Two playoff losses advanced from the first round and will meet in this one. The 1979 loss to the Oilers easily bested the 2010 holdouts and the 2008 loss to the Steelers outweighed an entire season of futility. Both of our competitors today were painful, but for different reasons. The 2008 Chargers were badly out-manned by the Steelers and were completely stomped by them while the 1979 Chargers were not only better than the Oilers, they were healthier, at home and among the favorites to win the Super Bowl if they had advanced.
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(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.
(4) On January 11, 2009, one week removed from one of the more exciting games in Charger history, the Chargers would take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional round of the playoffs. Although the final score doesn't look embarrassing now at 35-24, that game was a massacre. The Steelers dominated the 3rd quarter like few teams have ever dominated any period in any sport. The Chargers only got one play on offense in the quarter and it was an interception that wiped out a 63 yard kickoff return by Darren Sproles. The most enduring image from this game, though, is still when the punt hit Eric Weddle in the back of the head and the Steelers recovered. How is this only a five seed? Being a Chargers fan is the worst.
Which was worse?
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