With the LA Chargers season long over, and as the AFC Championship game came to an end, the Kansas City Chiefs celebrated their victory in front of 16,993 fans that seemed to somehow look and feel like 40,000, and it really gave me a chance to reflect on how awesome it was that fans were in attendance.
At a time when our personal health choices are in our fore-front, with COVID-19 still a very prominent issue, and the myriad of every-day, every-night proclivities being restricted at best and out-right closed at worst, people were able to see a light in the tunnel. LA Chargers fans were not able to experience that at home last season, and it gave me a chance to reflect on what it is like to be a fan of a team with no true home to call their own.
LA Chargers Situation
The Home Field “Advantage” in San Diego
Just seeing pictures of the LA Chargers’ new stadium, gave more credence to my memories of seeing the San Diego Chargers. In Qualcomm Stadium, with a crowd of some 50,000 Bolt fans including my father and me, we caused three false start penalties in a row against the Carson Palmer-led Cincinnati Bengals team in 2009. Since 2010, it has been a steady decline in fan attendance and not just in the overall number of people there.
Chargers fans have been smaller and smaller in number as the team moved away from San Diego to Los Angeles to play in the Stubhub Center in 2017. The stadium had its name changed to Dignity Health Sports Park in 2018, an arena used to host soccer games with a capacity of 28,000 to 30,000 people, and overall a little comical, in my opinion, in perspective of what the NFL portrays.
Moving on from such a venue has been a subtle relief to many a Bolt fan, as it was already an eyesore that we were being overrun in the latter stages of Qualcomm Stadium’s lifespan. It was a completely different type of embarrassment to be in such a small stadium that STILL was mostly occupied by the away teams traveling fans. Even if the Chargers had to “pay rent” to do so, anything was better than being laughed at in a small house.
The Move to Los Angeles
With the brand new SoFi Stadium finally here, and a brand new phenom quarterback in Justin Herbert on the roster, the stage is set for new LA Chargers fans to be born. This is a great way for current fans to be emboldened and old fans to embrace the exciting future of these Chargers teams to come.
Going through the story is the main part of dealing with most trauma, and Chargers fans around the world know there are major wounds that are still healing over. Painful playoff losses, perception-defying calls, and inescapable luck have plagued the franchise since their existence in the current NFL.
Having only been to one Super Bowl and being demolished by the Steve Young–Jerry Rice led San Francisco 49ers, many have pointed to the ineptitude, misfortune, and outright embarrassing moments of history for the reason Chargers fans have frequented games less often over the last decade. In 2010 the Chargers had the NFL’s top-rated offense and defense and missed the playoffs entirely. There have been plenty of moments when players have let Bolt fans down in excruciating fashion.
Many will also point directly at the Spanos Family as the main culprit in demoralizing the Bolts faithful. The uninspiringly cheap moves in free agency, extraordinary hires and firings of coaches and front office personnel, and the inability to negotiate with the City of San Diego to build an up-to-date stadium are complaints that have floated across comment sections and forums for years.
Still, there are a strong number of vocal, excited, optimistic fans that continue to support the powder blue and yellow, and they have plenty of reasons to be excited about the 2021 NFL season.
Being Excited For The LA Chargers Future
For LA Chargers fans, watching Justin Herbert felt like having a vivid dream where you actually accomplish the goal in the dream and wake up to that feeling of victory fresh in your mind. With the LA Chargers quarterback position being up in the air after the now-retired Philip Rivers departing to the Indianapolis Colts, feeling apprehensive about who our signal-caller was would have been a gross understatement. Watching Herbert run out of the pocket alone was a sight I had previously cringed too, that quickly turned to unadulterated joy for having a mobile strong-armed quarterback utilize his athleticism.
Speaking of athleticism, the LA Chargers defense boasts one of the best groups on paper as far as speed, ability, and performance could go. The problem has been health and recovery. With the recent accident that happened to Tyrod Taylor Week Two against the Chiefs, many have called into question why the Bolts seem to have so many injuries every year. A complete revamp of the medical staff and doctors seems imminent, and most likely necessary, to keep the defensive stars on the field.
Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Kenneth Murray headline a group that, when all together on the field, look like they would dominate most NFL offenses with their speed, versatility, and overall football IQ. Casey Hayward has been a consistent top cornerback in the league since he was signed from the Green Bay Packers before the 2016 NFL season, and the overall unit looks to be a force to be reckoned with this season.
With fans being slowly implemented back into stadiums and sporting events around the league, SoFi Stadium stands as a glorious bastion of sports enjoyment. Untouched by fans due to the recent pandemic, its pristine condition is like looking at the fresh, hot apple pie cooling in the window on a clear September night. Hopefully, on that fresh September evening in Los Angeles, Chargers fans can revel in the fact that we are finally at home.
Thanks for reading my article on how the LA Chargers home field “advantage” finally became possible.
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LA Chargers. LA Chargers. LA Chargers. LA Chargers.