San Diego Chargers
All around the city and county you can see people wearing their Chargers’ pride with the lightning-blue jerseys of #21 LaDainian Tomlinson who broke several NFL rushing records last season including most touchdowns, #85 Antonio Gates, or #56 Shawne Merriman, as well as other players such as the new quarterback, Philip Rivers, who in his first starting season was elected to a Pro Bowl spot. The Chargers have become in the past four years, under General Manager A.J. Smith, one of the top teams in the NFL.
So much excitement was generated by the San Diego Chargers during the 2006-2007 season that fans are expecting the Bolts to go deep into the NFL playoffs next year. After their 14-2 season which saw many thrilling come-from-behind victories, and the hiring of a new head coach in Norv Turner—and a new staff—the Bolts are poised to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2007-2008.
The Chargers began in the old American Football League in 1960 as the Los Angeles Chargers, but moved to San Diego the following year, playing in Balboa Stadium. The team won the AFL championship in 1963. Since the AFL and the NFL merger in 1970, the Chargers have been to the NFL playoffs eight times, playing in the AFC Championship game three times, and making one Super Bowl appearance at the end of the 1994 season when they were defeated by the San Fransisco 49ers 49-26.
The Bolts have had many illustrious players and coaches including Hall of Famer Sid Gillman, who lead the Chargers to successful seasons in the 1960s, and offensive genius Don Coryell, who instituted the “Air Coryell” offense which was heavy on passing and placed an emphasis on quarterbacks such as Dan Fouts, and wide receivers such as Lance Alworth.
While the team has had a few scares for relocating, ownership under the Spanos family, and especially under Dean Spanos, has remained solidly committed to staying in the San Diego County area. Negotiations are under way for the financing of a new football stadium, which could be located anywhere from the cities of Chula Vista in the south to Oceanside in the north. The current Qualcomm Stadium still provides an enjoyable Sunday afternoon of great football with plenty of room for tailgate parties, and is regularly sold out for games, meaning the games are nearly always televised locally.
The Chargers are active in the San Diego area in their involvement with the community, including the Chargers Foundation that has given more than four million dollars in grants, gifts, and scholarships to local non-profit organizations, as well as the San Diego Blood Bank drives for the past 25 years.
Next season should be one of the most exciting to watch in recent years with a team that sent eleven offensive and defensive stars to the Pro Bowl this year. Fans are already buying tickets for next season in anticipation of a run to Super Bowl XLII in nearby Phoenix, Arizona.