As the year 2016 comes to a close, so does the NFL regular season. Of course, for the San Diego Chargers, who won’t be participating in the postseason, if could be the end of much more.
There is a very real possibility that the Chargers’ Week 17 game against the Kansas City Chiefs will be the last that they ever play in San Diego. Of course, that will bring about a myriad of feelings and emotions from Chargers fans.
Frustration. Anger. A sense of betrayal. Most of these emotions won’t be good.
However, as we reflect on the history of a franchise that dates back to 1960 and the old AFL, we should look back with fondness and smile.
The team could be playing in Los Angeles next year. It might not even be called the Chargers anymore. But we all remember when fans in Cleveland tore apart the stadium after the Browns left for Baltimore after the last game of the 1995 season. Of course, those fans knew there team was leaving and no one could really blame them for feeling betrayed.
However, instead of acting out, lets remember the Chargers for all the good times.
We remember the Chargers blowing out the Boston Patriots 51-10 at old Balboa Stadium in 1963 to win the AFL title. What about Johnny Unitas and Deacon Jones donning Chargers uniforms? Yes, both players were well past their primes by that point, but the city still got to see two of the greatest players in NFL history suit up for the Chargers.
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We’ll remember Dan Fouts piling up yardage in the offense ran by Don Coryell who was much more famously known as “Air Coryell”. And of course, who can forget that Epic in Miami, a 1981 playoff game against the Miami Dolphins that many historians will tell you was the best game in NFL history?
We’ll remember the 1992 season in which the Chargers started 0-4, only to win 11 of the final 12 games to become the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs after an 0-4 start. Of course, with recently acquired Stan Humphries taking snaps and Bobby Ross as the head coach, this was the start of a good run for the team.
We’ll remember Dennis Gibson knocking down Neil O’Donnell’s pass to Barry Foster on the last play of the 1994 AFC Championship Game to send the Chargers to their one and only Super Bowl appearance.
We’ll remember the brilliant play of linebacker Junior Seau. Is there any player who has ever played on defense that you would have rather had leading the charge? Arguments could be made, but Chargers fans wouldn’t have traded him for the world.
We’ll remember the sweet moves of LaDainian Tomlinson which allowed him to become one of the best running backs in NFL history. We’ll also remember his magical 2006 season in which he scored an NFL record 28 touchdowns.
We’ll remember the competitive, never-say-die attitude of quarterback Philip Rivers, including his gutsy performance in the 2008 AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, in which he played the entire game with a torn ACL.
Recent memories haven’t been as great, but there are hundreds of great ones over the time this team has played in San Diego. If this is truly the end, let’s remember those times.
The Chargers are San Diego’s team. They will always be San Diego’s team.