The relationship between the Raiders and Chargers is unique in professional football. Sure, other teams have hired away up and coming assistants like the Raiders hired away Al Davis from the Chargers in 1963. None of the other assistants became a team owner, engaged in litigation with the rest of the league and caused the owner of his original team to have a heart attack on the witness stand, only to have the owner that had the coronary event sue the other team owner for causing it.
Davis, while still an assistant coach for the Chargers, did pick the pocket of the Raiders prior to the 1962 draft to get the rights to Lance Alworth. That bad trade has been repaid with exorbitant interest since then, many times over.
Consider the strange case of Steve Ortmeyer. After working under Davis for 9 years, Ortmayer was named as the Chargers GM in 1987. He was fired in 1990, and immediately rehired by Davis. Nothing that Ortmayer did in San Diego as GM warranted him ever getting a job in an NFL front office again, unless his original mandate from Davis in 1987 was to destroy the Bolts. That task, Ortmayer performed to perfection. Drafts filled with the likes of Mark Vlassic, Billy Joe Tolliver, Rod Bernstine, and Joe Campbell insured that the Bolts had a talent hole to climb out of for many years.
And in the case of Jim Lachey, Ortmayer actually worked a deal to make the Bolts’ bitterest rivals better. Lachey was the Bolts’ #1 pick in 1985 and 2nd team All-Pro Left Tackle in 1987. Insisting that he wanted to play for a team closer to his native Ohio, he held out at the start of the 1988 training camp. He ended up getting traded to the silver & black crew, then in their pandering to the gangs in LA phase of their accursed existence. I suppose LA is closer to Ohio than San Diego. My grandfather and I both concluded after the trade that Ortmayer was never really off of Davis’ payroll and had been tasked with ruining the Chargers. The quick rehire of Ortmayer by Davis was all the confirmation grandpa and I needed.
Granddad and I never did settle the issue of whether Davis had simply made a deal with the devil or whether he was possessed, and if possessed, was it by a major or minor demon? Grandpa was charitable and held to the sold his soul theory. He started to agree with my theory of demon possession after the Unholy Roller game in 1978. Of course by that time, I began to wonder if Davis was actually the devil himself.
The Games of Shame
Davis did pass away nearly two years ago and while his impact on the game cannot be disputed, his team’s tormenting of the franchise that gave him a start in pro-football cannot be forgotten. I personally saw:
November 21, 1971: The Bolts blow a 24-10 half-time lead to lose to them in Oakland 34-33. This was Sid Gillman’s last game as a Charger Head Coach.
September 10, 1978: Satan’s minions get an undeserved win on a disgraceful mockery of a travesty of a sham gift from the officials with no time on the clock in a game in which the Bolts had been kicking their sorry tails up one side of the field to the other. The team collapses after that game and Coach Prothro resigned 15 days later.
January 11, 1981: After winning the AFC West for the 2nd straight year, the Bolts host the AFC Championship game. Their opponent is the source of all evil and suffering in the world, still based in Oakland, although trying to get to gangland, USA. Jim Plunkett throws for two TD’s and runs for a 3rd in the 1st quarter. The Bolts cannot recover, lose 34-27, and fail to go to the Super Bowl.
September 28, 1986: After getting his nose broken in 8 places on a late hit shot to the face by Howie Long (A hit that would have had Long much lighter in the wallet in today’s league, but did not even draw flag then. It should have.), Dan Fouts gets his nose taped and returns to the game. The Bolts lose to the masters of the personal foul 17-13.
October 11, 1998: 39 year old Wade Wilson, 3rd string QB for the powers of darkness (now back in Oakland), replaces an ineffective Donald Hollas early in the 4th quarter. He completes 1 pass on 7 attempts. The one completion is a 68 yard TD pass with 1:28 left to go in the game. The Chargers lose 7-6 in one of Ryan Leaf’s better games with the Bolts; 7-18 for 78 yards and 3 INT’s in a game that featured 27 punts, 5 turnovers and 359 yards of total offense combined for both teams.
This is a much abbreviated list. I have left out many games from the dark years of 14 straight losses to that team (1970 -1977). In that time, Watergate disgraced a President, an oil embargo threw our economy into a tailspin, and South Vietnam fell to the communists. Coincidence you say? No.
The last home game against them I saw was November 12, 1989. The Bolts won 14-12 and I laughed at each of Jay Schroeder's 3 INT's. I was so happy during the game, that I even managed to not accidently spill anything on the 13 year old kid in front of me rooting for LA. Or accidently kneeing him in the head. Which brings us to our last topic; the wonderful people that root for satan’s favorite team…
This is known as risking your life:
As is this:
Exaggeration you say? Again, no. I will give the inhabitants of the black hole some credit. They at least have not started a war over a win or loss, unlike one rather unfortunate situation in Central America 40 years ago.
The Stadium in San Diego typically increases security during the annual home game against the rivals, but is still unable to prevent incidents like this. No playoffs at stake, nothing but draft position left in doubt, and an entire section booted.
In all seriousness, there is a huge difference between a team’s best competitor and a team’s HATED RIVAL. Denver is the most serious and dangerous (on the field) competitor right now, with Kansas City looking like they want the job. These teams are divisional OPPONENTS, not rivals. I still hate the rivals and I always will.
Some of you younger fans may not perceive the difference between opponents and a rival, yet, but someday you will know the truth. The only team in the AFC West DESERVING of hatred is the Raiders.
Personally, if I see a raider fan or a raider game on my deathbed, my last words will probably look something like this: