The San Diego Chargers have lost the majority of their local fanbase. That was on display in high-definition on my television yesterday afternoon, as Qualcomm Stadium sat seemingly half-empty in what will likely end up being the last NFL game ever played in San Diego.
After the game, an embarrassing affair where the team put its star players on the field in a meaningless capacity and still came nowhere near competing with their division rival, the Chargers decided to “dismiss” Head Coach Mike McCoy.
This is not Marty Schottenheimer being fired because he can’t get the team over the hump, this is a tear-down.
Last offseason, the Chargers fired nearly every assistant coach and retained McCoy and Defensive Coordinator John Pagano. The message was clear: They wanted to give McCoy one more chance, and to do so they had to blame his assistants.
In his one more chance, McCoy’s Chargers improved from 4-12 (0-6 against the AFC West) to 5-11 (1-5 against the AFC West). It was not enough and now he’s off to find employment elsewhere in the league.
Assuming the Chargers are starting 2017 in Los Angeles, I am not quite sure what the team is expecting the fans (new and returning) to be rooting for. They can’t root for a long history of championships, or an intelligent coaching staff, or even a functional front office.
The Spanos family, starting with Dean and trickling down to A.G. and John, have always tried to hide in the shadows while running the organization. Unfortunately, over the last few years, their hands have left fingerprints all over the mistakes made by the team.
Rooting for the team because they’re “your team” is no longer an option. Not after the way the Chargers pissed on their long-time fans on their way out of town.
Rooting for Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates and other players you like (hi, Keenan Allen and Jason Verrett!) is fine, but then you’re not exactly rooting for the team. It’s not like if Rivers goes down with an injury you’re going to continue rooting for Kellen Clemens to have great success.
You can’t possibly talk yourself into rooting for this front office because you can’t possibly talk yourself into believing in them. They are incompetent, through and through, and part of that is because the GM (who was hired away from an equally dysfunctional organization) can easily be overruled by the team owner’s son (or grandson, if you want to be specific).
I want to hear the sales pitch the Chargers have ready for San Diego, or even Los Angeles, to try and keep and build on their fanbase in 2017. I can’t imagine it’s going to be on the back of their Head Coach, because they notoriously underpay their coaches and therefore won’t be able to sign someone who really gets fans on board.
Why do the Chargers think they’ll be able to have a fanbase in 2017 after the way they have acted, on and off the field, over the last few seasons? Do they think they’ll be rewarded for simply existing?