Some people are fans of the Los Angeles Chargers. But many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many more people are NOT fans of the Los Angeles Chargers. This 2018 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: Los Angeles Chargers.
Your 2017 record: 9-7. And if you thought the Chargers were gonna somehow shed their penchant for late-game dick-shooting in the course of moving to LA, you must be a member of the Spanos family. In their very first game, they had a game-tying kick whistled dead after the Broncos froze the kicker, and then had the subsequent kick blocked. In their second game, the kicker missed ANOTHER field goal right at the very end that would have won it. They also lost to the Patriots after their returner fielded a punt at the 11 and somehow turned it into a safety:
Again, nothing about this is surprising. Everyone knew the move to LA would be a disaster, but the Chargers did it anyway and now their stadium serves as a vacation spot for asshole Eagles fans. They lost a playoff tiebreaker to fucking BUFFALO.
Your coach: Anthony Lynn. Let’s see how Coach Lynn is getting PUMPED for the upcoming season!
“One book I’m going to read for sure is Mr. Alex Spanos’ book,” Lynn said.
Titled “Sharing the Wealth: My Story” the Spanos autobiography begins with a foreword from conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh.
The book touts “how a $40-a-week-baker in California’s Central Valley became a multimillionaire owner of a Super Bowl NFL team and an unprecedented philanthropist.”
Lynn received an autographed copy from the team’s control owner and chairman, Dean Spanos, and also watched a video featuring Alex Spanos.
Are you fucking shitting me? No wonder everyone got hurt in the preseason. God hates you. If Dean Spanos gave me one of his old man’s books, I would smack him in the testicles with it.
Your quarterback: MARMALARD!!!!
I know Philip Rivers has already said he’ll retire before he’s 40, but there is absolutely no way Mrs. Rivers wants this maniac around the house during the week. What does Philip Rivers do when he sees a bunch of Legos on the floor? Does he get an inch away from the kid’s face and go YOU LITTLE SACK OF SHIT! YOU PICK THESE UP OR ELSE THERE’LL BE PIECES OF YOU LEFT FOR MOM TO SWEEP UP! He’s playing until he’s 58.
In some ways, I admire Rivers being an out member of the Quiverfull community, barking at his 87 kids and communicating with them in a series of high-pitched, dolphin-like clicks. But I already know that the Rivers family is an elaborate sleeper cell designed to eventually infiltrate 22nd-century California politics and turn the state into a Jesus Freak loony bin once all the immigrants have been shoved out. Philip Rivers is 10 years away from being one of our worst congressmen, and so I have to hope Von Miller disembowels him on the field before he can ever get to that point. Otherwise, he’s gonna end up being a powerful asshole who combines Paul Ryan’s oiliness with Mick Huckabee’s Twitter account.
Behind Rivers is Geno Smith. Why would you want Geno Smith on your team? The man is a living hex. I get better vibes walking past Sharon Tate’s old house. Rivers will play through literally every injury: a torn spleen, a withered ear, a concussed butt … but somehow Geno will see the field this season. Once you sign him, you must suffer him.
What’s new that sucks: Everyone on this team has either suffered a horrific injury or is about to. Tight end Hunter Henry? Torn ACL. Cornerback Jason Verrett? Torn Achilles. Cornerback Trevor Williams hurt his ankle and Joey Bosa already hurt his foot:
Yeah no, he’s dead. He’s got lupus. Book it. This is on top of the Chargers praying that their draft picks from LAST year don’t get hurt all over again. There are only three healthy Chargers at any given moment, and they’re all the worst ones.
Given that the Chargers’ line is always a patchwork quilt of staph infection victims and underachievers, the team signed former Dolphin Mike Pouncey to play center and also fill the Aggro Dickhead void created when Shawne Merriman left the team.
He’s gonna fit right in. Also, Antonio Gates isn’t here anymore. Antonio Gates was the last valid reason to care about this club.
What has always sucked: I suppose, in some strange alternate universe, that the Chargers could have worked in L.A. They have a quarterback, a winning record, a stud back, and the best young edge rusher in football. They play in an intimate venue with great sightlines, and they have cool uniforms. And while L.A. sports fans are a bunch of notoriously flaky, Kobe-stanning weirdoes, there are still 20 million people in that area. Some of those people are stupid enough to adopt a new football team. It does happen when teams move, you know. If they had made just the slightest effort to ingratiate themselves to Los Angeles, MAYBE this thing could have worked.
[Ron Howard narration] They didn’t.
No, instead of having an actual plan to win over L.A., Dean Spanos showed up at 3 a.m. on the city’s doorstep to crash, looking like Serious Tom Arnold and brandishing a cheap logo and a shitty hat. Then he had the hilarious, blind GALL to charge $100 to anyone looking for a parking spot. He played hardball with their best draft prospect in years. He fired the equipment manager of 38 years only AFTER the poor bastard had uprooted and moved with them to L.A. Kevin Clark of The Ringer went to a Chargers “home” game last season and the team was handing out free U2 albums, they were that desperate and misguided. I’m shocked they didn’t hand out copies of Alex Spanos’s biopic directed by Señor Spielbergo for good measure. Asking Dean Spanos to cultivate a fanbase is like asking a baby to build you a fucking space shuttle. He’s the braindead fuckson of a cheap old fart, and he just burned every bridge in America’s prettiest city just so he could move to L.A. and re-enact all four minutes of Poison’s “Fallen Angel” video. He’s a colossal failure, and the Chargers are visibly suffering for it.
The depth of this town’s indifference toward this franchise is both staggering and completely justified. Even the mayor of L.A., who just got hornswoggled into hosting the Olympics by true rich asshole Casey Wasserman, can’t bring himself to get excited about the Chargers. This is a city where people only give a shit about you if you can do something for them, and what have the Chargers done for ANYONE? All they do is choke away leads and watch their former players die. They’re in L.A. but in actuality they’re nowhere, destined to spend the rest of their time as an ancillary TV product to be consumed by gamblers and opposing fanbases. To use a very shopworn term, they are The Baxter of the NFL now. They’re the Other Guys. They exist to be left behind.
And the worst part is that Spanos won’t suffer for this at all. He could have zero people attend these games and have the entire city actively resent the Chargers’ very presence (all of that is occurring right now, as we speak!), and somehow he’ll still be sitting pretty because this is the American Way now. It’s nothing more than wealthy airheads failing at every turn and still walking on air because the country has been rigged so that the rest of us pay for all of their mistakes. Fuck this guy. I hope he falls off a boat.
And fuck Boltman. Boltman is the mascot for a pizza chain no one asked for.
What might not suck: For real, Bosa is an absolute beast and probably the reason why this team still has hope despite its penchant for getting half the roster on IR before they’ve even taken a regular season snap. Also, I look forward to Joey becoming an Urban Meyer truther and dishing out takes like his little brother…
Let’s remember a guy who sucked: Bobby Beathard just got inducted into the Hall of Fame and I assume they conveniently glanced over the time he traded away a future first-rounder to draft Bryan Still, who lasted a grand total of four years in football before falling off a cliff. Then he traded ANOTHER future first to draft Mikhael Ricks! Amazing. Drafting Ryan Leaf was downright sensible compared to those two moves.
HEAR IT FROM CHARGERS FANS!
Last year, I quit the Chargers. And I’m here to tell you... it literally made my life better in every single conceivable way. It was like taking off a pair of pants that were filled with shit; there was literally NO downside to it. Nothing in my life became worse because of it, and in fact, EVERYTHING became better. For the first time in my life, when I watched football, I just watched whatever was the best football game on at the time. And guys, you might be surprised to learn this but, that’s almost NEVER the Chargers! When Rivers threw a backbreaking pick in the fourth quarter, *drew magary voice* I LAUGHED. It delighted me just like I’m sure it has been delighting all you non-Charger fans for years. It was like I was finally in on the joke, like one of those eighties movies where the loser kid somehow gets cool and gets to go to the parties where people get handjobs.
And honestly, most of the time I didn’t even watch that much football. I started doing a bunch of shit I’d been wanting to do on the weekends; like talking to my kids, which, I was shocked to find out, can be somewhat rewarding. I lost a little weight, my family was happier, only once did I scream the words “Are you FUCKING serious you FUCKING piece of SHIT” at the TV and it was when my DVR accidentally recorded Pacific Rim instead of Silicon Valley. And then my wife was like “relax they have it on demand” and I was like “oh, that’s right.”
Look, I’m not saying that if people give up football their lives will become better. A lot of you root for teams that bring you a ton of joy and you should absolutely continue to root for them, but there is also absolutely no reason for anyone to root for this garbage fucking franchise anymore. You’ve been given the greenlight to take off the pants filled with shit. DO IT.
Rivers has the agility of a sea lion wearing boots.
My favorite thing about LeBron moving to LA is now his son’s high school basketball team has more fans than the Chargers.
Roberto Aguayo is on the roster.
Jason Verrett does not exist, but every offseason Chargers social media pretends that he does.
I’m honestly happier every Sunday that I no longer have to give a shit about this team.
There is only one logical conclusion to Dean Spanos abandoning a loyal fanbase in San Diego just to pay rent in a market that has absolutely no interest in them whatsoever, and that conclusion is that the Chargers will eventually be sold to Donald Trump.
Also, any remaining fans who live in San Diego should be handed over to MS-13.
Watching a Chargers game on TV is like peering into a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future where America clearly hasn’t had enough time to bounce back to recapture what football games used to be like back “before the bombs went off”. Seeing them play on TV is a live look at the most depressing museum California has to offer. They pay players to throw on the jerseys and play because there are a few mannequins wearing LaDainian Tomlinson jerseys sitting in the stands and because at this point, Dean Spanos is playing a never ending game of Roller Coaster Tycoon..except instead of a theme park it’s a football stadium, and he’s either ran off or spiritually murdered every remaining human soul who ever had the capacity to give a shit about his stupid team.
In the future, the Chargers will be the first NFL team to have more Androids in attendance than actual humans. One day, Werner Herzog will narrate an entire documentary about the “Chargers in Los Angeles” experiment and will explain how the Chargers served as a regional anesthesia to numb an entire population of fans to a sport they thought it was impossible not to love. It will be an exploration of how capitalism, corporate depravity, and nihilism can coexist and continue to be profitable in their most soulless possible forms so long as the weather is between 70-80 degrees. I hope they end every game with a tie for the rest of their fucking existence.
Fuck you, Dean Spanos.
Eat Shit, Nate Kaeding.
I wrote this to a friend immediately following the conclusion of the Chargers/Jaguars extravaganza on November 12, 2017 and saved it for this very purpose. Because, truly, it is everything:
Hey, did you see the Chargers/Jaguars game? You know, the one where Blake Bortles threw two abominable interceptions in the final 2:00, while trailing...and STILL WON THE GAME? No? It’s okay - I’ll provide the following, Andrew Catalon’s exuberance-fueled Cliff Notes... because this one deserved to be preserved for posterity:
-Here is Blake Bortles, throwing the first of two unfathomably abysmal interceptions on the first play after the two-minute warning. This is hardly out of character for Bortles, but it kicks off a chain of events that set football back to days when Red Grange was just a twinkle in his father’s eye.
-Here are the Chargers, electing to keep their three-year veteran, starting running back (who hadn’t fumbled once this season) on the bench in crunch time in favor of a rookie. And here are the Chargers, fumbling the football on the ensuing play (and then stopping and watching in place as Tashaun Gipson runs the fumble back for a touchdown).
-Here are the referees, inexplicably reversing their on-the-field ruling that Gipson had scored and ruling he had been touched down despite seemingly no discernible evidence supporting this.
-Here is Marqise Lee, pummeled sideways by a defensive back - which draws an apparent flag for unnecessary roughness - only for Lee to stand up and dance in the defensive back’s face, drawing a taunting penalty. The referees are now waiving off the unnecessary roughness penalty, meaning that Lee’s own blunder has taken the Jaguars out of field goal range.
-Here is Bortles, airmailing his intended receiver on a post by roughly 12 yards - as Tre Boston catches the interception like a line-drive punt and celebrates while running to the sideline, everyone completely befuddled by just how casual this occurrence was.
-Here are the Chargers, running a total of 27 seconds off the clock after two interceptions of Bortles.
-Here are the Chargers, dropping an unthinkable third interception of Bortles within a 60-second span of gametime.
-Here is Joey Bosa, inexplicably tossing Bortles to the ground late and drawing a roughing the quarterback penalty, moving the Jaguars into field goal range.
-Here is Bortles, nearly being tackled in-bounds while fighting for a wholly unnecessary two-yard gain (which would have run out the clock), despite already being in field goal range. Instead, he makes the sidelines and the Jaguars tie the game at 17 with a field goal at the end of regulation.
-Here is Philip Rivers, throwing up a 50-50 ball (after the Chargers had stopped the Jags on the first possession of OT), resulting in a 51-yard A.J. Bouye interception return. And here is Rivers, the rumbling water buffalo, decleating Bouye at the one-yard line. And here are the Jaguars, drawing another taunting penalty that moved the ball from the 1 to the 16 and erasing a chip-shot field goal attempt.
-Here are the Chargers, somehow drawing a defensive delay of game penalty (!!!) that moved the game-winning field goal attempt (by the kicker who they cut in the preseason in favor of a kicker they ended up cutting after Week 2) from 35 yards to 30 yards.
-And, finally, mercifully, here are the Chargers, partially blocking the game-winning field goal...but only so much that the ball wobbles precisely one-yard over the crossbar. Meaning, had they not committed a defensive delay of game penalty, they still would have been alive and potentially a playoff team in 2017, as another year ticks off Rivers’ career.
Just give me the goddamn electric chair and be done with it.
Every time I see my mom texting me an article there’s a 90% chance it’s regarding an important body part flying off of an important Chargers starter. Those texts are basically telegraphs from the angel of death. First Hunter Henry, Jason Verrett. Mark my words, there’s going to be another starter out for the year before week 1, that’s how life works. Anyone writing “are the Chargers the most talented team in the AFC?” bullshit pieces should be held personal liable for the medical bills of our maimed players that God deems mandatory as soon as Chargers fans get the faintest whiff of hope. Fuck this team.
I cannot get used to seeing LAC as the abbreviation in the crawl. During the wall-to-wall draft coverage, I always think “How did the Clippers get a first rounder? Shrewd move by Steve Ballmer, let’s see if it pays off.”
My wife and I now have a running joke whenever one of us needs to borrow a phone charger, where we say “of course, but you know who doesn’t have a charger? San Diego.” It makes me laugh and then feel sad.
Also, Dean Spanos can eat a bag of dicks.
Fuck this trash fire of a franchise to its miserable, rotten core.
LAFC has existed for roughly 12 minutes and already has a bigger following than the Chargers will ever have.
I go to school in Philadelphia, and when the Chargers moved to LA my friends agreed that I could have a free pass to become an Eagles fan. And being the numbskull that I am, I doubled down and told everyone I knew that the Chargers would have the better season. Cut to December, I had suffered through an 0-4 start only for us to go on a 7-2 run and I was back to telling everyone that we were gonna whip the floundering Chiefs and storm into the playoffs.
It was a week after my 21st birthday so I decided to go out to a bar and watch the game I was certain we would win. Instead I watched, six or seven beers in, as we fell flat on our faces in my powder blue Darren Sproles jersey. Fuck this team, and most of all fuck me for believing in them. And on top of that, two months later the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and I watched what could have been the best moment of my life. Also fuck Dean Spanos and fuck this team for somehow letting every important guy except Marmalard get hurt every year.
I was going to begin this email with a lengthy discussion of how I broke our living room phone after Steve Young threw his second TD pass in the first five minutes of Super Bowl XXIX...
...or how, despite having Rivers, LT, Gates, VJax, Sproles, and Michael Turner all at once, the closest we’ve gotten since is losing to the Pats in the AFC Championship Game without scoring a touchdown
...or how we had to suffer through Marty, then Norv, then Mike McCoy
...or how we had to watch the best defender in team history become a bellwether for the dangers of CTE
...or having to watch Eli Manning win two Super Bowls
...or Ryan. Fucking. Leaf.
...or any of the other indignities we’ve been forced to suffer at the hands of Spanos the Younger
but I won’t be doing any of that today, because today, just minutes ago, the sports gods wanted to make clear where Chargers fans stand in the universe. Jason Verrett suffered a season ending injury during a conditioning stint on the first day of camp. This is from a piece that came out TEN DAYS ago: You can excuse Jason Verrett if he has a permanent smile on his face when he takes the field for the first day of training camp. After all, it’s been nearly two whole calendar years since the 27-year old has felt like his old self.
Let us recall that in 2016, Keenan Allen went out with injury before halftime in week one. And don’t even get me started on the Spinal Tap drummer-like nature of the O-line.
I end this email with a simple request: Someone please come and put me out of my misery. I’ve been doing this too long and I don’t have the strength to walk away.
So I’m only 15 years old and I know a lot more about football than kids my age and a lot of adults. I know that being a Chargers fan is excruciatingly horrible. Every Sunday having a one touchdown lead and watching you lose to a freaking Miami Dolphins led Jay God Damn Cutler. The Chargers were actually one kicker away from going to the playoffs. The worst part is me living in Kansas City and openly admitting that I was a Chargers fan. High Schoolers are way too ruthless. The last thing I myself posted to Facebook (yes some teenagers still do have Facebook) was me running around my living room yelling like a moron “YES NICK NOVAK YOU BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF JESUS!!!” when he made that kick to beat the Raiders 16-17. People say that being a Jets fan sucks, at least they have a ring. The only Super Bowl my team ever went to, they were blown out. Screw Dean Spanos and my dad for making me a fan of this shit fire.
Severing ties with this team when they moved was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. They get embarrassed at home every week when their rental soccer stadium is full of 80% opposing fans while the media continues to slip up and misidentify them as the San Diego Chargers a full 18 months after they moved. They’re trying to compete with the best team in the NFC for a fan base and are getting viciously dunked on. The two LA soccer franchises outdraw them. But that’ll definitely change once they move into the Rams stadium and start cutting them rent checks. For sure.
They once lost a game because Philip Rivers fumbled the snap on a kneel play.
Also, this shit.
Submissions for the 2018 Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: Seattle Seahawks.