Chargers History: From Unitas to Lowery, Bolts and Colts…lots of history here
By John Burress
September 30, 1973, Johnny Unitas backpedals and fires a strike to Mike Garrett. When Garrett scores, Unitas goes over 40,000 yards. He becomes the first quarterback in NFL history to do so. What’s the big deal, not a Colt, he was a Charger when this happened…and obviously, so was Mike Garrett.
During the late 50’s and most of the 60’s, football fans would call Baltimore Colts QB Johnny Unitas the best at his position in the game. He had one year with the Chargers, 1973. During that year, a young Dan Fouts learned everything he could from the great veteran. Fouts was discussing what he learned from Unitas on air one time and mentioned that the great Johnny U mainly watched the safeties pre-snap and during his drop. That would determine where he’d throw the ball. Fouts learned the lesson and became the third quarterback to go over 40,000 yards (Fran Tarkenton was the second).
More recently, Tony Dungy described it best. From about 2004-2009, it seemed like the Bolts and Colts were always winning their divisions. Since division winners always play each other during the next regular season in conference play, the Chargers would wind up playing the Colts during the season and often in the playoffs. Dungy said “Playing the Chargers feels like a division game, seems we always play them twice a year”. It sure felt like that. The interesting part is that the Chargers had a great post-season record against the Colts. Couldn’t beat the Jets, Patriots or Steelers during this time but we could handle the Colts and Titans (also a solid AFC team during this time.).
Feb 25, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Speaking of ex-Colts… Tom Telesco…it’s still early but he’s looking like GM of the year. With all the injuries and outside pressure to start over, he kept our existing offensive line together with just a couple of additions, Matt Slauson, Max Tuerk, and Spencer Pulley. Playing well, YEAH. Pulley?? Undrafted out of Vanderbilt and getting significant playing time on a very good line. Need more evidence of Telesco’s effectiveness? Outside of Joey Bosa, how are his draft picks doing? Have you watched Hunter Henry block, Melvin Gordon run, orKyle Emanuel set the edge? How about Jatavis Brown’s, Manti Teo’s, and Denzel Perryman’s linebacker play, except for the last quarter of the KC game?
Free agents? Casey Hayward, Brandon Flowers, Dwight Lowery, Slauson, Brandon Mebane, Joe Barksdale and Travis Benjamin. And who’s this guy Caraun Reid with a sack and a handful of QB pressures? Even Canadians!!! Dontrelle Inman, Dexter McCoil, wow. Now Dexter McCluster… seems like a good idea since he spent one season with Ken Whisenhunt already in Tennessee.
Considering all the injuries, it’s impressive to watch Tom work!
I know I left a few off the list but it seems he and his staff are doing one heck of a job. Still early but I sure like what I see.