Some people are fans of the Los Angeles Chargers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Los Angeles Chargers. This 2019 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Los Angeles Chargers.
Your 2018 record: 12-4. I’m still not over how this C-List Batman villain of a team went out in the playoffs. The Chargers crushed the Ravens on the road in the wild card round thanks to an out-there defensive game plan and the fact that the Ravens themselves sat there in a base defense that the Chargers’ offense rarely had to fear. Then the Chargers went to Foxboro for the divisional round and got their shit ruined by a Pats team that finished the regular season with a worse record. The score was 35-0 at the half.
And you know WHY these Chargers lost that game? Because they didn’t change their defense AT ALL from the week prior. It’s one thing to be like “What if no linebackers?” and ask Lamar Jackson to beat you with his arm. When you ask Tom Brady to do it, he very much can. Brady was never sacked and did whatever he wanted in the pocket in that game. The Chargers, as a team, ran for a grand total of 19 yards. After beating the Ravens, this Chargers defense was heralded as revolutionary and then Julian Edelman punched them in the dick. Fuck a duck. Hit me in the spine with a crowbar. Sonny Liston had less questionable losses.
Otherwise your biggest highlight from a season ago was an incomplete catch.
Your coach: Anthony Lynn, who I hope got compensated handsomely for gifting Bill Belichick yet another de facto second bye week for the divisional round. Lynn was the one who elected to go for two to beat the Chiefs in the regular season (it worked and the Chargers clinched a spot in the playoffs because of it). Lynn, along with defensive coordinator and eternal Jacksonville non-legend Gus Bradley, helped devise the seven-DB umbrella defense that made it impossible for Baltimore to pass the ball. So why did this man not mix things up for an opponent that DEMANDS you mix things up? Why did he hand Belichick a freshly taped blueprint for beating his ass? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF, YOU ROYAL SHITHEAD?!
“We got our butts kicked today,” Lynn said. “It’s not a comfortable moment for us, for sure, but I think in these times we can learn a lot about ourselves.”
Oh, I learned a lot. I learned that the Chargers may have ditched San Diego, but their historic penchant for swallowing their own brains at key times remains untainted. I learned that things still happen TO the Chargers and never FOR them. I learned that the Chargers, forever the dark-horse Super Bowl contender that never wins the Super Bowl, remain frequently good but always capable of tripping over their own dicks.
Your quarterback: Shit-talking human bolo tie Philip Rivers. Every year, right around Week 9, you have to listen to people be like, “Hey, don’t look now, but Philip Rivers is low-key having an MVP season!” and then it all amounts to dick two months later.
By the time you’re finished reading this preview, Rivers and his wife will have conceived eight more babies. Truly, his quiver is overflowing. If you’re ever fishing around for an obnoxious football take (and, on this here internet, you need not wander very far to chance upon one), there’s the “Well actually, Philip Rivers is better than Big Ben and Eli and would have won a Super Bowl under other circumstances” take that pops up on Twitter from time to time. I want to agree with that stance, mostly because Big Ben is a swollen asshole and Eli is a feckless hillbilly. Marmalard is a redass but he’s still 500 percent more charming than either of those contemporaries.
But no. No, Philip Rivers is responsible for the invisible career he’s had. I’ve seen him float enough balls into the press box to know this. I’ve seen him play .500 under pressure and heave shit downfield into a crowd, under the Favre-ish assumption that his daringness will be rewarded. Rivers has had his chances. He’s played with LaDainian Tomlinson, with Keenan Allen, with Antonio Gates, and with Vincent Jackson in his prime. In nine of the 13 seasons he’s been the starter, the Chargers’ defense has been in the top half of the NFL in terms of points allowed. If Marmalard was gonna win a title, he’d have already done it by now. But it’s never gonna happen for him. The Chargers have had Dan Fouts and Philip Rivers for 30 of the last 45 years, yet Stan fucking Humphries is the one who quarterbacked them to their lone Super Bowl appearance. That’s not bad luck. That’s the archaeological footprint of an empty vessel.
Your new backup is armless wonder Tyrod Taylor. As I write this, your fourth-stringer is rookie Easton Stick. I had an Easton stick when I played as a Mite. Good stick!
What’s new that sucks: Oh look, everyone is getting mysteriously hurt again, including Allen and second-year stud Derwin James.
It’s like Dr. David Chao never left their employ. The Chargers are less a football team than they are a laboratory for radical medical experimentation. In one chamber, you have 67 petri dishes cultivating Rivers family offspring. In another, you have bioengineers feverishly devising ways to induce sepsis in Joey Bosa’s body cavity. And in another, you have a collection of brain scans that look like Rorschach inkblots used in a turn-of-the-century psychiatric ward. But look at how much money you won’t save on Personal Seat Licenses for it all!
The Rams’ stadium seat licenses range between a whopping $175,000 to $225,000 for access to one of the stadium’s 500 “all-access” seats, which will be located on either end of the 50-yard line. Additionally, The Chargers’ PSLs are pricey: $75,000 for the same seats. These PSLs do come with their perks though, including food and beverages, access to clubs, special parking and a guaranteed opportunity to buy a ticket to the Super Bowl.
Oh, you mean I’ll be able to spend thousands MORE on tickets to a Super Bowl that the Chargers inevitably won’t be playing in? Wow. I’d be a fool NOT to reserve my seat today! All views obstructed by errant field goal attempts! It says a lot about today’s NFL that I, a man who stands to profit in no direct way from ticket sales, look down on the Chargers for not being able to rip off their customers as brazenly as the Rams intend to. Only Easton Stick’s family can afford any of this shit.
On the field, the Chargers are standing pat, same way they did against New England in the playoffs. Nothing could possibly go wrong. They signed LB Thomas Davis to provide the kind of fabled “veteran leadership” that never ends up being worth a crap for them in the long run. Oh, and if it’s summer, well then ‘tis the season for this franchise to get into a petty, intractable contract dispute with one of their most important players.
Like clockwork. Every year, the Chargers are hard up for money and end up taking out their relative destitution on their own players and their own fans. That’s how you end up paying $100 to park and $75,000 for the mere RIGHT to buy tickets to watch a team with half its roster sitting in a hometown Chipotle, patiently waiting for their respective agents to call them with the news that Dean Spanos found his way out of his own asshole. Gonna learn a lot about themselves that way!
What has always sucked: All four of the Chargers’ losses last regular season came in Los Angeles. No one likes this team. No one cares about them, even when they’re good. They need Philadelphia Eagles fans to help them sell out a soccer stadium. They have to prep for opposing fan noise at their own home games. They always play their best football when no one is looking. At this point, they exist primarily to help drive up rent prices and infect others with a violent case of Buyer’s Remorse. Everyone still calls them the San Diego Chargers. Everyone knows they’ve been cursed by an angry lava god for like 50 years now. This is the least wanted team in football. San Diego didn’t want them. L.A. certainly doesn’t, and won’t for the next two decades. This team, and its microscopic fanbase, are all sorry rejects.
Here’s the NFL team that SHOULD move to London. And perhaps they will one day. Perhaps Spanos, who has served as an all-purpose Smithers to the 31 other NFL owners’ Mr. Burnses for years now, will piss and moan his way out of being the Rams’ tenant and relocate this team again. And again. And again and again and again. The result will always be the same because the Chargers are always the same: talented but fundamentally braindead. As it stands now, they act as a living embodiment of the NFL overestimating itself. They are the terminus of the football economy: a place where fan indifference and rapacious billionaire greed finally nets a visible, losing result.
Will the NFL learn from this shitheap? Of course not. They’ll just let the Bolts keep shopping around for new officials to bribe and new towns to swindle. Like the NFL itself, Spanos won’t be content until every last well is dry.
He’ll still never win a goddamn thing.
What might not suck: They’re going with the powder blue jerseys for every home game this year. That decision alone pretty much justifies all their other horseshit.
HEAR IT FROM (A FEW) CHARGERS FANS!
Yes, San Diego Chargers. Fuck this LA Chargers shit and I’m FROM LA.
I swore I’d never root for them again after leaving for LA, because if there’s one thing San Diegans hate more than anything, it’s fucking LA. But they are good enough now where they have a real chance to make a decent playoff run, and now I find myself rooting for them harder than ever.
Fuck Dean Spanos with Boltman’s head.
Do you realize if we didn’t shit the bed against the Broncos we’d have been the 1 seed in the AFC? Home field throughout the playoffs. A first round bye. A home game against the 6 seed Colts in round two, and then the winner of the round two bloodbath between the Pats and Chiefs coming to our stadium (such that it is) for the AFC championship game.
All these things could have been ours, but no, Rivers decides to throw the ball out of bounds with 1:58 left and the Broncos out of timeouts to avoid a meaningless sack. That saved the Broncos 40 seconds. How many seconds were left when they kicked the game winning field goal you ask? 3. What was going on when there was 40 seconds left in the game? The Broncos were on their own 45 and down by 2.
And that is how you get the five seed with a tie for the best record in the AFC.
Shoot me in the face.
When the Chargers left San Diego I decided I couldn’t support them anymore and quit paying any attention to the NFL. It was so nice to not give a shit about what happens in the NFL anymore and finally reclaim my relaxing Sundays. Then I moved to Los Angeles and one of my first thoughts was “I can start watching Chargers games again.” Because I can’t allow myself to experience happiness for any significant amount of time. I hate me.
I stopped regularly watching football altogether because they moved to LA. Then they were doing really well last year and got me almost excited again until they predictably got pasted by the Pats.
Rivers claims to be a Christian but won’t give one of his eleventy hundred kids’ kidneys to Haynesworth?
I mean look at this picture of the stands. That’s all red. What were they thinking moving to LA? Isn’t KC like 2000 miles from LA? What are these Chiefs fans even doing there?
This team sucks because they aren’t normal bad, like the Browns. The Browns lose like you would expect, without giving false hope. The Chargers, however, can’t make up their damn mind. For the past 15 years they’ve shown flashes of brilliance. They have been just good enough to give you hope - but they never give the satisfaction of good or bad. It’s a gross lukewarm experience that you can’t get away from, akin to peeing your jeans.
Honestly, last year was one of the best we’ve had. We solved our kicking woes, won close games instead of choking them away, finally beat the Chiefs, made the playoffs, won a playoff game...and promptly got rolled by the Patriots in the AFC Semis so badly that it was over after the first quarter. Brady and Co did whatever they wanted every. single. drive. and I just had to sit there and wonder if we’d ever have a better chance anytime soon.
This year, Rivers is a year older, Melvin is holding out, the AFC West looks better than it did last year. Also it’s our final year in our own (tiny, overrun by away fans) stadium before we officially become second-tier to the Rams, who had an amazing year last year. We’re still just the second best team in our own city! Can’t wait for that.
Number 1 social media team in the league, at least we have that going for us.
I live in Toronto and I cheer for the Los Angeles Chargers due to a series of convoluted (read: stupid) reasons that I won’t get into here.
No, what I’d like to focus on is how the entire franchise has managed to waste so many Hall of Fame careers and flat-out great team seasons with literally nothing but heartbreak and disappointment to show for them. I know it’s counterintuitive to even think about the Chargers in any way, but seriously, consider it: What other team in any frickin’ sport has wasted the skills and talents to the degree the Chargers have? Purely focusing on my fandom years (post-2000ish): LaDainian Tomlinson. Antonio Gates. Junior Seau. Eric Weddle. Even Philip Rivers has nothing but a Baker’s Dozen children to show for his career! I mean, my GOD, if I have to keep hearing about how Marmalard’s draft-mates - the functionally illiterate, derp-faced Eli Manning and he-wishes-he-was-a-functioning-illiterate, gray-dicked Ben Roethlisberger - and their TWO EACH Super Bowl wins, I might lose my ever-loving mind.
But in addition to those HOFers, there was a host of great-for-a-period players and perfectly suited role players who were summarily destroyed by the two-headed anti-coaching monster of Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner. It’s not even like after seasons of 11, 12, 13, and 14 (!) wins there was even a heartbreaking Super Bowl loss. Of course not! Just a single appearance in the AFC Championship game where they lost to - natch - the Patriots.
Oh, and extra points (not from Nate Kaeding, ovs) for moving to L.A. and in the process making all my “San Diego” Chargers gear immediately into hipster-esque retro clothing. Fuck you Chargers, you suck.
And, yes, fuck Marlon McRee AND Nate Kaeding.
Submissions for the NFL previews are closed. Next up: Kansas City Chiefs.