We're about a week shy of three months since I took over this blog from Brian (DaBolts). Although it's been all offseason activities (and inactivity) since then, this blog has grown by leaps and bounds. Part of that is because of the content that's being put out by myself, Steve (Grey Suit) and Stephen (shaynes41). An even bigger reason for the rapid growth of this blog (still less than a year old) is you guys. Your abilities to challenge the writers, fans of other teams and each other in the comments and in your own FanPosts is amazing. It's a breath of fresh air for any San Diego Chargers fan that's looking for an intelligent environment, where points are made by research and stats rather than caps lock and exclamation points. I just want to thank all of you for that.
After the jump, a run-down of some of the bigger events in the history of Bolts From The Blue and some teasers of some of the huge announcements that are coming in the next few weeks.
The Inaugural Post - Brian (DaBolts) laid it out in the very first post. The blog was not going to ignore the fact that we're fans of the team, but it is a place to at least TRY to see things in an unbiased and analytical way. My favorite comment is from Axion (who always seems to be author of my favorite comments): "Hadrons are large and colliding".
Chargers-Buccaneers Success & Stop Rates - For some of the commenters that came aboard during this offseason, you may not know Mr. Richard Wade. He's our resident stat guru and all-around classy guy. This post is an example of his weekly Success & Stop Rates post that digs into the stats of each game played by the Chargers. You should make yourself familiar with the way these stats are broken down, because they often provide easy (but unforeseen) answers to why the Bolts won or lost a game. I can't wait for the games to start again so I can spend hours digesting the stats Richard puts together. Maybe I can convince him to break down preseason games.
Rivers is the next Fouts - Does everyone here know Jonny Dub? He's kindof famous. You may be a regular BFTB reader and not realize Jonny is one of our writers. That's because he's busy, and kindof famous. He's spending the NFL offseason fixing up an old house and trying to alleviate his urges to hunt down and kill Kevin Towers (not seriously, he actually spends his life surrounded by adorable cats in sports gear). Anyways, Jonny pops is head in at BFTB every so often and reminds us all that he's an incredible writer and good at research too.
San Diego Chargers beat Indianapolis Colts 23-17 in Overtime - A great rundown from Brian of one of the top 10 games in Chargers history.
Hell of a Season! - This one is personal. I remember being bummed out after the loss to the Steelers and I remember this short post by Jonny Dub got me happy to be a Chargers fan again. I probably would've been bummed out for another week without this coming along.
X's and O's - Eric Weddle - The first installment of the popular series. I know you guys love these and I want to write more of them, but they take two freaking days just to write one. I don't trust myself to remember everything I saw on tape last time (and I've found that watching the tape while staring at one player makes a huge difference), so I have to go back and watch at least a handful of games each time. Even without commercials the games are 2+ hours each. So yes, there are more of these coming, but no I don't know when. I like the idea of trying to do the same thing during the preseason with new players (rookies, Burnett, Forney) to get an idea of their strengths and weaknesses. I'd really love to break down some tape of Paul Oliver playing SS.
Wonderlic Yourself - First off, I believe it's spelled Wunderlik. The book I'm reading right now spells it that way anyways. Secondly, I'm putting the link here to brag. I never took the sample Wunderlik test that Brian links to until just now. I scored a 40 (had 1 wrong answer and didn't get to the last question), which I think is as high as you can score. This definitely means that I'm smarter than Philip Rivers and Drew Brees. I'm also smarter than your average chemist (I actually have a friend who is a chemist, and I wouldn't argue that point). However, it also means I'm as smart as Alex Smith, so I guess it doesn't mean squat.
Welcome Yahoo! Users - Did you know that Bolts From The Blue is the official Chargers blog of Yahoo! Sports? It's true, check Yahoo's team page and you'll see links to our most recent stories (in the powder blue box). You can also find links to our stories on the Chargers' team pages at CBSsports.com, NYtimes.com and soon at WashingtonPost.com (where I'll be doing some guest writing about the Chargers) and SI.com.
The San Diego Chargers Keep LaDainian Tomlinson - I'm glad LT restructured. It was the right thing to do. Even if the Chargers were to cut him, he wouldn't have gotten more than what they're going to be paying him. And my 21 jersey is still current!
What's the Going Rate for a Franchise Quarterback These Days? - A good article from Steve (Grey Suit). I like Steve's posts because they're always short and to the point. He somehow avoids going off on long tangents that are hardly relevant, which seems to be my specialty.
Bolts From The Blue Mock Draft League - Hopefully I'll remember that I want to do this every year. It was fun, but disorganized and kindof rushed. For the 2010 draft I'll have it set up way in advance. Your winner was Wonko, who got a gift card to the NFLshop.com.
San Diego Chargers 2009 NFL Draft Grades - Probably the most popular post in BFTB's short history. There's a lot about this that I would want to re-do, and I might try it over towards the end of training camp.
San Diego Chargers Mini Camp Photos - Also a very popular post. In case you didn't know, SB Nation has a relationship with the Associated Press that feeds each blog AP photos of their team. This means every Monday, when I'm recapping each game, we'll have high quality galleries of professional in-game pictures.
Offensive Linemen Pass Protection Rankings - Stephen (shaynes41) always does a ridiculous amount of research for every post he puts up here. This was probably the most impressive one. I've seen a bunch of other NFL blogs, for other NFL teams, linking to this when discussing their own linemen. Great work. It's posts like these that put BFTB a step ahead of everyone else.
The Los Angeles Chargers? - This one sure rocked a few boats. My mother, who lives in San Diego, called me up the other day and asked me what was going on with the Chargers possibly moving to L.A. Once I explained the situations in Oceanside, Chula Vista, Mission Valley and downtown I told her that it wasn't far-fetched to imagine the Chargers moving up there. She wasn't happy about it. You hear that Chargers? If you move to L.A., my mom won't be very happy with you!
Ticket Winner and Explanation - The biggest contest we've run thusfar. Come this winter, I'll be taking Clip Show to see the Chargers take on the Giant in East Rutherford, NJ. I'd say that we'll be mobile-commenting from the game, but if I even try to keep up with that I'm definitely going to wind up losing my iPhone (this is what I do, I lose possessions at sporting events). I expect it to be completely bonkers and result in a fun Monday re-cap. For the sake of security, Clip Show and myself will be accompanied by a large hockey-playing friend of mine who has a history of breaking peoples' necks.
A Note on Real Names - I went back and forth on this a million times. Even after everyone's names were switched there were a few times I kindof wanted to switch back. Now that it's been this way for a while, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm assuming one day I'll get up the guts to add my last name as well, but we're not there yet.
The Future of BFTB: So, what do we have on tap? A lot, potentially. Unfortunately, a lot of it needs to be kept private for the time being, but you'll be blown away when it finally comes out. I promise. If there's any doubt left that BFTB is the best place on the web for a Chargers fan to hang out, there would be any by the start of the 2009 season. So, what can I tell you about?
- More traffic, more commenters. Traffic has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few months. In January, during the NFL Playoffs, this blog had over 10,000 users. Seems like a lot, right? In June, with hardly anything going on, we had over 25,000 users. In May, which had Chargers Mini Camp, there were over 35,000 users. That's a lot of people. The comments section has gotten better, but there are still a lot of wallflowers out there who are reading but not commenting. Come training camp, preseason and the 2009 season I think the amount of people that visit this blog will double and the comments section will become a madhouse of debate and hilarity. If you take part in any of the conversations over at Gaslamp Ball, you know what to expect.
- Interviews. I know, I keep teasing this, but it's real this time. I have had contact with a couple of players' agents and even have the phone number of one Charger player. We're just trying to find the right time for him to answer the questions. The reason a player or coach interview hasn't happened to this point is part laziness and part busy-ness, but it's all my fault. Expect a couple of interviews in the next few weeks (with rookies up first) and a constant stream of them throughout training camp, preseason and the season. I'm hopeful for one each week, but it's more realistic to expect one each month.
- More contests. I'm holding off until training camp at least because I want the most involvement possible, but I have some things on tap. Prizes include gift cards to San Diego restaurants, keychains and there's a good chance of another contest for a free ticket or tickets to a Chargers game (a home game this time).
- Bolts Night Out. Mentioned before, BNO would be a gathering of fans of BFTB and I'd be there as well. It would probably happen in a bar in downtown San Diego. The reason it's being mentioned now is we will tentatively be having the first Bolts Night Out next month. No date or location has been set yet. Bar recommendations in the comment section are greatly appreciated. First fan to show up at the bar gets a free beer.
More Writing. This one is slightly obvious. As more goes on with the team, there will be more to write about. However, the return of football also means the return of some of our best commenters and writers who have been busy with other sports and projects. I have high hopes that Jonny Dub will be able to do a post every week or every other week. Richard Wade should be backing doing his weekly stat thing. I'm sure Brian (DaBolts) is going to have a hard time not posting stories and comments once things get rolling. I'm also constantly on the lookout for writers who can do high quality posts on a regular basis. If you're interested and want to catch my attention, I recommend you start by writing a FanPost or two.
- Access. BFTB will have access to players, coaches and members of the Chargers front office that cannot be matched by other Chargers blogs. That's really as much as I can say right now. A major announcement will be coming about this within the next few weeks.
As I've done before, I'm going to ask for any input you have. What have I been doing that you like? What have I been doing that you don't like? What would you like to see more or less of? As stated above, bar recommendations for Bolts Night Out would be greatly appreciated.
Do you have any thoughts about Bolts From The Blue? Any tips you want to send our way? Whenever you have something to say, don't hesitate to e-mail me directly.