I was born, raised, and spent all of the first 28 years of my life in San Diego. My wife and I started dating in San Diego, got married in San Diego, and started our lives together in San Diego. So to say I have a soft spot for San Diego would be an understatement.
I became a fan of the Chargers because they were the team that represented my home town, the city I loved and called home. The most important part of the “San Diego Chargers” name was the San Diego portion of that. This was over 20 years ago already, before the Super Bowl run.
Growing up in San Diego, one develops a sizable distaste for Los Angeles. Whether it’s little brother syndrome, or just a protective love of the city you call home, there’s a certain hatred of Los Angeles that comes from being a San Diegan. I’ll be the first to admit that there’s nothing rational about the Los Angeles hate, but then again there is little rational about sports fandom too.
The national narrative has been, “so what, they move an hour up the 5? Just support them in LA too!” Inglewood is 120 miles from Qualcomm Stadium. Philadelphia is 90 miles from East Rutherford. Care to ask any Giants fans why they don’t just root for the Eagles when they’re so close?
When the Chargers announced their plans to move to Carson with the Raiders, we all laughed. Then the year went on and the Chargers never backed down. As an organization, they put more effort into building field on top of trash than they did fixing the trash team that was playing on the field. By the end of the 2015 season, I had had enough, and decided to take a step back and not be as invested in the team as I once was.
I’m glad I did, because this would probably hurt way more than it already does. And it does still hurt, it hurts bad. I hurt for the fans who stuck it out in San Diego and abroad. I hurt for the people who depended on the Chargers for their livelihoods. I hurt for the employees at Chargers park who aren’t coaches or upper management, who have to make a decision about moving or are out of a job now. I hurt for the citizens of San Diego who will never get to cheer for their favorite player as they parade the Lombardi Trophy down the streets of San Diego.
But you know what, as much as it still hurts, it’s rather freeing now.
The Chargers are easily one of the worst-run franchises in all of sports. The only reason they aren’t talked about on the same level as the Cleveland Browns is because of Philip Rivers and also beaches. But the truth of the matter is that any success the Chargers had was because of luck, not because they’re a well-run organization. Dean Spanos has no business owning an NFL franchise. He can’t afford it for one, and he has literally made the wrong decision every time he’s been forced to make one.
When your favorite team is so bad for so long, the sunk cost fallacy comes into play. “I’ve invested so much time and money into this losing organization, the reward will be so worth it when it finally comes.” But the fact of the matter is there is nothing lovable about this organization. There are no redeeming factors. Sure Rivers-to-Gates is fun to watch, but I can just watch highlights after the game.
Now, Dean Spanos has announced the team’s departure from its home of 56 years in a letter posted to Twitter. It’s the most Dean Spanos thing to do, cowardly hide behind a letter and not face the music.
I gave the Chargers a lot of my time, attention, and money over the years. I’ve met a lot of great people and made some great friends because of the Chargers, especially my colleagues here on this very site, past and present.
Through bad decision after bad decision, or losing season after losing season, I still came back because I loved this team. The Chargers in return have given me more heartbreak than hope over that same period of time. There is absolutely no reason for me to follow, support, or even root for the Los Angeles Chargers.
So, where do I go from here? I’m not sure yet. I adopted the San Diego Chargers because they represented my home team, and geography dictated they represented me as well.
I live in Denver now. I absolutely love it, and I love Colorado. So geography dictates that the Denver Broncos represent me now. Sure, they’re a hated division rival. But they did just win the most recent Super Bowl. They have a competent front office and they respect their fans. Maybe for once, the grass really is greener?
Time will tell where I end up, but Dean Spanos can be 100% assured it won’t be in Los Angeles, supporting his sorry excuse of a franchise.