There’s no other way to say it. As soon as the playoffs started, my attitude was that either this was the year the Chargers finally won the Super Bowl or it wasn’t. There wasn’t any middle ground. The game against the Patriots was so much of an ass kicking that it couldn’t be categorized as a choke. You can say the Bolts once again fell short of a championship. You can connect this season to all the other years that the Bolts were hailed as the best team in football and weren’t standing on the podium at the end. I still remember after we beat the Colts on Sunday night in 2010 reading on ESPN.com that the Chargers were “doing their most dangerous team in the league impression.” Of course, they didn’t even get into the playoffs that year. I remember thinking as I read the article that November how often people hear from all the “experts” about how this is the year for us only for it to fall apart. Obviously, it makes people skeptical and resentful when it seems to happen year after year.
Obviously it doesn’t happen annually any more since we haven’t made the playoffs since 2013. After beating Cincy, we were on a regional SI cover which you see above. Are we in the exact same spot as we were after losing to Denver? I sure hope not. That season probably extended McCoy’s tenure for two additional seasons just like making the playoffs in 2009 got Norv a new deal.
I don’t even subscribe to the magazine any more and I know Rivers hasn’t been on the cover of a national issue. That’s obviously because he hasn’t won a Super Bowl. After last week, losing to the Patriots seems less embarrassing. I saw someone on Twitter ask if KC’s loss was more painful than ours. Would you rather lose a heartbreaker or get blown out? It’s like my favorite line from Cocktail. Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end. I didn’t watch either game last week, but I admit I couldn’t root for KC. I don’t really have much of an opinion on the Super Bowl. Would the Rams winning make it harder for the Chargers to make it in LA? I guess although maybe Dean would follow the Rams’ attempt to go “all in” as they did this offseason. Jalen Ramsey clearly wants to be a Charger. We can debate whether this would be a good thing but right now it’s irrelevant since Tom Telesco hasn’t gone for any kind of “splash” acquisition since Brandon Flowers. That worked out until it didn’t.
Look what I found in the Hulu documentary “Fyre Fraud.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen that shirt. Gotta love the “Mad Happy” hat. I think the Rams winning the Super Bowl would just make me jealous that we didn’t. It would be the same for any team, I know. But watching the Giants and Eagles knock off the Pats in the Super Bowl showcased a gutty team coming together to beat New England and the reminder that the team wasn’t the Chargers.
After the Patriots reached the Super Bowl it seemed like their stomping of the Bolts was less of a fluke. Everybody talked all year about how the Pats were finally vulnerable. The Chargers’ latest loss really had nothing to do with all the other defeats at their hands. I don’t know if Bradley went in to Foxoboro with the same plan he did against the Ravens and the Pats just picked him apart or whether we just went with the best we had. Clearly the injuries to Perryman and Brown, who are both too fragile to be relied on, caused the 7 DB formation in Baltimore somewhat. But the narrative after the Wild Card game was that Bradley’s “insane” formation was what turned the rematch with the Ravens in our favor.
Regardless, we got run over by the Patriots. We couldn’t get any pressure on Brady and hearing Bosa miked up talk about it didn’t make it feel any better after the fact. We couldn’t get much going on the ground and Melvin Gordon wasn’t at his healthiest. But at this point of the year, who is? Todd Gurley was riding a fucking bike in the NFC title game. You can point to the decision to run Gordon on that play against Arizona as a turning point, but I think that’s pushing it. Were the Chargers unprepared, complacent, or outcoached? I don’t think there’s one answer. They were outplayed, that’s for sure.
They won big road games in primetime in the first time in forever. They went from praying for help to get into the playoffs for the millionth time in a row to nailing down a spot with two weeks to go. It was a step in the right direction, that’s for sure. But Rivers by his own admission has a “handful” of seasons left. We’re still stuck with the “Tormented Twelve” who have never won a Super Bowl. It really doesn’t matter who wins the Super Bowl since it once again won’t be us.
Anyway, we’ll talk more after the Super Bowl.