What Did He Say?
For those of you that did not follow, or have forgotten my team history series (which will be back this off-season, I promise), it will be fairly important for you to refer to this chapter of that history, way back in the tumultuous 1977 season. This was the season in which Dan Fouts nearly become an obscure answer to an expert level trivia question about San Diego sports history. Go take a look now, if you don’t personally remember or recall my team chapter of the team's history of when the Chargers nearly convinced Fouts to retire at the age of 26.
There is something that has bothered me about Fouts and his career and my memory of his often contentious dealings with the team. Dan Fouts played some of his worst football in the playoffs. These efforts were not too long after he stated before the NFL grievance committee that if he remained a Charger he would "never be able to win a Super Bowl". That is bad enough and certainly turned out to be true, but it was the statement immediately before that one that has bothered me for years. The exact words, as reported in the San Diego Union, were:
"The Chargers will never be a championship team."
I have never heard Dan Fouts publicly retract that statement.
This really bothers me and has bothered me for years.
Words have power; if you don’t believe ask any competent attorney if I am lying. "All men are created equal" – those words fueled enough people to risk death and torture in a revolution against the world’s superpower at the time to make the words reality. Some of the more spiritual people I know tell me that the power of life and death is in the words we speak. I believe that to be true.
I have seen enough failures in businesses, relationships, and efforts to grow beaten down produced from an offhand remark or quick statement made in anger or frustration to believe that to be true. I have also seen that an encouraging word or an affirmation of a positive fuel successes in businesses, relationships, and a person growing into a powerful identity.
So, Mr. Fouts, here is the heart of the matter....
I believe that when you uttered those words in New York more than 37 years ago, you gave power to a thought and that power was strong enough to become your destiny – one of the greatest QB’s (along with Dan Marino) to never win a Super Bowl. I also believe that statement, which (to my knowledge) you have never retracted, retained enough power to contribute to the nearly four decades of Charger football since then with only one Conference Championship to show for it.
It is way past time for you to publicly retract or negate the statement you gave life to in 1977. It does not have to be anything dramatic, just a simple statement right before the kick or during the next Bolt game you do color commentary for. Something like this:
"You know, the Chargers have as much chance as any team in the league in getting a Lombardi Trophy."
That’s all. Something simple; a positive antidote if you will, to the negativity you spoke into your own career and the future of the team you spent your entire Hall of Fame career playing for. Mr. Fouts, some of my most precious memories are of watching you play football. But only you can make right a wrong statement you made in one of the sorriest chapters of the team’s history. No, the Chargers should not have screwed around with your contract and then brought in that overpaid journeyman hack from the Rams. Yes, the late Gene Klein made some absurd personnel moves and we Charger fans were lucky that you were still there when Don Coryell, God rest his soul, came home to San Diego.
But that statement made in anger against your team needs to be set right and fixed. Please fix this, Mr. Fouts. Neither of us are getting any younger and I want to see my favorite sports franchise get a long overdue Lombardi Trophy.