It’s official: one year after applying to trademark the name “L.A. Chargers,” the Chargers are going north to the city of Los Angeles. Los Angeles will go from a city that had hadn’t had a football team in twenty years, to a city with two.The move to L.A. was expected by most NFL executives and others, but it still is shocking now that it has happened. Many would think that the Chargers ownership moved the team for money, however it is going to cost the team much more to move than it would to stay. It seems that there was really no rhyme or reason to the decision to move the Chargers to L.A.
So, as the finger pointing between the Chargers ownership and the city of San Diego begins, who is really at fault? In my opinion it all came down to one man. That man’s name is Dean Spanos, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Chargers. He panicked, and unfortunately made the wrong decision. This is the same man who let Drew Brees, one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game, leave in free agency; a man who fired the coach that resurrected the franchise, Marty Schottenheimer, and replaced him with a man none of the players liked; a man who repeatedly gets the team so close to the championship, only to be absolutely destroyed in the playoffs. The Chargers were one of the best teams in the league in the 2000s, then right as they made a push for the Super Bowl, Spanos made the aforementioned moves, and that cost the franchise.
The Chargers may not be the best team in the league, in fact they are quite the opposite, going 4-12 and picked 3rd in last year’s draft. So, not a great team, but that didn’t matter to all of the fans in San Diego, because no matter how bad a your team is, they are still your team. Therein lies Spanos’ biggest misstep: losing the fanbase. Sure, there might be some fans who will go to L.A. to watch games, but judging from the overall reaction, not many will. In the days after the Chargers announced the move fans went to the head offices of the Chargers and dumped off all of their jerseys and merchandise. Some fans even egged the offices, as well as lighting jerseys on fire.
In Spanos’ position, the support of the owners is important, and unfortunately he isn’t getting it. It was reported that other NFL owners are very annoyed with the move, and even want them to move back. This creates issues because the owners need to work together with the commissioner and NFLPA to better the NFL. When you add in tension amongst owners they are going to be less cooperative, and not work together. Or, even worse, the owners all work against the wishes of Spanos. Either way, this move is certainly going to negatively affect the way other owners treat the Chargers’ front office.
One of the issues with moving is rebranding. The Chargers, now on the move, needed to rebrand their team. They decided to introduce a new logo, right after they announced the move, and it was not well received. It got hate from all directions, from ESPN to people making fun of it on social media. It seems as though everything they could do to lose their fanbase, they are doing. As someone who is not a fan of the Chargers, you just have to feel bad for the way Dean Spanos has treated the fanbase. Spanos, according to the city of San Diego, didn’t work to get a deal for a new stadium done, which is disrespectful to all of the Chargers fans in San Diego. Now that they are moving to Los Angeles, they are going to need a stadium for all of their “fans.”
The Chargers are going to be playing football in a soccer stadium that seats 30,000 people until the L.A. stadium is built, which the Chargers will then share with the L.A. Rams. This is under half of what most other NFL stadiums seat, and it still might not be filled. It is just hard to comprehend how moving the team will benefit them in any way at all.
The Chargers move wasn’t the most unexpected thing in the world, but it certainly is hard to digest now that it has all happened. It is sad that Dean Spanos didn’t do enough to stay in San Diego, but now the fans can only hope that they see their team back in their city sooner rather than later.