The Spanos family takes a lot of heat for the current state of the Los Angeles Chargers. Today we will take a deeper look to see if the criticism is warranted or not.
The hot button in this conversation is obviously the move to L.A. I will take a look at that near the end of the article so our emotions don’t cloud our vision as we look at other issues. But before we get into the discussion, let’s put some facts on the table.
In 1984, Alex Spanos bought 60 percent of the San Diego Chargers from majority owner Eugene Klein. Over the next 10 years, Spanos bought out several small co-owners, bringing his control of the team to 97 percent. In 1994, Dean Spanos became President and CEO of the Chargers and in 2015, John Spanos was named president of football operations and AG Spanos named president of business operations.
The Spanos Family has been in control of the team since 1984. During that 33-year span, the Chargers have won seven AFC West Championships, made eight playoff appearances with a 6-8 playoff record, won one AFC Championship and made one Super Bowl appearance.
In contrast to the Spanos ownership period, in the 15 years in the NFL prior to Spanos being a majority owner, the Chargers won three AFC West Championships, made four playoff appearances and had a 3-4 playoff record.
This is basically a statistical wash. It appears that Spanos being the leader was not any better than the ownership before.
If you look at the Chargers’ overall history, they have enjoyed four eras of ‘glory years’. In between those eras were times of pain and suffering. Here are the eras and some key names from those times. 1960-65: Sid Gilman / Lance Allworth 1979-82: Don Coryell / Dan Fouts/ Kellen Winslow 1992-94: Bobby Ross / Stan Humphries / Natrone Means / Junior Seau / Leslie O’neil 2004-2009: Marty Schottenheimer / Norv Turner / Philip Rivers /Ladainian Tomlinson
A quick look at the data appears to reveal that the Spanos ownership has had little effect on the Chargers success. The team has performed in a cyclical pattern since its beginning and the ownership of the first 24 years appears to have been no better than the ownership of the last 33 years.
Now many of you might be saying, “C’mon Tazz, you are letting these guys off way too easy. They are in charge and everything falls on their shoulders.” I totally agree with that, they are ultimately responsible for everything. But I keep hearing weird accusations toward the Spanos family that are just untrue. So let’s look at these accusations and the things we should blame the Spanos family for and things we shouldn’t.