Florida has the most lightning related casualties in the United States. You can add the Miami Dolphins fan base to that total after they were fatally struck by lightning in San Diego on Sunday.
The Miami Dolphins have always been a bugaboo for the Chargers, and they absolutely embarrassed us last year by shutting us out on the road. The Chargers limped into that 2014 contest, much as they did this time. However, on Sunday, they came out on top, fielding a lot of backups.
This rivalry has always been a battle between two teams whose players & cities are hungry for the top, reside in tough divisions, have suffered bad breaks, endured bad decisions, had questionable coaches, and have fallen short despite being on the brink of meaningful playoff contention. Yesterday’s game had much less to do with draft order, than it did with team pride.
While most were preoccupied with the fate of the San Diego Chargers, I really just wanted to see them beat the Dolphins. I bought my tickets months ago, before all the media theories & uncertain confirmations that the Chargers were leaving San Diego for Los Angeles. I bought them before we knew that the season was done for, what the scope of injuries was, or about the city’s stadium plan. I just wanted to see the Chargers whoop the Dolphins, and that’s exactly what I got. I am a happy camper.
The Chargers have most definitely been on the receiving end of that butt whoopin’ this season. The Vikings whooped us. The Raiders whooped us. The Chiefs whooped us. The Broncos didn’t score a lot, but they whooped us. So, it was good to whoop the team that whooped us last year, at least. Technically, they still have two teams that they could potentially “whoop back”, and give a farewell punch in the mouth to. I know a lot of fans wouldn’t like that, and there are some that would very much like that.
So, after the hype has died down from what was BY FAR the most energetic Chargers game I have been to in quite some time (from a crowd perspective), I wonder what the fan support will be for the rest of the season? Obviously, I also wanted to go to what could possibly be the last home game at the Murph, or the Q, or whatever else you want to call it. I knew long ago that the Chargers leaving town could be a real possibility. But, after going to the game, walking around, and speaking with the Charger faithful… shaking hands… especially with some of the older crowd who have been loyal for years (and I’m 40, so older…), I was pleasantly reminded that there is a prideful “silent majority” beyond the walls of the internet and the media.
After overblown reports of Charger tickets & gear being sold at an alarming rate on Craigslist, I found no evidence of that claim upon researching. If tickets were sold, it looks like mostly Charger fans bought them on the cheap, which is fine by me. The majority of Miami fans were on their team’s sideline, and it was a sea of Love almost everywhere else. I didn’t see a lot of empty seats, and those that showed up late were fighting for a parking spot. Some even needed police intervention to free up the last spots, after circling the parking lot in a slow moving line. Officers were telling people to pack up there E-Z-Ups & tables to free up spaces. I have seen that before, but it was different this time. Sure, there were quite a few Dolphins fans there, but the Chargers fan base GOT LOUD to cap of the home schedule. I was very proud, as I have been openly critical of this.
It’s really hard to explain the energy at the game. I have been to playoff games where we won, and it was not like this. As I turned each corner, I saw something touching. I halfway expected to see more hateful displays of anger toward the ownership. There were some signs, of course. But, San Diego kept it classy. They had to be escorted from the stadium. Most went peacefully, and except for a couple of skirmishes in the crowd during the game, there was little-to-no hostility to report. I saw a few bitter Miami fans chanting “Los Angeles… Super Chargers” in the parking lot afterward, but that’s about it.
The Chargers were on fire! Danny Woodhead is a madman, plain and simple. Fluker was handling Suh, who had little impact. Inman & Herndon were proving that they belong. Melvin Ingram came alive like a T-Rex should. The defense, special teams, and (dare I say it) the coaching was near impeccable. Donald Brown even had himself a day. Rivers recovering the fumble on his own interception was pretty heads up. Aside from the early exit of Melvin Gordon, who is now on the IR, this was a day to remember. A day that fans should be proud to file away in the annals of Charger history.
The most emotional part of the day was when the crowd gave a heartfelt standing ovation to Rivers, Gates, and Floyd. I am even going to throw Weddle into that, because he had a “send off” moment prior, but I was cheering for all four of them. Weddle even hung around long after the game to sign autographs. I had maintained myself all day, which was tough. But, I will never forget that moment. It was a rough season, but the four horsemen rode together on Sunday. The Rough Riders mounted up for an appreciative San Diego crowd one more time this year.
I want to give a special shout out to the two guys who were cheering on the Chargers on the East side of the Plaza level, and getting the crowd fired up for the ENTIRE game in my section. They showed their Bolts more than anyone I saw… standing on the rails, and getting everyone involved. I hope they see this article, and know that they made a huge impact. We need that kind of energy & excitement at every game, should we continue to have an NFL team.
See you on the open thread on Thursday for Raider week…. Christmas Eve style.
As always…. Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!