A stuffed Bar and Grill in Kansas City brimming with red and gold jerseys watches in anticipation, nails biting, and a once roaring crowd lays dormant. Tie game. Eight seconds remain on the clock and victory is one field goal away for the red and gold. The snap, the kick, the miss.
Air in the room is sucked away and then released in a unison groan. Mugs are slammed on the table and curses are exhaled in disbelief. Amongst the crowd of red and gold raises a fist in triumph from the single jersey in powder blue.
This is what it means to be a Charger fan, experiencing the highs and lows in a game, in a season, and in a lifetime, despite the contrary crowd.
I have been a Charger’s fan my entire life. I was born in California but soon after moved to the orange and blue Colorado where I was forced to wear a Broncos onesie until I was able to dress myself in more appropriate clothes, that not being Broncos attire.
Living in Colorado, and attending College near Kansas City, I have always found myself surrounded and outnumbered by rivaling teams. I am constantly asked “Why on earth are you a Chargers fan?”
To the uninformed eye this isn’t a silly question, even though many of us bolt brothers and sisters see it as such. We have no Super Bowl titles, no blocks of cheese to place on our heads, no state of the art stadium (maybe one day), and no yearly success to easily justify our loyalty.
We can’t say goodbye to a hard season with, “Hey 5 rings baby!” Regardless, there is so much for us to be proud of. There are so many good reasons to bleed lightning bolts. So, for everyone who asks the question, “Why are you a Chargers fan?” consider these highlights, just to mention a few.
The Immaculate Deflection – January 15, 1995
This was the moment that sent the Chargers to their one and only Super Bowl. You could just leave it at that, but you couldn’t have asked for a more memorable way to do it. Dennis Gibson reaches out and tips a pass at the goal line in the last seconds of the game, stopping the Steelers from winning.
The Chargers may have been stomped by the 49ers that Super Bowl, but sleep easy knowing that the Chargers stopped the humble Steelers from potentially achieving an eventual seven Super Bowl titles.
The Great LaDainian Tomlinson – December 28, 2003
If football fans didn’t know Tomlinson yet, they were about to be impressed. Tomlinson rushed for a franchise record setting day of 243 yards against the Raiders. Even though it was the last game of the season, the Chargers left victorious and affirmed that they had someone special on their roster, and now not only the Chargers knew that. The league took note.
LaDainian Tomlinson the Record Breaker – November 19, 2006
Tomlinson scores 100 career touchdowns in fewer games than any other player. As it happens, touchdowns 99, 100, 101, and 102 were against the Broncos. About a month later Tomlinson scores three more touchdowns, again facing the Broncos, giving him the record of 29 total in a season. Players crowd Tomlinson and lift him in the air making for arguably the most iconic moment in Chargers history.
Defeating the Broncos – December 28, 2008
There is nothing sweeter than reminiscing about a time when the Chargers destroyed the Broncos. Winning the game 52-21 the Chargers found themselves playoff bound after starting the season 4-8.
Beating a dead horse – December 12, 2013
I know a lot of these are against the Broncos, but I can’t help that some of the best moment’s happen against the orange and blue.
Peyton Manning, playing with the sniffles, aimed to seal the first round bye with a victory against the Chargers. Not so Fast. Philip Rivers is sniffle-free and ready to play. Rookie Keenan Allen catches two amazing touchdown passes to help deliver a massive upset against the Broncos. For a week my phone didn’t light up with “Cry me a Rivers” texts from my Denver pals.
After that game the Chargers played with extreme vigor helping them win the final two games and send them to the playoffs. Or give credit to the Bolo tie. Take your pick.
Raise the Powder Blue – December 29, 2013
The Chargers beat the Chiefs at home after a missed field goal by the Chiefs sends the game into overtime. Winning 5 of their last 6, Chargers were playoff bound by the skin of their teeth.
The Cincinnati way – January 5, 2014
After going undefeated at home, including a win against the Chargers in the regular season, the Bengals look like a solid Super Bowl contender. Enter the underdog Chargers to wreck shop. After halftime, Bengals looked unrecognizable, and not in a good way. Chargers took advantage with strong defense and good offensive playing calling by Ken Whisenhunt. Welcome back Wiz.
The Chargers may not have any Super Bowl titles, but they do have greatness. Moments that left opposing fans shocked, home crowds cheering, records broken, and bolo ties in fashion.
So if you ever hear someone say “Why are you a Chargers fan?” set them straight.