Hello, my name is Louis Gorini, and I am a San Diego Chargers fan.
Well… I think I am. I know I was a huge fan at one point. Don’t believe me? I currently live in New Jersey surrounded by family and friends who are Giants and Jets fans that ridicule me all the time. When I was 12 years old, I remember crying at my grandfather’s house in Staten Island as I watched the San Francisco 49ers manhandle Stan Humphries and my beloved Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX.
I wiped away the tears with my Junior Seau jersey sleeve and forged on with my obsession with the Chargers. I still go to at least one game per year. Heck, I even gotten engaged in San Diego and still managed to see a game during our engagement. If I sound embarrassed of my fandom with the Chargers, it’s because I am a little.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride to say the least. San Diego went from overachievers during that 1994 season, to a mediocre period, followed by the ugly years, then a return to relevance, and finalized by moments of underachieving. And I thought to myself why, why are they so inconsistent? My knee-jerk reaction was to blame the players. They are the ones that are on the field. Then I had an epiphany and shifted the fault to the coaches. Damn, “Marty ball” was too conservative, and Norv was just being Norv, right? But now I get it. I finally understand why the Chargers never have had sustained success and probably never will either.
Their front office has been a plague to the franchise. When I talk about the front office, I am including both the owners, the Spanos family and the general managers. They have constantly conducted business in a half-ass manner. I am not talking about selecting Ryan Leaf in a draft, or signing David Boston to a horrible free-agency deal. Hey, that stuff happens to the best of them.
I am talking about firing Marty Schottenheimer, a coach who won over the players in the locker room and the fans of San Diego. A coach who went 14-2 and was rewarded with a pink slip because former general manager A.J. Smith felt threatened by the power of his coach. And who did Smith replace Schottenheimer with? Norv Turner, a guy who proved time in and time out that he was nothing more than a glorified offensive coordinator and a pedestrian coach. After countless years of slow starts and mediocre finishes with a team that was perceived to have the best talent in the league, Turner was finally relieved of his duties; perhaps a year to late.
You know who was also fired that year as well?
Nov 22, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Former San Diego Chargers running back Ladainian Tomlinson wipes away tears during his Charger Hall of Fame introduction during halftime of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
A.J. Smith. The same A.J. Smith who allowed LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, Vincent Jackson and Darren Sproles leave the team without finding adequate replacements. He is the guy who publicly mocked Tomlinson about his desire to stay with the team that drafted him. That was Smith for you, a hard-nosed, tough-as-nails general manager. His headstrong approach caused distractions for the team because he always alienated the players, whether it was the rookies who held out (Philip Rivers and Shawne Merriman), or player contract disputes (Vincent Jackson).
Chargers owner Dean Spanos replaced Smith with current GM Tom Telesco. Telesco’s first task was to find a new head coach. The Chargers passed up on Bruce Arians, who was extremely interested in working with Philip Rivers and company, and decided to hire Mike McCoy. So far, that seems to have been a big mistake. While McCoy is regressing as a coach, Arians is flourishing down in Arizona.
Telesco hasn’t had any luck either when it comes to player acquisitions. He is unable to attract big-time talent and ran out another Charger great, Eric Weddle. And oh yeah, have you heard about Joey Bosa, the guy they fell in love with back in September 2015 and absolutely had to have him? It was a ‘no-brainer,’ Telesco said. So why are they nickel-and-diming him over something so trivial as offset language and bonus deferment? He is contradicting himself.
If they fell in love with Bosa from day one, then why are they putting these stipulations in his contract? It sounds like Telesco is trying to protect himself in case Bosa is a bust. These mishaps couldn’t have happen at a worse time. The Chargers need the people of San Diego to support them this November in their push for a new stadium in San Diego.
But why would fans continue to support this incompetence from the Chargers management? A front office that is known for rookie holdouts, messy breakups with their great players, untimely coaching terminations and bad coaching hires. They have wasted the talents of Rivers, Weddle and other Chargers greats with these distractions. And if the fans of San Diego don’t back Spanos and this circus, then the Chargers are Los Angeles-bound, which would be such a Charger thing to do. They would show up to the party a year late and become second fiddle to the Los Angeles Rams, who will have a stranglehold of the market in L.A.
Mar 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of Los Angeles Rams and San Diego Chargers helmets and the Olympic torch at the peristyle end of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Coliseum will serve as the temporary home of the Rams after NFL owners voted 30-2 to allow Rams owner Stan Kroenke (not pictured) to relocate the franchise for the 2016 season. Chargers owner Dean Spanos (not pictured) has an option to join the Rams in Los Angeles. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
It has been real hard to be a Chargers fan lately. This is the first time I am questioning my fandom for the team that I love. They make the easy things so hard. Right now, Rivers is currently signed through 2019, and so am I as a San Diego fan.
But like Rivers, both of us have no idea if we will be supporting the Chargers come 2020.