Chargers’ move to L.A. a total disgrace
Following pro football in the Bay Area, you get used to lame ownership. There’s Jed York, completely overmatched at the 49ers’ helm. There’s Mark Davis, who can’t wait to leave Oakland with the Raiders in historic rise.
Such jokers are everywhere, sad to say, and none more reviled this week than Dean Spanos, who has decided to move the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles for his personal convenience.
The Chargers’ fans are as vibrant and loyal as any in the country, but people get worn down after a while. When Spanos asks the public to help pay for a stadium, the public rebels. So he pouts, throws away 56 years of tradition and moves north to share the fledgling Inglewood stadium with the Rams in two years, playing in Carson (the soccer-centric StubHub Center) in the meantime.
In a scathing column themed “We don’t want you,” L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said it was unavoidable for the NFL to have two teams in town. “The problem is, the second team should have been the Raiders,” he wrote. “The Southland is filled with Raiders fans everywhere. I have still never met a single Chargers fan.” And when the Raiders play the Chargers, “The stadium will be painted in silver and black. At least that game will be sold out.”
Under normal circumstances, there will be plenty of empty seats if the Chargers falter. What the hell does Spanos care? He’s finally got his spanking new luxury suite.
Spanos doesn’t get that San Diego is coach Sid Gillman, who revolutionized the passing game. It’s Paul Lowe and Keith Lincoln, John Hadl to Lance Alworth, the electrifying Junior Seau and one of the most explosive pass-catch combinations of all time, Dan Fouts to John Jefferson (not to mention Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow).
There are people in San Diego who remember all of that. There are young fans enamored with the players, the scene, the uniform. “This is hard to fathom,” said a disconsolate Fouts on ESPN on Wednesday night. But it really isn’t. Rams to St. Louis, Browns to Baltimore, Colts to Indianapolis — this is how the NFL operates, choosing greed over perspective and treating fans like a big pile of garbage.