Chargers ready for the fight for LA

Dontrelle Inman and the Chargers will be playing football in Los Angeles. Photo by Jevon Moore/News4usonline.com

Just like that, Los Angeles has two NFL teams. Just like that, the name in front of the Chargers went from San Diego to Los Angeles. And just like that, the Chargers, if you view their new temp website and caught wind that the team have hired their new head coach, are already full steam ahead in making the transition swift and complete.

After 56 years of loyalty to the San Diego market, change has come knocking at the Chargers doorstep. The team isn’t wasting time anymore in determining its future. There are no more ballot initiatives to go before voters. There is no more logistics wrangling with San Diego city officials. There is no more public plea for a new stadium to be built.

Like the logo moniker on the side of their helmets, the Chargers are moving at warp speed to get their house in order. We saw that in the swift termination of Mike McCoy as head coach right after the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs. NFL fans got another taste of it when Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos announced that the franchise was packing up and moving north to Los Angeles.

Melvin Gordon is the Chargers first round draft pick. Photo by Jevone Moore/News4usonline.com

“San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity and, my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years,” said Spanos in a written statement posted to Chargers.com. “But, today we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers,” said Spanos. “L.A. is a remarkable place, and while we played our first season there in 1960 and have had fans there ever since, our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do. We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans.  We must get back to winning. And we must make a meaningful contribution, not just on the field, but off the field as a leader and champion for the community.”

“The Chargers are determined to fight for LA and we are excited to get started,” he concluded.

The Chargers got things started by going outside of the box and hiring former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn as their new head coach. New location. New coach. The 800-pound elephant in the room is will the Chargers now go after a young stud at quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft to back up Philip Rivers until the team make their grand entrance to their final resting nest in Inglewood in 2019?

Jared Goff was taken by the Los Angeles Rams with the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman

The Los Angeles Rams don’t have to worry about that problem. They picked quarterback Jared Goff as the top draft pick last year. They now have a head coach almost as young as Goff in Sean McVay, who is tendering at the age of 30. It’s bold move. But for the Rams, a year coming off of leaving St. Louis to bask back in the glory of the SoCal market after vacating the scene in 1994, desperate times require drastic action.

Obviously, the Rams are banking on the fact that with a franchise quarterback in Goff, a new bright mind at the head coaching position will usher in longtime stability as the team embark on their new stadium journey, which they will share with the Chargers two years from now. So there you have it.

Rams. Chargers. Chargers. Rams. Take your pick. One team will be playing in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The other will take on the soccer fields at StubHub Center in the city of Carson. For the next two seasons, the Rams and the Chargers will find themselves dueling for the affection of Southern California football fans. The Rams got a jump on their AFC counterparts by snuggling into the Coliseum last season, a year in which they bumbled their way to a 4-12 record.

It was a tough day at the office for San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who endured through four interceptions in the Chargers’ 31-24 loss at home to the Miami Dolphins. Photo by Kevin Reece

The Chargers were a bit better, going 5-11 on the 2016 season. Perhaps the biggest adjustment the team and its fans will be making is the downsizing of the home stadium atmosphere they’ve been used to playing in. Instead of getting 60,000 plus fans packed inside an antiquated Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers will settle into a football home that will house a maximum of 30,000 people. That means more than half of their fans will not get to see them live, at least until 2019.

But A.G. Spanos, president of Business Operations for the Chargers, thinks will play out well for the team and their fans.

“The experience for our fans at StubHub Center will be fun and entertaining, and every seat will feel close to the action,” said A.G. Spanos. “This is a unique opportunity to see NFL action in such an intimate setting. The new stadium at Hollywood Park will be a tremendous stage, and we can’t wait to play there, but right now it’s about introducing ourselves and getting to know new fans and partners in a special, one-of-a-kind setting.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1138 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a proud alum of Howard University.