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. 3: December Football
Can you feel it? It’s in the air. Not quite fall, but not quite spring. AH YES, winter! Chargers football has always been a force to reckon with in the winter.
Philip Rivers has led the charge in regards to this late-season renaissance.
Since taking over as quarterback of the San Diego Chargers in 2006, Rivers has helped lead them to a 35-17 record in games played in December and January.
Last year it was 35-14.
Clearly, from this small sample, you could make out a trend that has recently lost most of its juice. But do not let the McCoy years dampen your holiday spirits! The Chargers were, and, arguably are, incredibly successful on the field come December.
Well, until recently...
As recently as 2014, NFL.com had this to say:
"Tom Brady has the best record (45-7, .865 winning pct) of any active starting QB in December. Philip Rivers has the 2nd-best record of any active starting QB in December (30-6, .833). This list has a big jump, where Peyton Manning sits in third place (46-20, .697)."
This wasn’t just blind optimism- the Chargers could really turn it on to make Christmas season merry! However, that optimism has withered away since the last time the Chargers made the playoffs. Since 2013, the Chargers have posted a 2-13 record for post-November football.
What’s worse, they haven’t won in the late season since December 20, 2015.
But this is NOT an article on how sad they have been lately, it’s a celebration of how successful they have historically been in this month!
Let’s take the best years that really encapsulate this statistical anomaly. That would be 2006 -
2006 - 5-0 (Philip Rivers begins starting with the Chargers)
2007 - 5-0
2008 - 4-0 (you’re starting to see where this label comes from, aren’t you?)
2009 - 5-0
2010 - 3-2 (Philip Rivers marks his FIRST December loss)
2012 - 3-2
2013 - 4-1
I don’t care who you are, that’s impressive. During Rivers’ first 8 years with the franchise, they went 33-6 in December. No, let’s reduce that further. In Rivers’ first 4 years with the Chargers, they did not lose in regular-season football after November. That just does not happen!
With the slow degradation of that record from the years 2011 onward, you can start to make the case on numbers alone that the wins and losses are largely a matter of coaching and scheme. What’s especially painful, though, is that from 2014 - NOW the Chargers have marked up a 2-14 record in this pivotal month.
Things are looking ripe for a turnaround.
-Jason “A December to Remember Sales Event” Michaels