San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers Football: Tied To The Tree of Woe

San Diego Chargers football...It's Fantastic!

San Diego Chargers football...It's Fantastic!

The San Diego Chargers will not win the Super Bowl this season. Why you ask? Strategical issues aside, the reason is simple. Just because. Granted, that sounds like the argument of a young adolescent who doesn’t know anything. What do you expect though when talking about a team that always has something go wrong?

The Shawne Merriman/Tila Tequila fiasco further shows that this era of San Diego Chargers football is snakebitten…just like the eras before it. Merriman’s plight typifies exactly what Chargers football is about, especially this current group of lightning bolts; uber-talented but something always gets in the way before the ultimate achievement is reached.

When discussing tortured franchises, people are so quick to mention teams like the Browns, Bills or Eagles. However, when do the Chargers get a gold pass to enter that list if they aren’t already there?

Since the Fouts era, this franchise has embodied the term “heartbreak”. The Air Coryell Chargers of the late 70s/early 80s were amongst some of the best offensive teams in NFL history. However, someone was always in the way from 1979 to 1982.

In ’79, they lost at home to the Gifford Nielsen-led Houston Oilers in the divisional playoffs; during the ’80 postseason, division rival Oakland defeated them at home in the AFC Championship game; and then perhaps their most famous playoff run during the ’81 season included their epic overtime thriller in Miami which was followed by the AFC title game in Cincinnati. Playing as the game time temperature dipped to -9 degrees, one of the franchise’s greatest teams fell to the Bengals 27-7 in Cincinnati.

Fast-forwarding years later to the Schottenheimer/Tomlinson/Brees/Rivers/Merriman/Turner Chargers, it’s been more of the same.

A home-playoff loss to the Jets during the ’04 playoffs, was followed Drew Brees getting his shoulder torn to pieces at the end of the ’05 season. The Brees injury led to the full force Rivers/Brees debate which then-head coach Marty Schotteheimer lost when Brees left for New Orleans.

While Rivers has certainly proved to be a top notch quarterback, he was extremely green in 2006 which proved to be a problem ultimately. San Diego went 14-2 that year with Tomlinson having one of the greatest statistical seasons in NFL history. With home-field advantage under its belt, the Chargers faced a New England Patriots team that fielded one of its more underwhelming teams of the decade.

The Chargers let New England hang around and when safety Marlon McCree fumbled away a Tom Brady interception, the disease of coming up short in the postseason started to seep into the veins of the Chargers.  Mix in a few big plays later by Tom Brady and the ’06 Chargers were on ice. Despite having the league’s MVP in Tomlinson,  the Chargers failed to defeat New England as former Charger receiver Reche Caldwell starred as one of the game’s heroes.

In ’07, they made the postseason again, beating the Colts (but losing LT and Rivers to knee injuries in the process) and eventually falling to the Patriots again with many of their stars hobbled, this time in the AFC title game.

Last year’s fiasco included the Ed Hoculi fiasco in Denver, followed by a 4-8 record 12 games in and then a subsequent rally to 8-8 and an AFC West title. The Chargers stormed back to get into the postseason but this time would lose to the eventual world champion Steelers in the divisional round.

Every era has that team. You know the one. The Vikings of the 70s, Oilers of the late ’80s and ’90s, and the Eagles of the ’00s. Teams that were seriously talented but could not get over the hump.

In this case with Chargers, not only are there other teams in the way, but they can’t seem to get out of their own way.

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