In 2002, when this plaque was placed in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, I firmly believed that the Chargers would one day win the Super Bowl because they deserved it. They certainly didn’t deserve it that year, but I felt like we were “the good guys” and would somehow get that trophy. But now I feel differently. More than ever, I feel like there are hardcore Boltheads who want more than anything for that ONE MAGICAL SEASON. But Dean Spanos has drained the passion from the fanbase. It goes way beyond the stadium issue. It’s the way he’s handled it, or not handled it, actually.
It’s beyond Mike McCoy, but that’s another big symptom of the systemic failure that is his ownership. Why is McCoy still here? Dean waits until after the season to address such matters because that’s not how he “does business,” we’re told. But the way he does business never works. I firmly believe that another coach could have gotten at least two more wins out of this team. Like many of you, I saw the loss at Cleveland coming a mile away. I wrote last week that losing was the outcome they deserved. If that was the humiliation for Dean to see what everyone else saw over a year ago, so be it. But even if they fire McCoy, how confident are you that the next guy will be much better? The criteria for coaches seem to be affordability and to be willing to not really have any authority. What kind of coach will take that job? The instability with where the team will be playing in the future isn’t going to attract a high quality candidate either. I don’t want to hear any more about Rivers being a drawing card, either. He looks as flawed as he was when McCoy got there, if not more. I’ve spent countless pages defending Phil, but he needs to be kept in check. But when you don’t put a working offense around him, he’s going to revert back to those bad habits. I’m happy to see him throw the ball away rather than into the opposing team’s hands, but I’m tired of seeing him struggle to get outside the tackle box to do it. That safety in Carolina was almost as bad as his interception in Chicago in 2012 when he was trying to throw it away.
His fumbles against New Orleans and Oakland were season changers, but Melvin Gordon deserved his 1,000 yards. He singlehandedly won that Tennessee game. But no one needs him getting hurt for 3 yards. Bosa has been everything we could have hoped for, but he’s also going out a loser this year. Melvin Ingram still can’t bring guys down. In fact, he almost lost the BROWNS BACKUP QB last week. Corey Liuget is a complete bust. His stats compared to his salary is mind-blowing. The one place that health hasn’t been a factor is the offensive line and they’ve been the worst of all. I don’t care if Joe Barksdale has three years left on his deal, he sucks. Franklin has been abysmal when healthy and Fluker hasn’t been much better. I saw someone point out that the 2013 draft class could soon only have Keenan Allen left.
Marcus Peters may be a bum, but Allen and his million dollar grills needs to stay healthy before he can talk. Sadly, the reason Allen was even available for the Chargers to “steal” was his injury history at Cal. What am I trying to say with all my complaining? The coach we have sucks but I can’t be confident they will get a real replacement. The players we’ve got are (besides the scrubs who have filled in admirably) underachieving but they would probably play better elsewhere. That also says a lot about the lack of coaching. The gutless losers that stand on the Charger sideline are a reflection of the people hiring them. This was the first year I really joined the disenchanted masses who believe that Dean doesn’t really want to win. I think he’d like it, but won’t make the decisions that would lead to it. If he stays afloat financially from the team, which I think is his only real source of income, he’s okay. That sucks and the fans that are left deserve way better.
I understand fans that want the Chargers to stay no matter how badly they treat them. But I more sympathize with those who are calling Dean on his bluff. Either go or don’t. But stop using LA as leverage without being willing to work on a real solution to stay. As Kevin Acee pointed out, if Dean actually felt like a 50 percent vote would be a sign for him to remain in San Diego then he should have said so beforehand. Who knows if that’s actually true, but he hasn’t made a public commitment to staying when it would have made a world of difference to so many.
So the Chargers play another meaningless game on Sunday. At least if they lose they will not only help their draft position but probably make it harder for the Raiders to get out of the first round. Of course, we couldn’t sign our draft pick last year until it was too late and we’ve gotten booted from the first round with 12, 13, and 14 win teams. No one remembers that when they fondly recall Marty Schottenhiemer. I know you do, FAITHFUL READER, but you know what I mean.
Since the Chargers started sitting on a lead at Kansas City, this year has become one long drain. Mercifully, it will come to an end Sunday. All I can hope for what happens next is that it’s an actual fresh start. No one needs another season-long hangover.
That’s all for now. I’ll talk to you in 2017. This installment of JIC goes out to the memories of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.