Final goodbye: Bolt Beat staff chooses favorite San Diego Chargers moment
By Matt Pagels
The Chargers are officially headed to Los Angeles, and unfortunately there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Before we move on and continue to follow (or unfollow) the Chargers, the Bolt Beat staff reminisces about their favorite memories when the team was in San Diego.
Gabriel Gross-Sable: “My favorite San Diego Chargers moment was when L.T. broke the single-season touchdown record against Denver. As the fans chanted “L.T.,” he took the handoff from Philip Rivers, bounced it to the outside and barely made it inside the pylon for the score. Everyone on the offense picked him up and he pointed to the crowd to celebrate the memorable moment.”
Tyler Schoon: “In Week 2 of the 2014 season, the San Diego Chargers played host to the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. The previous week, the Chargers lost to the Arizona Cardinals, and the Seahawks throttled the Green Bay Packers. It was a game no one picked us to win, and even Cris Carter of ESPN said that if the Chargers won, he would come on the show and apologize to Philip Rivers and company. The next day, Carter got on camera and said he was sorry.
“Antonio Gates was on fire, nearly topping 100 yards and scoring three times against what was once considered the best defense in football. This was a time when the Chargers not only got the lead, but held onto it. In the blistering heat, our San Diego Chargers got it done on opening day. We won. What makes this my favorite moment, aside from the win, was the fans. All in white, the stadium was full of electric Chargers fans singing the “San Diego Super Chargers” theme song in unison. Nothing but pure joy and optimism for the season ahead. We were a part of that game and felt our roars were contributing in some way. I’ve never seen that stadium so energized since, and unfortunately I will never be able to see it that way again.”
Louis Gorini: “My love for the San Diego Chargers stretches all the way from the beautiful state of New Jersey, where I reside (2,400 miles away). Back in 2008, my now wife surprised me for Christmas with tickets to a San Diego Chargers game. However, it was not just any game, it was the last game of the season against the Denver Broncos. The Chargers were 7-8, while the Broncos were 8-7; the winner of this game would be awarded the AFC West and a trip to the playoffs. To say I was excited would be a gross understatement. My wife and I were supposed to fly out of New Jersey the night before so that we could be in San Diego the morning of game day.
“But tragedy struck; we missed our flight! We scurried to find a contingency plan during the most difficult time to travel, the holiday season. We discovered a flight that would take us to San Diego the morning of game day and we would touch down an hour and half before kickoff. Only problem: The flight took off out of New York! I had my dad pick my wife and I up from the New Jersey airport and drop us off at the New York airport where we slept overnight for our flight. We landed in San Diego, dropped our luggage right off at the hotel and then took the train to the game where we watched the Chargers destroy cry baby Jay Cutler and the Denver Broncos, 52-21. Those 48 hours were an emotional roller coaster. We stayed out in San Diego and returned back to New Jersey the day the Chargers played the Colts in the playoffs. As soon as our plain landed in New Jersey, my wife and I went to a bar where all of my friends were to watch the Chargers upset the Colts. There was no greater feeling than these 10 days. I was so euphoric and thought this was a team of destiny. The Chargers moving to L.A. will never take this memory away from me.”
Joel Garcia: “My favorite San Diego Chargers moment involves one of my all-time favorite players, the great Darren Sproles. The Chargers drafted Sproles in 2005 from Kansas State, where he still holds the school’s rushing record. During his five years with the Chargers, Sproles mainly backed up the great L.T. but got to do some damage during the 2009 AFC Wild Card Playoffs.
“In that game, L.T. was hampered by injuries so Sproles took over the lead back position. Sproles bolted the Chargers to the next round by scurrying for 22 yards and sinking the Colts, who were then led by Peyton Manning. The fact that Sproles is still the only player in NFL history to return a kickoff and a punt for his first two career touchdowns with the Chargers is a testament to his field abilities. That’s what made Sproles such a threat, his ability to run and catch the ball from the backfield, and especially his elusiveness as a special teams returner.”
Derek Anselmo: “Whether the Chargers would go to L.A. or stay has officially ended, leaving many fans like myself devastated and heartbroken. It’s really hard to believe it’s officially over. Unlike many fans in S.D., I will continue to root this team on. A vastly unpopular decision right now, but I can’t pretend that my love and passion for this team isn’t there. In honor of the San Diego Chargers, my single most favorite moment in San Diego Chargers history was on Dec.10, 2006, when L.T. broke the single-season TD record. I can watch that “50 power” run bounced out by L.T. for the record on an endless loop with no problem. It couldn’t have happened to a better man, and he brought history to this city.
“Also, one memory of this team I will never forget happened this year when I traveled to watch the boys play in Atlanta. Just as Chargers fans were on the brink of losing hope for the playoffs, they beat the Broncos on Thursday night and had to play the Falcons in Atlanta the week after. That Atlanta game was an absolute roller-coaster ride that turned out to be one of the best games I have ever attended. The Chargers will always be my team no matter what. As many, I am deeply heartbroken by the decision to move up north, but this team is a part of me; I can’t just let it go. Farewell to the San Diego Chargers, and (sadly) hello Los Angeles Chargers. Bolt up.”
Nick Mansoor: “My favorite San Diego Chargers memory.. I’ve had so many! L.T. breaking the single-season touchdown record, Darren Sproles going off against (Peyton) Manning and the Colts to kill there playoff hopes, L.T. and Michael Turner shredding the Broncos’ defense in a rival divisional game a few years ago. But my favorite memory goes back 12 years ago, specifically Nov. 27, 2005, against the Washington Redskins. I was sitting in the back of my dad’s grocery store at the time with my little brother and we were listening to the game over the radio. Yup, Josh Lewin and Hank Bauer style. This game didn’t have much meaning to it. It was Week 11, Philip Rivers wasn’t even our quarterback and we were on the brink of attempting to make the playoffs against a 5-6 Redskins team that needed to win to keep there playoff hopes alive.
“This game was absolute TRASH in the passing game. Complete garbage. (Drew) Brees threw three interceptions, nobody on offense seemed to want to catch the ball, just a bunch of easy drops all game long and just pure disappointment all game long. The only bright spot was LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers were down by 10 points going into the fourth quarter, and we were able to get into field goal range to make it a one-score game. L.T. broke off a 30-yard touchdown to tie the game up at 17-17 and set up overtime. My brother and I WENT NUTS after the game tying TD. We were cheering after such a terrible showing all game long. Overtime had started, and the Chargers got the ball at the 35 and were able to move into Washington territory that play, landing on the 41. AND BOOM: Tomlinson breaks loose for a 41-yard touchdown the very next play. Game Over. My brother and I RAN to the front of the store cheering, yelling, “They won Dad, they won!!! L.T. scored in Overtime!” We were so happy, jumping in front of customers, and my dad couldn’t help but laugh because he was helping someone. Probably the best Chargers memory for an 11-year old boy.”
Travis Wakeman: “Since I’m not necessarily a Chargers “fan”, I can’t chime in on too many personal memories. As an NFL fan, the one that sticks out the most is LaDainian Tomlinson’s 2006 season. L.T. is my favorite Chargers player ever, mainly because he was such a big part of many of my fantasy football teams, but that season was so special. With 2,323 all-purpose yards and 31 total touchdowns, I have no problem arguing that it was the best individual season the NFL has ever seen. But the best part? The class with which Tomlinson did all of that.”
Matt Pagels: “Oh this team. So many happy memories, so many frustrating ones. I’ve had verbal (and almost physical) arguments defending my team and experienced both happiness and sadness since 2001-02 when I claimed them as my “favorite team.” All in all, I love the Chargers, and it’s tough seeing them leave San Diego (even as a fan who’s from New Jersey). There are so many memories and moments I can think of, from when I saw my first Chargers game in Jacksonville against the Jaguars on Dec. 5, 2011, to watching LaDainian Tomlinson setting the single-season touchdown record, to watching Darren Sproles lead an underdog Chargers team past the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs, to Philip Rivers courageously playing on a torn ACL in the AFC Championship game, to Eric Weddle smartly overruling a playcall on fourth down, which in turn led the Chargers past the Chiefs in OT and ultimately into the playoffs, to Antonio Gates tying Tony Gonzalez for most touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history.
“Every one of those moments were electrifying, but the 2008 season was a year flowing with emotion. The Chargers were 4-8 with four games remaining, and making the playoffs was near impossible. The Chargers needed to win out and the Broncos, who were in first place at the time, needed to lose out. What happened? Well, the Chargers took down the Raiders, Chiefs and Buccaneers before hosting the Broncos, who happened to lose two straight games, in the season finale. The winner would claim the AFC West title and move on, and the Chargers did just that by destroying the Broncos 52-21. It was a miracle, and what a postseason that was!”
Please let us know your favorite moment/memory in the comment section!