We've finally hit a jersey number that includes both a non-special teams player and a current Chargers player as nominees. Will it be competitive enough that a readers' vote is necessary? The answer can be found when you click below to read the rest of this story...
No. There's your answer. Here are your nominees:
Wade Richey was supposed to be the answer to the problem the Chargers had with John Carner: he didn't boom the ball on kickoffs. It wasn't Carney's fault; his specialty was accuracy, not power. So the Chargers let him go to kick in a dome in New Orleans and signed the big-legged Richey, who was hailed as a "kickoff specialist" that was capable of kicking field goals with inconsistent accuracy. How inconsistent you ask? Let's take a look at his stats...
That's right, in his 4 year career he had 3 seasons of less than 70% accuracy and 1 season of 91.3% accuracy. This, plus the swirling wins at Candlestick, convinced the Chargers that they'd get something in the middle that would match up favorably with Carney's numbers while adding power to the kickoff game. They did not. Wade Richey was eventually known to Chargers' fans as "Wide" Richey for his penchant for kicking field goals to the left or right of the goal posts. Needless to say, he will not be representing #5.
Next up, Craig Whelihan. I always liked Whelihan's potential. He was a big guy (6'5", 220lbs) and intelligent, but he was not very accurate and didn't have much in the way of arm strength. There was something about Whelihan that also seemed too nice. Like he could never be the fiery leader the team wanted him to be. He played 4 seasons with the Chargers, mostly as a backup, and finished with a 2-12 record as a starter. Since his stint with the Chargers, Whelihan has played QB in the XFL and Arena Football League. He is currently the backup QB on the Arena League Champions San Jose SaberCats. He will not be the representative of jersey #5. Which leaves only one player....
Mike Scifres, P
Our first current Chargers player to win the honor! Although he's only 28 years old, Scifres has been one of the best punters in the NFL for each of the past 5 seasons. He has punted the ball 341 times as a Charger while only being blocked once. Mike has posted a Yards/Punt average of over 40 every year, with his best being in 2007 (46.1 Yds/P). He has thrice been a Pro Bowl alternate, but never a starter.
In the Chargers' 2009 Wild Card Playoff versus the Colts, Scifres kicked a 67-yard punt and averaged 51.7 yards with six punts. Also, all his punts during the game were inside the Colts' 20-yard line, with 4 inside their 10-yard line. With many years left in his career, there is no doubt that Mike Scifres will be representing that #5 Chargers jersey for years to come.