That’s really all there is at this point. We either start something tomorrow or we’re finished. It’s just that simple. We can look at all the missed opportunities, especially against KC and Houston, but the fact is we’ve got a chance I didn’t think we’d have after that Texans game. Of course, I was most pessimistic about the Chargers winning two straight to finish the season. As I pointed out in the last post, the Rams barely got away with a win last week. Who knows how the Ravens play tomorrow if they had won last week. The media is sorta hyping up the Raiders right now. Forget the bullshit image last seen in the 1980s that they think somehow boosts the NFL brand. I’m sure a lot of people are tried of hearing about the Chargers only to watch us underperform on the big stage. It doesn’t matter if we have a new quarterback or a new coach. We’ll always be the same old Chargers until we aren’t. Winning tomorrow only means we can do something this season. A loss means we didn’t.
I see a lot of people getting ready for the game by asking for other fans’ Charger origin stories. I don’t need to give you mine, FAITHFUL READER. It’s interesting, however, that there really was a time when it just seemed like a matter of time before the Chargers won a Super Bowl. The loss at home in the AFC Championship (our only such opportunity) to the Raiders changed all that. I remember the loss to the Oilers the year before, but didn’t know the backstory about the stolen signals, etc. I watched the game against the Bills the following year, but didn’t really know that Fergeson was hurt. Rich Blake’s book Talking Proud, not only tells the story of that Buffalo team, but was instrumental in my finally finishing and publishing my own book. Honestly, I didn’t really understand how close we were to losing that game, even after the Ron Smith touchdown.
I’ve told the story of how Eric Stangel and I went to see a school production of “Joseph And The Technicolor Dreamcoat” that Sunday only to go back to his house in the middle of the game. What do you want, we were nine fucking years old? However, I do remember crying when it was over and being even more pissed when the Raiders went on to win the Super Bowl that year. We had the homefield in the biggest spot you can have and lost to the fucking Raiders. They were the first Wild Card team to win it all and they bled the clock after we almost came all the way back. For Fouts to have to cheer the defense on to give him one more chance, is the biggest gut punch of all. He never that chance and I still feel like that was the Bolts’ best shot to win it all under Don Coryell.
Forget the Raiders for a second. I plan to. We’ve seen so many teams that have won the Super Bowl since then that you never would have predicted would do so before the playoffs started. The ’05 Steelers, ’06 Colts (yes, I know we paved the way), both Giants teams…Remember the Manning-led Broncos barely getting past Pittsburgh the year they won it all? I watched their first playoff game against the Falcons. I watched the Eagles first playoff game at home against the Falcons. No one thought that team would win the Super Bowl. That’s what makes football so exhilarating…unless you are a Chargers fan.
We’ve had our miracle runs. I still remember listening to Sirius when Denver lost at Buffalo in 2008 and being gobsmacked that we had a chance to get into the playoffs. But even though we destroyed the Broncos to win the division, there was that shoe falling. LT got hurt on a touchdown run and was out for the rest of the way. You could argue that the same thing happened in Indy during the playoffs the year before. When we lost at home to Cincy in 2013, there was no way you could have convinced me that we’d make the playoffs. As you recall, even against KC’s backups that we almost didn’t. We’ve had our little miracle runs but they’ve always ended in a loss. That doesn’t count. I’m not saying that this has to be year, but why the fuck not? Yes, we have Herbert and Staley. But you never know what the future holds, especially when you’ve never won the Super Bowl. Right now, this team is healthy. Of course, the Chargers have a history of guys going out in big games and it always costing us. I still remember Merriman all swollen after the 2010 Jets loss. Can you believe that was the last home playoff game the Chargers have had?
As much as I hate the Raiders, tomorrow has absolutely nothing to do with them or their Roomba of a stadium. We either start something, or we’re finished.
Let’s start something.