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Chargers by the (Jersey) Numbers: #50

A good one! All hail! In fact, as we get into the 50s, we’re gonna start to see some great battles among some pretty good linebackers. But you’ll have to forgive the 50s for starting out with one of the best players at one of the most underappreciated positions in all of football, and forgive me for selecting him as the winner without a vote.

50 is one of the rare numbers where you could actually make a case for up to 4 players winning. Here’s a quick word about a couple guys who didn’t quite get to the "finals."

Carlos Bradley, LB

Ben Donnell, DE

Don Goode, LB

Gary Plummer, ILB

Jack Protz, LB

Lee Roy Caffey, LB

The Almosts

Don Goode was a marginal linebacker who logged a lot of football miles for the Chargers. For that, he deserves some accolades. But he played on a lot of bad defenses, and was gone before the Coryell era really took flight. Extra minus points for being on the field for the Holy Roller and NOT DIVING ON THE FOOTBALL!!

Gary Plummer was slightly better than Goode – even though the defenses he played on were about the same. Extra minus points for being the idiot who "took the monkey off the back" of the most arrogant, self-centered quarterback in the history of the NFL at the end of Super Bowl XXIX. No, I’m not bitter. It’s not bitterness when it’s the truth. Only Steve Young would think that winning a Super Bowl is only about him. Don’t get me started…

The Runner-up


Chuck Allen, LB

For those of us who never knew him or saw him play, Chuck Allen was really good! One of the best in Charger history, in fact. There were a lot of stars on that AFL team’s defense, but Allen was arguably the straw that stirred the drink.

Stats don’t really do the man justice, mainly because there is no record of exactly how many tackles he made. But he did amass 20 interceptions in eight seasons as a Linebacker!

Those AFL years were a magical time for the Chargers. The team was under .500 only once, and they had more successive years over .500 than any time since then. And Allen was there for all of it (except for the L.A. year, which doesn’t really count anyway).

He was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1984, and was voted one of the 50 Greatest Chargers this past year. That SHOULD be enough to win a Golden Jersey. In fact, no one should have been allowed to wear number 50 after him. But many did. And one has worn it longer than any player has worn any other number in Charger history.

The Winner


David Binn, LS

No one has played in more games as a Charger than Binn. Why? Because he’s damn good at what he does. And while what he does doesn’t get a lot of credit, and may in fact get laughed at on the playgrounds, it’s pretty difficult to do – consistently. Go ahead and test yourself.

First of all, throw a spiral. Got that mastered? Now throw a spiral underhanded. Not that hard? Now throw a spiral underhanded 15 yards – on a line. Takes a little muscle, but doable. Now do it between your legs. Oh, and start with it on the ground – without getting dizzy and falling over. And then be ready to get hit by guys who weigh up to 300 pounds – while you’re still looking back between your legs. Got it? Now could you please run 45 yards down the field as fast as you can and tackle a guy who makes Michael Jackson look immobile? And that’s just for punts! Wanna snap for field goals and extra points? Okay, that whole snapping-between-your-legs thing? Now do it 7-8 yards without the ball getting more than a foot off the ground. Once you’ve mastered that – but ONLY once you’ve mastered that -- you may then date Pamela Anderson!

Oh, and by the way, don’t ever make a mistake. In all the years I’ve watched Binn -- and this is #16 – I’ve never seen him make a bad snap. Ever. "Okay," says Mr. Naysayer, "so he’s got a technique. Good for him." Hey, I’ve got a technique for brushing my teeth. But sometimes I miss one! Binn doesn’t. Ever. (And I’ll bet he’s got great teeth.)

To say that Binn is the best long snapper the Chargers have ever had is a no-brainer. To say he’s the best the NFL has ever had is debatable. But I just said it, so debate it. Come up with someone better. Stop – you can’t. Now, can you say that about any other position player in Charger history? That, above all else, is why he gets the Golden Jersey.