Currently the Chargers are 4-6. The only team in the AFC West with a losing record as the rest of the division’s clubs all have seven victories. With six games left in the San Diego season the outlook is bleak. In recent years Boltz faithful have been able to weather the storm in these seemingly annual instances. They could do this because of two reasons. Philip Rivers and hope for next season.
San Diego Chargers fans have subsisted on a steady diet of these two things over the seasons. First, great players are often taken for granted but they are always there. Next, sports cliché’s are stale, dry, off the wall and often mystifying yet like great players are there when you need them. Until both are not.
It didn’t matter if the team sucked because they had Rivers to bail them out and keep the team in the hunt. With Rivers and at least one able-bodied receiver the game was still within reach. The team had a shot. With Rivers the team didn’t really lose games, they ran out of time. The fourth quarter belonged to the uber-competitive QB in SoCal. That was then, this is now.
In 2015 Rivers had 13 interceptions. This year he already has 11 to go with 25 sacks. He’s taken around 40 sacks each season for the past five years. It seems the poor offensive line play created by consistently bad moves in the Chargers front office seem to have finally taken their toll on the 34-year-old signal caller.
A Chargers fan could always feel the team was still “close.” Games were competitive and the team was in the hunt at the end of the season. Due to injuries/refs/misc-excuse the team always came up short. That was ok however because “there was always next season.” Until there wasn’t.
The measure to supply the funding for the new stadium did not get enough votes. At this point the team is as likely to leave as stay and the owner has made it abundantly clear he actually prefers to leave. In talking with long time Chargers fans you find they’re numb. Common responses to inquires run along the lines of “Well, it’s almost baseball season, right?” and “You know, I just don’t care. I’ll see how I feel next season but honestly … I just don’t care right now.” If you are a team that ultimately relies on its fan base for existence it certainly seems to me that critical bridges are being burnt. Unless they’re not as critical as we believe them to be. It seems a “next year” in San Diego is anything but a given.
Philip Rivers will always be a stud. I am certain he still has some magic left in him. I am also certain there are more four interception performances like last weeks versus the Dolphins in his future behind an offensive line that is as poorly built as the team is coached and ran.
The NFL front office via Roger Goodell has clearly stated they prefer both the Chargers and the Oakland Raiders to remain where they are. However after years of continuing fan alienation the effect of Television money on the NFL versus the other sports is clear as the income derived from the highly loyal San Diego market seems of little interest to the team’s billionaire owner who is demanding both the NFL and public fund his dream stadium.
In no small part due to the inept machinations of the Chargers front office (bad coaches, personnel) Rivers certainly seems to be on his last legs, albeit earlier than he or the fans would prefer. Rivers combined with the uncertainty of the Chargers actually being in San Diego next season is leaving long time fans looking at the current 4-6 standings and start checking water temp and tide charts. After all, a day on flat water and circling sharks is better than 70 yards rushing, 3 sacks, 4 interceptions and another 2 point loss. The team having a bye this week is probably the best news ‘Boltz fans have had all season.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over