by Dallas McLaughlin
I’m done. I’m legitimately sick of it, and I’m done. I don’t care one bit if the Chargers stay or if they go, which under current ownership is looking like the latter. The Chargers have been threatening to leave San Diego since they got to San Diego, and you know what? San Diego doesn’t care. They’ve been pushing for a new stadium for over a decade. San Diego doesn’t care. They even paid off the NFL brass years ago to publicly tell us just how bad Qualcomm is, and that we’ll never get another Super Bowl until we get a new stadium. San Diego doesn’t care. Sure, one or two crazy flags-waving-from-the-window fans care a lot, and don’t want their beloved Bolts to pack up, but it’s too late. The majority of San Diego now feels the way I do, and in a few years, those flag-waving flip-flop wearing dads will also feel like I do. Sure there’ll be the politicians and city leaders who will continue to push for the Chargers to stay, but this will only be for one purpose: Revenue. That’s all an NFL team actually means to most cities anymore. On game day, cities make a lot more revenue. From land usage all the way down to your local grocery store selling out of Ruffles. Kevin Faulconer only cares about keeping the Chargers for two reasons:
1) He doesn’t want to be the Mayor who lost the team.
He might be a fan, but I guarantee his job and life will be a lot easier once this team finally leaves. He is still publicly committed to working out a new stadium deal, but privately he wants it to be done. He has been and continues to be played by billionaires who just want more billions. It sucks for him, and it sucks for us ‘cause we’re all suckers. But, we have a chance to save ourselves. We have a chance to not be suckers, and here’s why: The Chargers brass made three fatal flaws in negotiating this mess, and we need to hold them accountable:
1) They overestimated just how much San Diego cares about the Chargers. I honestly feel like they were assuming the city would rally to the cause, and beat down the Mayor’s door. They just forgot that this is San Diego. We rarely sell out home games, we have a lot of other things to do, and there just isn’t this “rich Charger tradition” they’ve tried to sell for years. Unless of course that tradition is being mediocre.
2) They forgot to win BEFORE they burned us with a new stadium proposal. See, we’ve been down this road before with the Padres. The biggest difference however was that the Padres knew to get the city excited about a winning at the same time they asked us to vote on a new stadium. We all came off the heels of the amazing 1996-98 seasons, including the ‘98 World Series. Of course we wanted more Padres. We voted yes, they gutted the team the next year, and only in the last few months (over a decade after PETCO opened) has the team started to spend anywhere near what they promised a new stadium would allow them to spend. We already went through this, so if you’re going to lie to us, at least butter us up with a few playoff wins first. You can’t threaten to leave after your team started Brandon Oliver for four games.
3) The Spanos family has never cared about the fans, and everyone knows it. The simplest example I can give is the powder blues. Every fan loves the powder blue jerseys. ESPN, FOX Sports, and dozens of other pundits have lined up saying the powder blues are one of the best looking jerseys in the history of the game, and for twenty years the Spanos family refused to let the team wear them. Why? Because Dean didn’t like them. That’s it. That’s all. He didn’t like them. Sure, it’s his team, but we are…you know…kinda the reason he gets to have one.
These huge missteps have all led to where we are today. And now, the Chargers ownership is actually blaming the citizens of San Diego for all the problems, and issues with this stadium nonsense. WHAT?! Yep. Just read all the dribble spewed by Mark Fabiani. You can’t blame the citizens of one of the most expensive cities in America for not wanting to pay more taxes to watch Philip Rivers hobble around in a new location. Especially when Spanos could pay for a new stadium with his tax return.
And here’s the worst part: Our city is falling for it. Two nights ago Faulconer was booed at opening night for The Gulls (a franchise with an actual winning history)! Booed! Why? Because he’s doing everything he can to save a team that lied to him for months, and started negotiating with another city almost a year ago? Is that why our Mayor is the bad guy? Remember when your girlfriend broke up with you, and although she wasn’t the “one” you were still upset that it didn’t end on your terms, so you tried and tried to get back with her, and then when you finally got her to go out with you again, you find out right before the date that she’s been sleeping with Trevor? Remember how pissed you were that not only did you just waste months chasing a girl who wasn’t that great, and who didn’t want you anyway, but that she spent so long just lying to you about everything only confirming she was pretty lame from the start? Remember that? Well, you should CAUSE IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?!
Our Mayor is doing everything he can to keep a team who left us months ago. A franchise that was never ours to begin with, and a franchise that we never really bought into all the way. Sure, we had great times together, and a few wonderful memories, but nothing you won’t forget about in a couple years. The Clippers, anyone? The Rockets? Hello? Anyone?
When the social media climate exists like it currently does, we need to be smarter, more responsible, and better fans.
If this whole thing ends with the city publicly funding a stadium that Spanos is willing to pay for himself in Carson (the City of Dreams) then we have failed as fans. We have lost. We live in one the greatest cities in America. Teams should be begging to play here, but the one we have is begging to leave. So, let them. Last I heard the Padres are looking pretty sweet, The Gulls are back, and SDSU basketball is ranked in the top 25. Hell, I even heard the Rams might look to San Diego if their own LA plans don’t work, and I’m all for it. I’ll change my yellow to gold, and I’ll blindly believe Sam Bradford is the answer.
Honestly, as fans, we just don’t deserve this. The only way things could get worse is if the Chargers forced us all to move to Carson and pretend we’re “okay” with Raiders fans. In fact, now that I think about it that’s exactly what should happen to the Spanos family. They should be forced to drive to Carson everyday, rolling past the hoards of unemployed Raiders fans, living out the rest of their days watching the Chargers consistently come up short.
Let them go. Let us go.