Some people are fans of the San Diego Chargers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the San Diego Chargers. This 2014 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: San Diego Chargers
Your 2013 record: 9-7, including a playoff win! That's amazing! Except that the playoff win came against the Bengals, and therefore does not count.
Your coach: Mike McCoy, who may or may not be Brad Johnson's dad.
Your quarterback: Honorary Duggar family member Philip Rivers, whose wife gave birth to their seventh kid in the middle of last season. SEVEN! A whole goddamn clan of Little Marmalards running around. Rivers is a vocal proponent of Natural Family Planning. The only time he pulls out is from under center. HEY NOW! Sync your intercourse to the lunar cycle and Jesus will reward you with the miracle of a baby born during the bye week. Let's catch up with Laserface as he talks about being a MAN:
Men are the leaders of our families and in the corporate world as well and any time we can share and have an impact, it's great.
I was around for the Bill McCartney era at Colorado. I know religious codespeak for MEN DO THE WORK YOU STAY IN THE KITCHEN MISSY when I see it.
And the 'trash talk,' it's nothing I couldn't go home and tell my wife or my mom.
"You call this a pie, Mom? (throws pie out) Why don't you macerate some cherries and come back here with a REAL dessert, you filthy strumpet?"
What's new that sucks: Nothing. Absolutely nothing has changed since last season. I mean, Donald Brown is here, but that's Donald Brown. We can ignore that and just say that this is still the same average team fielding the same decent quarterback that plays in the same Harbin-style toilet of a stadium named after a wireless company whose name you haven't encountered anywhere else since 2002. The Chargers are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again for all eternity. Time is a flat circle. God is dead. We have all died a thousand times already. THE OCEAN CRIES FOR US.
Also, they signed Brandon Flowers.
What has always sucked: That stadium. The Chargers are stuck playing in a Camden softball lot until 2020, and not only are they begging San Diego for a new stadium, but they are actively working against Los Angeles in its quest for a new team because they consider L.A. to be their market, which AHAHAHAHAHA NO ONE IN LA GIVES HALF A FUCK ABOUT THE CHARGERS. L.A. people aren't stupid. If they're gonna pick a team, they aren't picking the shitty team that plays in California's answer to Sarasota. No fucking way.
No sane sports fan wants to be affiliated with San Diego because San Diego has never won anything. We always talk about Cleveland and Buffalo's travails, but San Diego is right up there in Great Runs of American Suck. They won one AFL title in 1963 but that totally doesn't count because AFL titles are stupid and pointless. The greatest moments in San Diego sports history involve the Padres sneaking into the World Series and then getting curbstomped. The Chargers blow all their talent when they have it and maximize their shittiness when they don't. They could fuck up an untoasted peanut-butter sandwich.
Their fans are equally as trashy as the stadium they don't bother to ever visit. You think of San Diego as a nice, pleasant city with gorgeous people strolling along beaches and clumsy bachelors splitting an apartment with two flirty gals under the nose of that surly Mr. Roper. Then you go to a Chargers game and it's like you stumbled into a back alley behind a Taco Bell. The most interesting people in San Diego are the people who show up in cosplay costumes every summer and they don't even live there.
This should be one of the great American cities and yet it's filled with military steakheads, old people, and Hooters waitresses. The weather is literally the only thing people who live in San Diego or have been to San Diego talk about. If natives aren't talking about how mild the weather is, they are berating you for liking Mexican food that is not from San Diego, as if they own the patent on Mexican food. Meanwhile, Mexico itself is sitting ZERO MILES AWAY. I feel like maybe Mexico has dibs on being the official home of Mexican food. It's a fantastically douchey city, which makes no sense at all. Cool people should live there, but they don't. It's just bro after bro after bro. Even Eli Manning, who is dumb as a brick, was like, "San Diego? Naw, man, that sounds boring as hell."
Football-wise, Rivers is still around to throw charity picks and the backfield still consists of Ryan Matthews getting hurt and Danny Woodhead occupying the top spot in the waiver-wire free-agent listings every single week. The Chargers handed Dwight Freeney nearly $5 million last year just to say they signed Dwight Freeney. King Dunlap will get Rivers killed. Antonio Gates will miss at least four games and play with a walker in six more. And every game will be blacked out in favor of local zoo pandacam footage.
What might not suck: McCoy has single-handedly revived Rivers's career, and new offensive coordinator Frank Reich knows how to come back from 32-point deficits, something the Chargers experience quite a bit.
Hear it from Chargers fans!
First, let me say that I'm still basking in the post Norv Turner glow. Getting rid of him was basically like getting a negative AIDS test. The problem with that is, you forget that it's probably not a great sign that you had to go get an AIDS test in the first place.
Our team is almost the exact same as it was last year. We made almost no upgrades. In fact, we signed Brandon Flowers, who the Chiefs released because he's size of one of Alex Smith's hands and almost every receiver in the AFC west is built like that dude from Game Of Thrones that smushed that one guy's head. And in order to GET Brandon Flowers, we released a corner who, admittedly wasn't great, but was young and 6'2". And guess who signed him? The Chiefs. Which means we were outsmarted by the Chiefs, which is a lot like losing a poker game to a dog dressed in human clothing. Our stadium is the worst in the league. It looks like it was built in Nicaragua in the 60s in hopes of getting the world cup. It's just cement with some grass in the middle.
We play the NFC West this year, so that's at least three losses and probably four. Meanwhile, once again our season is tied to Philip Rivers, meaning as a Charger fan you have to root for him to succeed even though in ANY other situation in life, if you met him, you'd wish for his failure and untimely demise because he is the biggest shit head on the planet. He recently had his seventh kid, presumably representing each of the wins we'll have this season.
Qualcomm stadium is probably the shittiest stadium in the NFL and it sits in one of the shittier parts of San Diego. You park in William Miller's shitty neighborhood in Almost Famous and walk downhill to the dilapidated stadium, which has all the character of what I imagine a Communist era USSR soccer stadium would look like.
While many people complain about how most NFL stadiums are "too corporate", luckily that is not a problem in San Diego, because (aside from Qualcomm) big corporations treat San Diego like the plague because they would lose productivity when their employees would hit the beach in fucking December. Which locals do, every day of the week, because no one in San Diego has a real job. Every adult woman in San Diego is a bartender, dental hygienist, nurse, waitress, works in a surf shop or is an elementary school teacher if she REALLY has her shit together. Every adult man is a bartender, waiter, assistant high school football/baseball/lacrosse coach, sells Xerox machines, works at Enterprise in the management program (he's going places), or if he REALLY has his shit together, is a PI attorney scraping $40,000 per year on rear ends and slip and falls. And then there are the Marine and Navy meat-heads. San Diego is a wasteland of good looking twenty-somethings who would rather work at a bar and fuck each other than move to LA and pursue some meaningless endeavor like acting. So, basically, it's like all the assholes who move to LA, but with none of the ambition.
Us Chargers Fans act as if we have a rich history - wearing replica throwbacks like Natrone Means and Dan Fouts if they are over 50. We pretend we are passionate, but will get more offended if you talk shit about SD Mexican food than we will if you say the Chargers suck. Junior Seau is a God in SD because getting the shit kicked out of us in the Super Bowl was the best San Diego sports moment other than that time Tony Gwynn hit a double. We have basically been irrelevant except for when LT and Gates were in their primes, which were pissed away because Marty ran a HB dive for four quarters against the Pats and then was fired after a 14-2 season to hire NORV FUCKING TURNER, who continued to waste the primes of an All-Pro roster, who he dragged down to 8-8 season after 8-8 season for what seemed like centuries. The Chargers will always make sure to have 5 absolute studs on the team, but do nothing about the train wreck that is the rest of the roster. Then they will pick Ryan Matthews, who sucks, in the first round, after every other team has figured out that RBs are completely replaceable.
And everyone in SD is just waiting for the Chargers to move to LA. Because that's what people do in SD, they come here for a while and have kind of an exciting, but meaningless life, and then they move somewhere that's a real city when they're ready to get their shit together. So the Chargers will move to LA and win two Super Bowls in the first decade. It's like that guy who dropped out of college and moved to SD to become a bartender. He fucks around for 5-10 years, fucks 100 women, and decides it is time to leave when he gets the Clap for the sixth time. He moves to LA when he is 29, finishes his degree, becomes the creative director of an Ad Agency, gets married to a Pasadena debutante and has three kids who he will never let go to San Diego State.
Even the gang member fans are second rate gang members who get the shit kicked out of them by real gang member fans whenever the Raiders come to town.
The Chargers had a surprising run to the playoffs last year, but let's be real. They could have gone 4-12 and the season would have been a raging success in the aftermath of firing Norv "Stucco Neck" Turner.
After beating the Bengals in the playoffs, OC Ken Whisenhunt was busy sending dick pics and emojis to his suitors instead of conjuring up a half-decent gameplan against Denver. Not surprisingly, the Chargers were shut out in the first half and their second-half rally came up short.
The Bolts are heading in the right direction, but I can't say the same for the Arkham Asylum of the NFL, Qualcomm Stadum. You know how decrepit the Q has become? Supercross and Monster Trucks REFUSE TO HOLD EVENTS THERE. You know it's bad when Grave Digger refuses to step foot in our stadium despite 65,000 Affliction bros treating his appearance like the goddamn Super Bowl.
Fuck Norv Turner and AJ Smith forever.
It takes an act of God for them to sell out Qualcomm Stadium on Sundays. But I guess you can't fault people for not wanting to spend money to see a game at a prison facility where everyone is piss drunk on Coors Light and you're guaranteed to see at least two mouth breathing degenerates with lightning bolts tattooed onto their shaved heads. Because that's a real good look.
Fuck AJ Smith and Norv Turner.
But back to the team that kicks me square in the dick at least eight times a year. This is a team that has blown a 3+ touchdown lead at home in the second half of a game two years in a row (Denver, Houston) on national television, which is a perfect stage for a public execution. It took two small miracles in week 17 last year to give the Chargers a chance at a playoff spot. All they had to do was beat the Chiefs. They promptly spent 58 minutes getting choke slammed by Knile Davis and Chase Daniel. Chase fuckin Daniel. It took a Ryan Succop shank to get this team into the playoffs and we owe the Bengals an apology for beating them in the first round because we never should have been there.
Fuck AJ Smith and Norv Turner.
Our quarterback runs like Forrest Gump with those metal knee braces on. It'll take one Ryan Mathews fumble for the entire 619 area code to hate-list him. Our linebackers spend more time getting into trouble at bars in Pacific Beach than they do sacking quarterbacks. But hey, it's cool, Antonio Gates played basketball in college.
And last but certainly not least, fuck AJ Smith and Norv Turner so hard.
It is just a matter of time until Norv Turner returns.
It's hard to find a professional football franchise that gives less of a shit about its football team than San Diego. The owner couldn't really be bothered to face glaring flaws in his GM and the spoiled child-like treatment of the players and coaches. The Spanos family is happy with underachieving, which is fantastic considering his son and grandson are already being groomed to keep up the family legacy of extreme mediocrity. Speaking of their (former) GM, holy shit AJ Smith. If you know nothing else about his handling of the Chargers, know this: Smith called Norv Turner "The right coach at the right time." No one should ever say that about Norv Turner. Ever.
Despite having the greatest running back of his generation (Tomlinson), the greatest tight end of his generation (Gates), and having Brees and Rivers at Quarterback, they have constantly disappointed in the playoffs. Let's recap using the "How many Jaegermeister shots it took to Cope" scale:
2004: Nate "The Little Engine That Couldn't" Kaeding misses a 40-yard field goal. Jets go onto win. (But the field was wet, you guys) Jaeger scale: Four Shots.
2006: Nate "Hey, How About My Regular Season Percentage?" Kaeding strikes again, missing a game-tying field goal. But this game will always be remembered for intercepting Brady, then Troy "Mr. Patriot aka Black Welker" Brown strips the ball loose. Brady goes on to win. Jaeger Scale: "Just leave the bottle."
2007: Jaeger Scale: Three Shots. Fuck Tom Brady.
2008: Jaeger Scale: Two Shots.
2009: Nate "Seriously you guys, how the FUCK IS HE STILL ON THE TEAM" Kaeding misses not once, not twice, but THREE times. 36-yards? Jaeger scale: "Hey gang, what happened last night and how come I woke up with wet pants?"
This is a team that fired Marty Schottenheimer after going 14-2 (seems like a legit thing to do) and couldn't be bothered to pay Vincent Jackson at a franchise tag-level, but found a way to accept a just-over 50% career postseason kicker? Seriously, we don't deserve to win. Let's just go 7-9 forever and be done with it.
P.S. I hope we ban the Powder Blue Unis. They may look sexy, but no amount of on-the-field visual aesthetics are worth having to witness Chris Berman blow his load every time he calls a highlight of their games.
I challenged Philip Rivers, Eric Weddle, and Danny Woodhead to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge via Twitter and Facebook. I was ignored. (Ed note: Good.)
At any point you decide to enter the Qualcomm parking lot, there is always a chance you'll catch an eye full of shrapnel from one man smashing a beer bottle over another man's head.
I live in NY, and am a San Diego Chargers fan. Although Marmalard is a far better QB than Eli and Geno/Sanchez/Ken O'Brien/Richard Todd/Mike Vick/Bubby Brister, I have to hear how Eli has 2 rings, and blah blah.
We made one Super Bowl, and lost to the Niners 158 to 6.
Minus Junior Seau, nothing has changed on the Chargers D in 40 years.
The Chargers will always have the "best team on paper" but their coaching tree is actually a revolving door of guys who come in to play with all the fancy toys then jump to better jobs. We sign offseason champions from 2007 like Bob Sanders or Dwight Freeney to anchor our swiss cheese defense—hey, who's ten yards away from the ball now? WHO CARES!—and are terribly surprised when they only last five games. Antonio Gates can't even run past River's floatiest of floats any more, and Ryan Matthews will probably spontaneously combust at some point this year. To top it all off, Philip Rivers is a gay cowboy who supported Rick Santorum, so fuck him.
Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Brown will crumble in the first preseason drive, Ajirotutu will eventually come back to try and save the paltry receiving corps, and take away some fantasy points when I eventually draft Keenan Allen in my fantasy league. But hey, at least there is Tevin Reese.
And we still have the team song.
I don't know what's worse, the fact that vagina-neck Norval and AJ Smith are the winningest head coach and GM in franchise history, or that there are other Charger fans who prefer them over McCoy and Telesco.
Being a Chargers fan in Orange County places me in some sort of "no-man's-land." People here will either shamelessly bandwagon some successful out-of-state team, or claim to be Chargers fans, but be so fair-weather and clueless about them, that it hurts. I had to explain to some fellow Chargers"fans" who Junior Seau was. They make Heat fans look loyal in comparison. And people still wonder why LA doesn't have a football team. On the other hand, while I can somewhat bond with actual San Diegans over the Chargers, I'm still not fully accepted by them because I don't bitch about the Padres.
Also, fuck Marlon McCree with a rusty pole. And Eli Manning and AJ Smith, too
This was a team that in 2013 that lost to:
-The Texans, who rallied from a 21 point deficient to win on a field goal as time expired.
-The Titans, who won on Jake Locker (!) 34 yard TD pass with 15 seconds left.
-The Raiders, led by Terrelle Pryor. And the game wasn't close.
-The Redskins, in OT, after our wunderkind head coach called a run up the middle with Danny Woodhead with 21 seconds left in the game, from the Redskins' one yard line. The Chargers kicked a field goal, went to OT and never saw the ball again.
-The Dolphins, when a potential game-winning drive by Captain Impregnator was swatted down and the team demonstrated why the offense was ranked worse than the Vikings and Browns in red zone offense.
The team plays down to its competition like a drunk girl at closing time. The biggest compliment we give our new general manager is that he hasn't completely fucked up a draft yet, and he doesn't look like Healy from Orange is the New Black.
We are regularly under threat from TV blackouts despite being an all-in-all rather successful franchise over the past 15 years. The stadium might be the biggest piece of shit (outside of Oakland) in the NFL, but we can't get a new one because the state is broke and we only just elected city government that wasn't mired in a pension scandal or fired for sexually harassing his underlings.
Rivers is the special type of asshole who would cheat at Uno then call you a "nerd" for not taking the game seriously enough. Malcom Floyd has a history of injuries, then he was nearly paralyzed with a neck injury last year, and he's our #2 wide receiver for the 6 quarters he's healthy. On the plus side, signing Woodhead has allowed the latent racists to come out and support the team.
Oh and by the way, no professional San Diego team has ever won a championship (no the AFL doesn't count). We are Cleveland with nicer weather. And not having a team for the past 20 years has enabled some Los Angelenos to start rooting for the Chargers. Fuck those former Raider fans.
It's only a matter of time before their temper tantrums push the San Diego Comic Con out of town because Old Man Spanos wants a new stadium.
Since San Diego's illegal plan to add on to our convention center has been struck down, because the jock-sniffers known as the "San Diego Business Community," are angling to get all the money that would have been spent on the addition plus billions more. A new stadium will not keep Comic Con in town. The convention center addition would have.
Expect to see a 'Jocks vs. Nerds' narrative as the local media and business establishments come down hard against Comic Con (they NEVER got it) and the Nerds will lose.
What plays out over the next few years will be fascinating and repulsive. If Filner were still in power, Comic Con would stick around. But we've got Kevin Faulconer, who never had an idea that wasn't put their first by ex-Mayor Jerry Sanders and the local Chamber of Commerce.
It'll get even more bizarre as the local business community is going to ask San Diegans to vote against their own pay raise. And then, they're going to ask San Diegans to approve new taxes for a new stadium.
No, the jock assholes running San Diego's highest profile newspaper have not noticed the contradiction.
- I think Rivers has had 3 kids since last season.
- We drafted Manti Te'o in the second round. He was terrible and I would have rather had an ACTUAL catfish play ILB.
- Our coach, Mike McCoy, is more conservative than the Amish. You know that @NYT4thDownBot twitter that analyzes every 4th down situation and says what the correct statistical play is (which is usually going for it if it's a close call)? Check it during a Chargers game - basically every call McCoy makes is wrong.
- Until about 18 months ago, Norv Turner was the head coach. Norv Turner is also the third-winningest coach in team history, and has the fifth best winning percentage.
- Our fans are terrible. If we lose, the next day sports talk is full of callers who lament firing Marty Schottenheimer and want to hire Bill Cowher.
- It's not just our fans. A few years ago, a local radio host who is actually relatively respected (not like that tool Dan Sileo) seriously said that the Chargers should reunite Reggie Bush and LenDale White in their backfield. Seriously - this was the year after White ate himself out of the NFL.
- Our stadium is so f-ing terrible that the NFL - who can essentially squeeze billions of dollars out of a pebble - has told the city they refuse to have another Super Bowl here. In San Diego. In February.
I hate this team. When does the season start? Need to wash my Tomlinson jersey.
I'm actually feeling good about the team this year, which means that a meaningless 7-9 season is on the horizon.
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks: personal anecdotes, encounters with fans, etc. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Next team up: Kansas City Chiefs.