This is a great time of year to be thankful for what we have, where we have been, and what the future holds. Although the Chargers have lost their way a bit in recent years, the month of December used to hold such incredible promise! This advent calendar is an attempt to hearken back to these days of December joy. Each day will bring a new advent from the Bolts’ history that makes it wonderful to be a Chargers fan.
Dec. 18: The Quaint Charm of Jack Murphy Stadium
If you have been a Chargers fan for more than 11 months, you are probably familiar with their home stadium of over half a century. SDCCU Stadium, better known as Qualcomm, even better known as ‘The Murph,’ has long stood as a monument to Chargers greatness and the good and bad of Chargers history.
In the early 1960s, local sportswriter Jack Murphy began to build up support for a multi-purpose stadium for San Diego. In November 1965, a $27 million bond was passed, allowing construction to begin on a stadium. The style of this stadium is called brutalist architecture, which was a staple through many cities and public spaces throughout the sixties. This particular style has not aged well in many cities, and ‘The Murph’ is one structure among many of the style that is planned for replacement in the near future.
This multi-purpose stadium in San Diego opened in 1967 as San Diego Stadium and was later known for many years as Jack Murphy Stadium (currently, due to naming rights being sold, the field itself is now known as Jack Murphy Field). From 1997 to 2017, the stadium's naming rights were owned by Qualcomm, a pitch to help modernize the stadium with additional seating. In an odd anecdote, the stadium was temporarily renamed "Snapdragon Stadium" for 10 days in December 2011 as a marketing tie in for Qualcomm's Snapdragon brand. The Qualcomm naming rights expired on June 14, 2017 and the stadium was renamed on September 19, 2017. Current naming rights are owned by San Diego County Credit Union who paid $500,000 for the rights through December 31, 2018.
It is the current home of the San Diego State Aztecs football team. One college football bowl game, the Holiday Bowl, is held in the stadium every December. The stadium was the longtime home of both the Padres and the Chargers. The Chargers played at the stadium from 1967 through the 2016 season, while the Padres played home games at the stadium from their founding in 1969 through the 2003 season, when they moved to Petco Park. The stadium was also home to a second college bowl game, the Poinsettia Bowl, from 2005 until its discontinuation following 2016.
The stadium has hosted three Super Bowl games: Super Bowl XXII in 1988, Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, and Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. It has also hosted the 1978 and 1992 Major League Baseball All-Star Games, as well as games of the 1996 and 1998 National League Division Series, the 1984 and 1998 National League Championship Series, and the 1984 and 1998 World Series. It is the only stadium ever to host both the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same year (1998), and is one of three stadiums to host the World Series, MLB All-Star Game, and Super Bowl.
Since the Chargers' departure, a proposal has emerged which involves a group of investors who propose to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. They have offered to purchase the SDCCU Stadium site from the City of San Diego if their application for a soccer franchise is approved, and to construct a smaller, soccer-specific stadium outside the footprint of the current stadium. This stadium would be shared with the San Diego State University football program, allowing SDCCU Stadium to be demolished upon its completion. The proposal includes residential and commercial development and space set aside for a public park. As of right now, nothing is absolutely certain regarding The Murph’s future as a building, though the space will likely continue to hold sporting events well into the future.
On October 8 of this year, as part of a benefit to raise money for the recent Central-Mexico earthquake, Coldplay held a live event at the Murph for over 54,000 people. The event was a success, raising nearly $6 million for the cause. In one way or another, Jack Murphy Stadium is still rocking and rolling well into 2017. May it long be so!
-Jason “Good Names Die Hard” Michaels