For all the talk from Chargers fans about how this team will never go anywhere, and how A.J. Smith's ego is ruining things almost as much as Norv Turner's buffoonery, has anybody ever actually thought things through and figured out exactly what it is that this Chargers team doesn't have that other successful teams do?
Here's a theory I've been working on, and I'd like you guys to use the comments section below to either support it or combat it. I'll get it started.
What the Chargers lack, and recent Super Bowl teams have, is at least one star defensive player. A playmaker that seems to make at least one big play to turn the tide of the game each week. The type of guy that, if he hits the open market, is unquestionably the best free agent out there and gets paid accordingly. Remember when people were wondering just how many hundreds of millions of dollars Shawne Merriman would be making? The Chargers need another guy like that, and they need him fast.
Looking at the four remaining playoff teams, I could make a case for star players on each one.
Chicago Bears: Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher turned last year's 21st ranked defense into this year's 4th best.
Green Bay Packers: Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Clay Matthews are amongst the best at their positions. B.J. Raji is turning into a star as well.
New York Jets: Stacked with defensive talent, with Bart Scott, Darrelle Revis and Kris Jenkins leading the way (all amongst the top paid at their respectivepositions).
Pittsburgh Steelers: Troy Polamalu is a future Hall of Famer, and James Harrison is one of the most feared defensive players in the league.
Actually, that last point is a good one. Polamalu, Peppers, Urlacher, Charles Woodson, Darrelle Revis.....these are guys that could become Hall of Famers after they retire. How many guys do the Chargers have like that on their defense? Eric Weddle, Quentin Jammer and Shaun Phillips are all great players, but I don't know that any of them would be one of the top 3 free agents in the league if the Chargers did not re-sign them for next season.
So, how many examples can you find of teams getting to, or winning, the Super Bowl with (or without) star defensive players? I can think of a few just off the top of my head (I don't believe the Patriots ever made a Super Bowl without Ty Law or Asante Samuel, the Colts couldn't win without Bob Sanders, the Giants needed Tuck and Strahan, etc.). Come up, and research, your own and post them in the comments section.
Later, I'll do my best to come up with a plan to bring a big-time defensive playmaker to San Diego.