Chargers should leave L.A.

BRIAN GOLDEN

It’s not exactly Breakfast at Wimbledon.

But it is another game on a futbol pitch.

So the Chargers should feel right at home.

Los Angeles’ American Football Conference representative does its part for pigskin diplomacy when it takes on the Tennessee Titans Sunday morning in Wembley Stadium in London.

Wembley Stadium, at 84,000 seats, is about 3.36 times the size of StubHub Center,  the broom closet in Carson where the Chargers fled after stabbing 1.42 million people in the back simultaneously in San Diego.

The Chargers are enjoying a deliciously promising season.

Quarterback Philip Rivers is off to the best start of his career.

He’s completing nearly 69 percent of his passes, with 15 touchdown passes and only three interceptions thus far. His passer rating is second overall in the NFL.

But that wasn’t what the NFL owners were talking about at their autumn meeting last week.

The club released its first progress report on personal seat license (PSL) sales at their future home in Los Angeles Stadium at Holywood Park, and it was abysmal.

PSL and seat sales have been so glacially slow,  the Chargers were forced to lower their revenue estimate from $410 to $150 million.

Money gets NFL owners’ attention.

These new financial frustrations underscore a basic truth:

The Chargers don’t have a fan base in Los Angeles County.

Never did, which is why they left L.A. after their inaugural season to move to San Diego in 1961.

Never will, if fans aren’t getting excited about this entertaining set of Lightning Bolts under the leadership of Anthony Lynn and his two head-coach coordinators, Gus Bradley and Ken Whisenhunt.

Rookie safety Derwin James is emerging as an NFL superstar right before everyone’s eyes, and running back Melvin Ingram seems determined to match Rams’ NFL MVP frontrunner Todd Gurley II touchdown for touchdown.

The Chargers situation has managed to make itself unfair to everyone.

The players know they basically play 16 road games since the move north.

And they’re starting to grumble aloud about it.

Which they have every right to.

They beat the snot out of the Oakland Raiders at StubHub Center two weeks ago, and most of the crowd was upset about it.

Fans will buy single-game tickets to see their  beloved Raiders, Broncos, Chiefs, Eagles, Saints, (fill in the blank).

But they want no part of a season-long or PSL-long commitment.

Factor in the return of defensive end Joey Bosa from his foot injury in two weeks, and the Chargers only figure to  be even stronger in the second half of the season.

They could be bound for a long playoff run.

That Sept. 23 meeting with the Rams could turn out to be a pregame show for February.

Were this happening 90 miles to the south,the response would be seismic.

The Chargers were a metaphor for the San Diego that grew from a sleepy Navy town hopelessly lost in Los Angeles’ shadow to one of the nation’s 10 biggest, bustling, most prosperous cities.

They can be again.

Owner Dean Spanos ought to take the hint and go back to San Diego, hat and lightning bolts in hand, and beg to go home again.

Oh sure, he’d have to swallow his pride and wear his humiliation like a hair shirt.

But the Chargers would be back where they are loved and appreciated.

Doing such an uncomfortable thing might be the best way to honor the memory of his late father, Alex, who was always a community-first guy.

Hey, it’s happened before.

The NFL went back to Cleveland.

The Raiders went back to Oakland.

Hillary went back to Bill.

The Chargers and their fans deserve better than having to go halfway around the world to be cheered, as they will be Sunday.

There’s a lesson in these soccer stadia for Dean Spanos.

No hands allowed.

Unless they’re pulling that knife out of San Diego’s back.

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(2) comments

Smooth 1001

The team is welcome back, the Spanos family isn't. Bridges burned, they cannot be repaired. Besides, the NFL now considers SDCCU Stadium inadequate,

schrifty

I disagree, although I hate Spanos if we get the team back on our terms what the voters decide is fair including the san diego county voters this time than he is allowed back to SanDiego.

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