the future of San Diego will help define our city and region for many decades to come. It is imperative that we think about these decisions collectively, not incrementally. With that belief as our starting point, and after weeks of interviews and discussions with key players and other reporting, U-T San Diego has concluded that the community is on the brink of making big mistakes on both the Chargers stadium and Convention Center fronts.

The NFL announced some changes to the AFC Pro Bowl roster on Sunday, as players on the Patriots will be unavailable to play in the game on Jan. 29.