There are likely a ton of Chargers fans who are tired of hearing the annual offseason hype surrounding the team. It’s been this way for the better part of the past decade but it’s unfortunately only led to disappoint and unmet expectations.
But at the same time, fans can still be positive and optimistic about this team without going full “We’re going to the Super Bowl!” in the middle of June. It’s a tough balance to strike, and some may feel like they’re not respecting the franchise enough if they aren’t outwardly a “die-hard” at any given time, but just know that it’s perfectly fine to be “cautiously optimistic,” which is a description I’ve utilized for my own personal fandom over the years.
When it comes down to it, however, any fan — regardless of the severity they follow the team — ultimately wants to see the Chargers win a Super Bowl. The Brandon Staley/Justin Herbert era has only ushered in higher and higher expectations since the two joined forces prior to the 2021 season and it’s been extremely tough for fans not think the team is moon-bound while the latter of that pairing is running the offense in Los Angeles.
Unsurprisingly, it’s not just Charger fans that feel this way. NFL.com’s Eric Edholm recently included the Chargers among his top three teams still vying for their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
“The Chargers are in the same area code, talent-wise, as the Bengals and Bills — they just don’t have the recent success to buttress their argument as Super Bowl contenders,” says Edholm. “Herbert has done virtually everything asked of him to date, and some of the Chargers’ failures can be blamed on injuries.”
“But there will be pressure to get it done sooner rather than later. They have the talent; they just need to stay relatively healthy and put it all together. In the AFC West, that’s tough. And as with Burrow and the Bengals, the Chargers could sign Herbert to an extension this summer, locking up their star QB for the long term, though theoretically limiting their ability to further bolster the roster. Head coach Brandon Staley was brought back for another season, but anything short of a healthy playoff run this year could potentially cause the team to go looking for a new head coach.”
Edholm mentions prior to these comments that all three teams in his “On the cusp” tier — the Bengals, Bills, and Chargers — all have one big thing in common and that’s that each franchise employs a star quarterback in the prime of their career. But as he also mentions above, the Chargers have simply been much more ravaged by injuries over the past two seasons. The 2022 season seemed set to be something special, but you can’t overcome not only the amount of games lost to injury, but who specifically the injured players were.
So get your eye rolls out of the way if need be because I’m about to reiterate what we’re all probably tired of hearing: If the Chargers stay healthy (God willing!), they will be in a great position to improve on their performance from a season ago.