The Chargers may have played their last game in San Diego, and if they did, it was a great way to go out. San Diego, which may or may not move to Los Angeles in the offseason, beat Miami 30-14 at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.
“I think the writing is on the wall in San Diego,” NFL on CBS analyst Steve Tasker said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “They aren’t going to play in that building even if they are San Diego Chargers. I think the fact that so much is up in the air is really the only hope they have that things will drop and the Chargers will stay in San Diego. I don’t think anybody expects that team to be there next year. I don’t think they expect to be there even for training camp. The writing is on the wall for that franchise. I think they’re moving on the greener pastures, wherever those pastures might be. To be truthful, I don’t think they know.”
The Chargers, along with the Raiders and Rams, are one of three teams considering a move to Los Angeles. Many Chargers, including Philip Rivers, were visibly emotional after their game Sunday. So were many of the fans.
“Well, you got to remember it’s 55 years they’ve been playing in that building,” Tasker said. “That’s a long time. You’ve had a lot of people there who were at the first game. You had a lot of people who grew up going to games there who remember all the great players that traveled through the ranks of the Chargers, all the great games that they’ve seen, the Super Bowls even as well that it’s hosted. It’s the only stadium that’s hosted a Super Bowl and a World Series in the same year. The NFL is just walking away from it. There was a lot of signs, a lot of fans, a lot of emotion that came out of it. I think head coach Mike McCoy did a nice thing at the end of the game with one play to go. They took a delay of game penalty and they took Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers out of the game all together. It was quite a moment. I think that moment is when it hit those three players in particular that that was the last time that was ever going to happen.”
The Chargers, as DA observed, are seemingly in a “land race to LA” that is leaving fans “behind in the dust.” Fans are upset, yes. But they’re also loyal.
“Whatever animosity there is between the Chargers and the city of San Diego, it doesn’t extend to the players and the fans,” Tasker said. “They still love each other. That’s the sad part about it. The players are really bummed. You got a guy like Philip Rivers who’s been there his entire career and has had eight children with his wife in San Diego. They’re lifers. Eric Weddle is a local kid who grew up and played for the Chargers, the team he grew up idolizing. Antonio Gates has put together a Hall of Fame career. Malcolm Floyd has already said that was his last home game no matter what. He’s retiring after this season. There’s a huge amount of emotion for these guys. And football, more so than any other pro sport, they pour their physical being into that sport. They risk things. They’re not waking away 100 percent when after they play for any length of time. To say goodbye to that venue that they invested so much of their effort into is really difficult for these guys.”
The Chargers (4-10) close the season at Oakland (6-8) on Dec. 24 and at Denver (10-4) on Jan. 3.