Who is the greatest number 97 in LA Chargers’ history?
Counting today, we are 97 days away from the LA Chargers kicking off Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals. In honor of the 2020 season, we have been counting down the days by looking at the best player to wear every number in team history.
Today, we break down the number 97, which is currently worn by Joey Bosa. If Bosa had worn this number for his entire career then he probably could have a case for being the best 97. However, with Bosa just switching to 97 prior to 2019, he cannot be named the best 97 in team history, at least not yet.
All in all, there have been eight players to wear the number 97 in franchise history. The best number 97 is not as talented as Bosa is, but has the overall numbers and longevity to be named the best number 97 in team history.
The best number 97 in LA Chargers’ history: DT John Parrella
John Parrella played for the LA Chargers from 1994 to 2001 and became a starter for the team in 1997 and held that role until he left the Bolts after the 2001 season.
Parrella was not an amazing player by any means. He never was named to a Pro Bowl team and chances are that a lot of Charger fans probably had forgotten about him until they read this article. However, he was consistent, and that consistency means something.
From 1995 to 2001 he never missed a game and started every single game from 1997 to 2001. He was never an elite pass-rusher, with his career-high sacks being seven, but he was a consistent anchor on the defensive line that helped stuff the run.
From 1996 to 2001, Parrella had 252 solo tackles, which is a decent amount for a defensive tackle. In fact, he had the third-most solo tackles among all defensive tackles in that time frame.
While he was not high up on the leaderboard in sacks, he was fairly high in tackles for loss, because of his contributions to the run defense. Parrella had the 10th-most tackles for loss among all defensive tackles in that span.
Parrella has the 16th-most solo tackles in franchise history and has the third-most tackles for a defensive lineman, behind Lee Williams and Leslie O’Neal.
He finished his career with the Oakland Raiders and has since gotten into coaching. He is currently an assistant defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, which was his first job as a coach in the NFL.
If Joey Bosa stays with the LA Chargers after this season then this honor is his for the taking. However, if Bosa leaves, Parrella will continue to be the best number 97 in franchise history for quite some time.