It’s finally here! I’m not talking about Christmas… Merry Christmas from all of us at Bolt Beat, by the way… I’m talking about the Thursday Night Football showdown between the Chargers & the Raiders at the “black hole”! Get ready for Darth Vader Clause, and a ton of other horrid troll outfits, while watching an actual NFL game being played on a mostly patchwork, and dirt field where everyone can get injured. Yay!
The Chargers were absolutely manhandled by the Black & Silver earlier this season. It wasn’t even close. By halftime, the Raiders had laid a beat-down of epic proportions on the banged up Chargers on their home field. Saying “home field” is technically a false statement, as the Charger fan base allowed the Raider fan base to completely take over their stadium, in shameful fashion. I’d like to say it was about the Chargers leaving San Diego, but I have attended many Raiders games, and have been seeing this trend for years. Admittedly, I did not attend the game in question, and am as much to blame. A lot of fans avoid Raider week… even season ticket holders.
The Raiders were 2-3 entering that contest, and coming off of a bye week. They have only won 3 games since then. They have beaten the Jets, Tennessee, and managed to upset Denver IN Denver! Despite getting trounced by the Chiefs at home the previous week, that has to count for something right? Unfortunately, they followed it up by getting spanked by the Packers last week.
So, where are the Chargers, except in the hunt for a top ten pick? Well, quite honestly, they aren’t anywhere. They are in no man’s land. Most of the players are going to fight to win, like they always do. There aren’t any home games left. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. If they play to win, there are going to be fans who are upset about draft position, and wondering where this team was when it counted. If they lose, they have to go home knowing that the 6-8 Raiders swept them this season, and have to double-bag themselves on the trip home.
All without knowing that the fate of their team… and possibly even OWNERSHIP (according to recent reports) might be in question. Some players will be retiring, some may be moving on. But, my heart goes out to the guys that are staying. The guys that are new, and still playing with intensity. The guys who keep bolting toward excellence. Pretty sure that Danny Woodhead isn’t down for the tank, if you catch my drift. Perryman.. Attouchu.. Te’O.. Verrett.. Fluker.. Ingram.. Rivers.. and pretty much the whole team… not DFT,
The Chargers are coming off of arguably the most emotional victory in their history. What appeared to be a “just in case… but, probably” uncertain home field send off. The team may be leaving. They were mathematically eliminated from contention early for the first time in years. They just said Aloha to some of the players that they have loved for years, and who have been staples of the team. So many questions surround the future of the team, and new theories arise each week. How do you focus on your performance when you could be relocating your family next season?
I don’t care how much money you make, I can only imagine what it must be like for their families. I get that NFL players & families signed on for this. This is the norm. But, for all the money, it isn’t an easy life. Just ask #55’s family. Just ask anyone who dedicates their life to football. I particularly want to give a shout out to the strong women who make sure that children are clothed & in school each week, and the family that answer the tough questions when they arise. The Grandparents, the Baby Mamas, the Aunts & Uncles. I’m certain they often celebrate birthdays via Skype. They grit their teeth every time the ball is snapped, still cheer when their loved one makes a solid play, and still clap when they miss a tackle. They pray when they see them go down, which is definitely the Charger way these days. Thank you.
I hope the team wins today, and makes it through that awful place injury free. I hope we see some quality play. I hope that when these players get off the plane, or the bus, or whatever… that they have someone there who hugs them tight, wishes them a Merry Christmas, and congratulates them on the win. If they lose, I hope that that the kiss is deep. If there’s nobody there to greet a man… I hope that a city will. Just know that we all have mad respect for you.
Much Love & Respect to all my Charger family. Enjoy the game, your Christmas Eve, and the thread.