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BFTB Tournament of Terrible: Chargers trade away Fred Dean or get blown out by Detroit?

Our second 2 vs 7 matchup contrasts an ill advised trade and an epic collapse.

Dave Reginek

Our previous two seed versus seven seed matchup was separated by a little over a month. Our next two are separated by three decades. You can find the whole bracket by clicking here.

Without further ado: (2) Chargers trade away Fred Dean vs (7) Chargers lose big to Detroit.

What happened?

(2) Fred Dean was traded mid-season in 1981 due to a contract dispute. In 1981, Dean had earned $67,500 and as a future Hall of Famer in the prime of his career was due for a raise. The San Diego Chargers ownership (who were notoriously unwilling to renegotiate and had previously traded away the great John Jefferson) wasn't interested and sent Dean to the 49ers for some draft picks. The Chargers defense was instantly much worse and the 49ers' instantly much better. Fred Dean would win the UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year award and his new team would win the Lombardi Trophy. The Chargers, meanwhile, would still manage to make it to the AFC Championship Game, but lose. Dean's absence was notable. He would not be meaningfully replaced until the Chargers drafted Leslie O'Neal five years later.

(7) The 7-7 San Diego Chargers had won three straight games and were still alive in the playoff hunt as they traveled to Detroit on December 24, 2011. That wouldn't last long as they were dominated in every phase of the game. The offense couldn't get going and was only able to post 10 points after the game was already out of reach. The defense simply couldn't get off the field as the Lions threw and ran all over them. The final score was 38-10, but it wasn't nearly so close as that score suggests. This was the game we all thought would get Norv Turner fired. We misread Dean Spanos on that, but in retrospect it probably should have resulted in Turner getting his walking papers.

Which is worse?

Yeah, we're not telling you now that there's some debate to be had. They both hurt. Vote in the poll and tell us what you think in the comments.