This has already been touched on in the post and comment listed above, but there seems to be too many Chargers fans wrapped up in the idea that winning this final game would be good for the team. So, in lieu of a game preview post this week, I will play the bad guy and tell you why it's dumb to root for the Chargers on Sunday.
Reasons to Play to Lose:
- The San Diego Chargers would get a higher draft pick in each round of the 2011 NFL Draft. This could only help in keeping the roster stocked with a high level of talent.
- The Denver Broncos would get a lower draft pick in each round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
- As Wonko clearly outlined, a Chargers loss and a Raiders win makes the Chargers 2011 schedule easier. Instead of facing the Jaguars and Ravens (probably), the Chargers would face the Texans or Titans and the Browns or Bengals.
- Norv Turner could put in the guys that are down on the depth chart (Seyi Ajirotutu, Brandon Lang, Vaughn Martin, Cam Thomas, Darrell Stuckey, etc.) and give them some on-field experience. If they win the game, so be it, but at least he would not be risking injury to his stars for a meaningless victory.
- On the same note, Philip Rivers is the whole team and there's no young QB waiting in the wings. Having what happened to Drew Brees happen to him would absolutely decimate the team.....for no reason at all. Except pride, and I happen to come from the Marsellus Wallace school of thought on pride ("F**k pride.").
What possible reason is there to trot Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Vincent Jackson and company to try and beat the Broncos? Pride is silly. The only difference I see in a 9-7 season and an 8-8 season is better draft position. Do you think the Broncos are going to gain some great advantage next season by beating up on Billy Volek and a bunch of rookies?
Plain and simple, this is a pre-season game in which the stars don't need to work off the rust. Actually, it's better if they don't risk it. And the team that loses gets rewarded with a better draft and an easier schedule next year. Doesn't that seem to say that whoever loses the game....wins?
Think about it, teams play each week of the season to jockey for a better position in the standings and eventually a better position in the playoffs. Well, the Chargers have been eliminated from the playoffs and playing for 2nd place in the division instead of 3rd should be meaningless for a team that has won the division 5 out of the last 7 seasons. At that point, the team is playing pass/fail with "Did we win the division?" as the determining factor on the success of the season.
On that grading scale, this season has been a failure. That much can not be changed. It is time to start jockeying for a more advantageous position for future success, namely in 2011. It seems like losing the game, or at least resting the starters, would be the smart first step to take towards the goal. If you're rooting for the Chargers to win this weekend, you're rooting for them to have a harder road back to the top of the division in the future.