BFTB Tournament of Terrible: Playoff loss to the Oilers or McNeill & Jackson Holdouts?

Donald Miralle

This is no contest. The 1979 team was arguably the best shot the Chargers had to win a Super Bowl and they blew it against an Oilers team missing most of its starting skill position players.

We've reached our last one seed versus eight seed matchup and it's likely to be about as close as the first three. To see the first three contests as well as the rest of the bracket click here.

Our next contest is: (1) The playoff loss to the Houston Oilers vs. (8) Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill holding out.

What happened?

(1) On December 29, 1979 the San Diego Chargers hosted the Houston Oilers in the Divisional round of the playoffs. The Oilers were missing their starting quarterback, running back and wide receiver. The Dan Fouts-led Chargers would outgain Houston by over 100 yards in the young Fouts' first career playoff game, but still manage to lose 17-14. How? Well, that young Fouts would throw five interceptions, four of them were to rookie safety Vernon Perry. This wasn't entirely on Fouts, though, as it was later revealed that the Oilers were able to pick up the Chargers' signs when they were calling in the plays and thus knew what was coming before the snap. The Steelers would end up winning the Super Bowl against the Rams. This is notable because the Chargers blew out both of those teams during the regular season.

(8) Prior to the 2010 season, two of the Chargers' most talented players in wide receiver Vincent Jackson and left tackle Marcus McNeill elected to hold out for bigger paydays by refusing to sign their restricted free agent tenders. Then general manager A.J. Smith, never one to shy away from an opportunity to play hardball, predictably took a hard line stance on the topic and prepared to go through a season without his stars. Shockingly the signing of Tra Thomas was not enough to bolster the offensive line in McNeill's absence and an extension was agreed to in September after McNeill had already missed games. Jackson's holdout would continue even longer. It is not unreasonable to suggest that their absence cost the Chargers the postseason.

Which is worse?

This is no contest. The 1979 team was arguably the best shot the Chargers had to win a Super Bowl and they blew it against an Oilers team missing most of its starting skill position players.

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