The LA Chargers are the surprise of the league at 6-2, but they still struggle to fill a soccer stadium with hometown fans. The Breakout Live team debates whether it’s time for Los Angeles to embrace the Chargers and their future Hall of Fame quarterback. And from San Diego’s perspective, if your team moved to a neighboring city, would you continue to support them?
First and foremost, the Chargers are not the surprise of the league for me. I said in my Breakdowns last week that LA is the third best team in the AFC, and I fully believed that in Week 1. Offensively, they’re as talented as anyone, on par with New England and the Rams and just a tick below KC and New Orleans. The big question marks were on defense, but the addition of rookie Derwin James has been huge and they’ve played much better lately, even without Pro Bowler Joey Bosa. Just imagine what that D will look like when 99 returns.
Of course it’s time for LA to embrace the Chargers, but they won’t. Not only is LA a fair weather city that only roots for winners, it’s also a transient city. It’s filled with people from other places who have deep-rooted allegiances to other teams. But even now that the Chargers are winning, no one cares. I’ve been to Stub Hub Center this year, and it’s embarrassing to see fans of the visiting team outnumber Chargers fans every game. The stadium holds only 30,000 – that’s smaller than the capacity of 107 college teams, including 5 FCS teams – and they still can’t seem to fill the place.
I hate the idea of two teams in the same city, even one as big as LA. The Chargers don’t belong here, and I’m not sure they ever will. The Rams make sense because they were here before, and as long as they’re winning (which they’re set up to do for the long term), the Chargers will struggle to find a foothold.
I know a lot of Chargers fans, and the majority of them still root for the team, albeit not nearly as fervently as before. If you’ve been a fan of a team for decades, it’s impossible to just cut those ties and root for somebody else. I know I wouldn’t be able to. It’s sad, and it won’t get much better. Dean Spanos is a greedy dope for thinking this could ever work.
George “Cannonball” West
(Former Lifelong Chargers Fan)
Of course a market as shallow as Los Angles should embrace the Los Angeles Chargers. The plastic fantastic Hollywood/Beverly Hills crowd can hang their Rivers’ jersey right next to their brand spanking new LeBron jersey, and their still in the plastic, once-worn 2014 Stanley Cup Champion King’s sweater. Just think if the Chargers play the Rams for the Super Bowl, you can’t lose!
There is no market more perfect than the City of Angels for a bandwagon of fans with lightning bolt neck tattoos that they just charged to a credit card they have no hope of paying off with the side job they keep while they hope to become an actor/screenwriter/clothing designer.
But while it is cosmically cool to embrace the Chargers as an Angelino, it would be a sin to continue to support the squad that Spanos stole if you live in San Diego. To live in America’s Finest City and still support the Chargers would be like staying in love with a partner who left you for your rich former college roommate who has relocated two hours north. You can’t do it. You can’t stay in love with the infidel who broke your heart, especially if he/she lives with-in driving distance.
Forget all the spectacular memories and get a new love, preferably one that won’t empty your piggy bank and then leave you so they can to sublet at Wal-Mart.
As a Los Angeles resident, I feel compelled to give respect to this Chargers team – if not the ownership – simply because I think Rivers is one of his generation’s best. But it’s going to be a long time before this city embraces the Chargers.
If you’re not familiar with the Los Angeles market, it’s a strange one for football. First, you have millions of transplants who brought allegiances from somewhere else. Second, the city has a troubled history with the NFL. It loved the Rams but wrote them off when they moved to Anaheim (long before they moved to St. Louis). And LA completely embraced the Raiders after moving here from Oakland, yet strangely still hailed the Silver & Black after they returned to Oakland a mere decade later. Now that the Rams are back (and very good), people seem willing to forgive and forget. But the Chargers? They’re the Raiders’ rival from down south who never had an LA following, despite the fact that the NFL forced LA to be the Chargers’ official market and blacked out other NFL games for years.
Confused? So is Los Angeles. But I do think the young generation from the southern region of LA (where the Chargers play) will grow up identifying with this team, so there’s long-term hope that the Chargers might find their fans like the Clippers ultimately did.
As to whether I would continue to support my team, the Bengals, if they moved to the next city? Sure, but it’s easy for me since I’m already 2,000 miles away from the team and no longer identify with The Queen City of the West. But I’m not sure the locals could handle rooting on the Columbus Bengals. And I can certainly empathize with the residents of San Diego, a great fan base who deserved much better than what the Spanos family did to them.
Senior News & Fantasy Editor
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As for relating to San Diego fans, I once saw my favorite hockey team move from Minnesota to Dallas where they won the Stanley Cup they never won in Minnesota, and I didn’t even notice. Once they left Minnesota, they were dead to me. Today, with the internet, and all the ways to keep up with your team, I would continue to support my team if they left. If San Diego fans aren’t, they’re missing something special, outside of the field goal kicking.