Video: Chargers’ top 5 moments in San Diego
By Travis Wakeman
It’s been over 24 hours since the Chargers announced that they were leaving San Diego and heading to Los Angeles.
In that time, fans of the Chargers have experienced a wide range of emotions from shock to sadness to downright anger. That has been evidenced by those that have turned in their jerseys and thrown eggs at the doors of the team’s headquarters.
It’s hard to care about the NFL for some of these fans, and that’s completely understandable. But for those that are willing to follow the team two hours north or even those who want to take a trip down memory lane and look at a video like the one we’re about to talk about, then Bolt Beat will continue to be there for you.
Shortly after the move was announced, NFL.com released a video which you can view here, counting down the top five moments the Chargers experienced while in San Diego.
We’re going to address each of those moments here. If you don’t agree with the countdown or if you feel there is a moment that was left out, feel free to mention that in the comments section below.
The No. 5 moment came in January 2009 when the Chargers hosted the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Though the Colts had a 12-4 record that season and the Chargers were only 9-7, San Diego won the right to host the game because it won the AFC West division that year while the Colts were a 12-win Wild Card team. Still, no one gave the Chargers much of a chance to knock off the Colts, who had Peyton Manning playing quarterback.
But the Chargers, who also eliminated Indianapolis from the playoffs the year before, struck again.
Darren Sproles, not LaDainian Tomlinson, was the Chargers back that stung the Colts on that day. Sproles rushed for 105 yards and the game-winning score, a 22-yard touchdown run in overtime to put San Diego into the next round. He also caught five passes for 45 yards on the day as San Diego ended Manning’s season for the second year in a row.
In what some fans feel was the greatest game ever played, the Chargers defeated the Miami Dolphins 41-38 in a wild playoff game in January 1982.
This game is remembered for many things, but it was tight end Kellen Winslow’s finest hour. He finished the game with 13 receptions for 166 yards and one touchdown. Dan Fouts passed for 433 yards and three touchdowns on the game. It was a Chargers team that just refused to lose.
Rolf Benirschke kicked five field goals in the game, and his 29-yard field goal in overtime won the game and sent the Chargers to the AFC Championship against the Cincinnati Bengals.
In another game that the Chargers weren’t supposed to win, they went into Three Rivers Stadium and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the AFC Championship and head to their first, and to this point only, Super Bowl.
After a tight one-point win over the Dolphins in the divisional round, the Chargers were expected to be defeated by a Steelers team that was tough at home. However, the Chargers played great defense, allowing just 13 points in the game. Then, Stan Humphries found Tony Martin for a late 43-yard touchdown to put the Chargers ahead to stay. It was Martin’s only catch in the game.
Dennis Gibson knocked down a last-second pass from Neil O’donnell in the end zone to propel the Chargers into Super Bowl XXIX.
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Tomlinson’s 2006 season still ranks among the best the league has ever seen out of one player. That season, he rushed for 1,815 yards and scored a ridiculous 31 touchdowns, which to this day, is still an NFL record.
Fans in San Diego were privileged enough to see that record fall, as Tomlinson had a huge day against the Denver Broncos. The scene in the end zone after Tomlinson scored the record-breaking touchdown before being lifted into the air by his teammates is still one of the most iconic images in Chargers team history.
And it couldn’t happen to a better guy.
Though many current fans weren’t around to see it, the Chargers’ lone claim to a championship came back in 1963, when the team still played in the AFL.
The Chargers went 11-3 that season and won the Western Division, securing a spot in the AFL Championship Game. The Boston Patriots and Buffalo Bills finished the season tied at the top of the Eastern Division, and a tiebreaker game was played between the two. Boston won 26-8.
That set up a title game that would be completely one-sided.
The game took place at old Balboa Stadium and the Chargers routed Boston 51-10. Keith Lincoln stood out for San Diego, rushing for 206 yards to go with 123 more receiving before being named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
To this day, this is the city’s only sports championship.