I'm sure you're not surprised to know that this is the car I drive. Yes, I have 3 other 1994 AFC Champion bumper stickers which I have in the event that we never get any farther than that in the postseason. I posted a link to this ESPN piece on Twitter yesterday and referred to it as yet another reason that this team needs to win a Super Bowl. I'm trying to diminish the tragic nature of Junior Seau's death in any way by saying this, but it's an unfortunate fact that the most successful team in Charger history will now be remembered more for the deaths of eight players under 45 years old. Junior was by far the biggest star on that team, so his suicide has cemented the idea of the '94 team being cursed. The fact that so many of his friends and teammates were shocked will only intensify that perception. It's not as if we're talking about Ryan Leaf here. By the time you read this, the Chargers will have held their memorial for Junior. It will be interesting to hear LT address the crowd. Believe me, I know that his departure means nothing in the grand scheme of things. I just said that it would be interesting. The same goes for Rodney Harrison. Like Junior, he never chose to be a former Charger. Technically, neither did LT. However, I think he greased the skids for his departure far more than did the other two guys. By the way, you can see if you click on the full-sized photo of my car that I still have the 2008, not 2009, AFC West Champs on the JIC bumper sticker. Since the '09 group went one and done in the playoffs they don't warrant recognition on the back of my shitty car.
I got my bags and I'm headed straight into the storm. It's a Springsteen quote. You can look it up if you didn't catch it. I was about to write the post-draft installment of JIC when I started getting texts about Junior on Wednesday. Keep in mind that here in New York, I'm the first person that most people think to call when something involving the Chargers happens. It would probably be that way regardless. But friends that work on Wall Street seem to get the most up to date news via their ticker which I assume is why those were the people who got in touch with me first. It was the same way when Jerry Garcia died in 1995. Nonetheless, I wasn't entirely surprised to hear that Junior Seau had died. I've written a few times how Burt Grossman got in touch with me in 2002 and mentioned that he thought my writing was pretty funny and that Junior read JIC as well. Obviously, I didn't believe it was really Burt Grossman at first. I didn't even know that he was still friends with Junior after going from the Bolts to the Eagles. Anyway, I was given the chance to talk to Junior on his actual birthday, January 19. This was 2003, as the Traitors were in the process of beating Tennessee and going to the Super Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. I was very psyched to hear that our best player also "hated the fuckin' Raiders," as I did. Anyway, we all knew that Junior gave his all on the field and was extremely generous with his time and money off it. He had his demons, which was no secret. I don't mean to bring that up to sully his memory in any way. I just wonder if the difficulty in reconciling the on field image and off field flaws ever weighed him down. The 2010 legal imbroglio and subsequent car crash gave me the impression that he was having more than just a little trouble. When he was inducted into the Chargers Ring of Honor, people wondered if Dean Spanos would have the balls to take the mic. Appropriately, it was the same day that Norv Turner proved beyond a shadow of a doubt why he'll never coach a champion. But when Junior responded to all this by chanting "SPANOS! SPANOS!" it might have also been an idication that he was behaving more than just a little erratically. Of course, this is all in retrospect. Now that a few days have passed, I am more shocked that Junior knowingly took his own life. After his 2010 legal imbroglio and subsequent car crash the idea that he'd be gone wasn't entirely unthinkable. But the fact that things were so tough for him that he chose to go, that's whats unfathomable.
Play, play the game tonight
Can you tell me if it's wrong or right
Is it worth the time, is it worth the price
Do you see yourself in the white spotlight
Then play the game tonight
Ah, Kansas, you are so wise. If you aren't familiar with the tune, you can hear it here. I haven't spoken with you since the schedule was released and now it's draft time. I saw the "story" (based on an Acee Tweet) that the Chargers might trade up to draft Barron. Then I read Kevin Acee'scolumn which suggested that anything could happen because AJ gets so much pleasure out of proving others wrong. This plays to our worst fears that he'll do whatever he wants and not what is best for the team. I remember writing the same things about the late John Butler. But when Wiley and Boston were jettisoned before the 2004 season, they both looked like geniuses. However, the Bolts have never taken advantage of the opportunities presented to them in January and here we are. The photo to your right was taken in the Chargers locker room, by the way. I found it interesting, especially with the costly fumbles of Tolbert, Mathews and Rivers last season. I think "Protect The Dream" should be a slogan for the entire team. It's not just the ball that is in these guys' hands. It's the hopes, heartbreaks and fears of The Legion Of The Lightning Bolt as a whole.
My feelings on Vincent Jackson going to Tampa are a microcosm of how I feel about this team right now. If the latest January implosion two seasons ago anniahalated my hopes that the Chargers had learned from past mistakes, the slide of the last two seasons has buried those hopes. Norv and AJ getting a pass has blown them to bits. OK, that's a little dramatic. But if Steve Crosby was 2010's scapegoat, does that mean that Greg Manusky is this year's sacrifical lamb? My buddy Tom pointed out that the 2011 Chargers defensehad the worst (49.2%) 3rd down rating in the NFL since 1995? However, I fear that The Organization will simply see any improvement as a quick fix to simply get back to the playoffs. Yes, I know that once you're in the "tournament," anything can happen. But not with a team that doesn't play hard or tough until they've dug themselves too big a hole to crawl out of. One of the many differences between the Giants and Chargers is that the Giants never lost that one game (at Dallas) that would have made their winning the division a miracle. The Bolts didn't even show up in Detroit, but if they hadn't lost SIX FUCKING GAMES IN A ROW they wouldn't have to. If we overpaid to keep him, I think he'd be the same hot and cold player he's been since 2009. I still remember Peter King's article in Sports Illustrated before the aforementioned postseason debacle. There was a big spread of Jackson laying out for a touchdown against Cincy. I know you remember that game, FAITHFUL READER. It was the contest that fooled us into thinking that Nate Kaeding was anything but the choker he truly is. Anyway, King's piece was on how big receivers like Jackson (and Floyd) could be the difference deciding the next Super Bowl champ. If that's the case, we signed the receiver that was on the team that won it all.
A couple weeks before the Super Bowl, my dad sent me this link from the NY Times. It's about 2 guys on NPR who view the exploits of their football team (the Giants) through a pop culture prism. They seem a lot more literary than me, but I think I would like their style nonetheless. Of course, their team just won its fourth Super Bowl. Even though I have lived in New York for my entire life and remember how bad the Giants were in the late 70s and early 80s, I have to wonder what the hell these guys are so negative about now. Even though it was a lot easier to stomach Sheli's second Super Bowl win and MVP award than his first, it serves as yet another reminder of how little the Chargers have done with their "most successful" period. Dean Spanos might choose to only see the division (a weak one during most of those seasons) titles, but we all remember how those years ended. It was good to see Jay Paris' column in the North County Times, which at least acknowledged that some of us remember when we had Jughead to kick around. You can even still get a shirt with this design. I bought the sticker for my printer after the Giants shocked the Patriots in 2008. The fact that it says "Good Luck NY" on the bottom represented some sort reconciliation with my dislike of Elisha.
When you’ve lived in New York your entire life, you get asked many times “How you got into the Chargers.” It’s like asking people how they became a fan of a certain band or what got them hooked on a particular drug. Using the latter analogy, I tell people that Wes Chandler was my “gateway Bolt.” In his interview, Eric did a nice job of summing up how and why we became Charger fans. He was responsible for distributing the original issues in 1995. Yes, it was actually copied and sent in the mail. Check out this blast from the past.
When you look at those old issues, it’s amazing how much piss and vinegar I’ve got. I just wrote for hours. Not surprisingly, I was single and had taken a hiatus from drinking at the time. I discover in that old issue/post, the closest thing I’ve ever written to a Justice Is Coming mission statement:
ALL fans have a right to be heard--even fans who may not put ticket money in Alex Spanos' pocket, but who spend hundreds of dollars on merchandise, satellite bars and, of course, AOL.
You could also point to part of my letter to Chargers Football Weekly Editor Doug Seamans as part of reason this site still exists.
I figured that if you can't join 'em, beat 'em. Rather than to continue having my criticism fall on deaf ears, I have putting out an OnLine publication that will hopefully satisfy not only my need to read some quality writing on the Chargers, but CFW subscribers who share my concerns. It's not personal, Doug, only business.
At least Doug got in touch with me years later to tell me that everything I criticized his publication for was right. I don’t expect to get a similar admission from Dean Spanos. Of course, when I read myself ranting about the Bolts abandoning the run and needing a pass rush and felt like that piece wasn’t all that dated. However, the fact that I wrote “going OnLine” and referenced my AOL bill is very 1996.
I was driving home on Tuesday when I got the news. I firmly believe that January 3, 2012 is now the date that will live in infamy for me as a Charger fan. It stings worse than the previous three home playoff implosions of 1/8/05, 1/14/07 and 1/17/10. Part of growing up and becoming an adult is finding out that the owners of your favorite team actually care far more than you do about the outcome of a given game or season. You can treat your fanaticism as a hobby because it’s their livelihood. But with the Chargers, you actually care more about winning than Dean Spanos does. The players and coaches might desire to one day win a championship, but in our case I don’t think they have an idea how that’s done. I found out that both Norv and AJ were sticking around
Adam Schein, who hosts the “Blitz” show on Sirius with Rich Gannon. Schein, who also works for SNY (Mets Channel) here in NY filmed this bit for FOX:
His schtick can get a little stale, but I can’t disagree with anything he said. He said the same thing on Tuesday, while Rich Gannon defended what will forever go down in Charger history as “The Indecision.” I turned my dial to hear Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who also gets real old real quick, with similar criticism as my own. Don Banks, Jay Paris and Jim Trotter were also right on the money. Nick Canepa no longer has any credibility with me after his column endorsing Spanos. I sent him a message on Twitter that my disappointment was probably what the fellow patients felt when they saw McMurtry with that lobotomy scar in Cuckoo's Nest.
As for me, I would assume I'm part of the 99% that NBC San Diego was referring to in this video.
Originally Posted by Tony55
I think Turner is like the Cubs, in that his teams play very well when the pressure is off.
With how things look now - Turner may be the HC here until his life ends. He could live to be 100.
Let's start sending him gift cards for cheeseburgers.
I love that Jammer said on 1090 he sees safety as inevitable but of course Norv in his infinite genius does not.
Weddles agent David Canter also ripped Norv on Twitter.
Jay Paris said it best, when your best is needed, this team comes up short constantly under Norval.
The brand is stained. Hamilton rumor, just that. 56 of 58, Norv and AJ.
Justin Halperin, whose "Shit My Dad Says" site went on to become a TV show, is also a Charger fan. I Tweeted him my belief that Dean Spanos' biggest sin is making me think that beating Oakland and keeping them out of the playoffs is a bad thing. He must have liked it, since he made it one of his "favorites." Here are some of his past musings:
Clearly the Chargers are going as a giant pile of shit for Halloween.
Being a chargers fan is like being in a bad relationship that you stay in because you keep thinking they'll change.
Brutal Chargers loss. We made the Jets offense look good. That's a tall order.
"Los Angeles is like San Diego's older, uglier sister that has herpes
It's as if they cancelled my Sundays.
Last Charger related tweet for me regarding Norv and A.J. not being fired: Fuck you, Dean Spanos.
I think it's going to take a molestation scandal to get Norv Turner fired.
These are all things many of us have said independently, but we don't get rich off our wit. When Eric was on the radio, it occured to me that he's actually famous and is a Charger fan while I am famous for being a Charger fan. He also sent me the link to Rivers' "miked up" clips from Sunday. The best lines were "Will you get out of here, Tolbert?" and "Get set, Jeremy!" It's bittersweet to see Rivers telling the D he talks all day and insulting the blitz when you think about his play for much of the season. Even HACKsaw Hamilton was dead on with this column.
You know who doesn't say "get out of here Tolbert?" Norv on the 10-yard line. No wonder Tolbert claimed to be so happy that Turner got a free pass. I also saw Acee in his "Male Sack" say Mathews needs to grow up. I am assuming the injuries and fumbles are more due to immaturity/lack of focus than anything. Th guy lived in a car idolizing LT and that apparently goes for character in AJs book.
Unfortunately, Philip Rivers compounded his horrid play for much of the season with his unwavering support of Norv. Students and employees love the teachers and supervisors they are most comfortable with. This doesn't mean that these are the people that push them to achieve the best results. I am not on the team, so is it presumptous to suggest that I know what effect Norv has on the players? I think the results speak for themselves. This quote from Rivers is identical to what he said at the end of last season:
"When you force yourself to go on a big run at the end, you tend to run out of gas," Rivers said. "You don't have any margin for error to deal with a game like Detroit. Elite teams do that, because they have room to absorb a bad game. We didn't do ourselves any favors in that regard."
When scientists are looking to prove or disprove the relationship between two things, they identify the constant. Norv is the constant. They've removed two defensive coordinators and one special teams coach. AJ is blamed, by Norv of all people, for lack of depth but recieves no consequences for his mistakes. Dean allegedly thinks Norv has erred in matters of clock management, but keeps his job. This is the year he has to make it happen, we are supposed to believe. I am yet to hear it out of Dean Spanos' mouth and even if I did I wouldn't believe it.
In his interview with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Dean actually mentioned Marion Babrer staying in bounds as the biggest reason we missed the postseason. He apparently was joking, but Scott Kaplan rightly mentioned the Detroit game as the biggest reason. Talk about not taking responsibility of forcing others to.
Even Rolling Stone knows Norv sucks. Matt Tiabbi, hardly a football expert, wrote this week:
San Diego's Norv Turner, surely the most clueless and uninspiring figure ever to be given three head coaching jobs, a man who stands on the sidelines every Sunday wearing the hopelessly defeated expression of a husband being shown videos of his wife walking into a motel with her personal trainer.
Jenn, the lone female who chimes in here in the Halls of Justce these days, had this to say a while back:
I think a good, solid leader can take a team with mediocre talent a long way, but a bad coach can kill a team with talent. I feel like Mike Tomlin or Rex Ryan would have gotten more out of this team. Hell, I wouldn't mind seeing ROB Ryan in here as our head coach. I just want a change. The fact that coaches can walk in and take their talented teams to the playoffs their first season despite changing the offense or defense shows that we don't have to stick with Norv. We can cut him loose and still win that following season.
Marty took this team from the bottom to the top. He took a bunch of losers and taught them how to win. Norv stepped in and elevated Philip's game. Philip is so much better because of him. Now, we need that coach that can take what the first two did and EXPAND on it. Before we forget how to win again. Before we forget the positive things that Marty instilled in this team. We don't need Marty. That didn't work. We don't need Norv because he isn't working either. If we ever want to be lifting that trophy, we have to make the change.
I won't be spending a dime on any anti-Norv gear, since it apparently won't do anything. However, the Adios Norv Turner shirt looks like a winner.
After I joked to the moderator of the Chargers Message Board that the only bigger insult than getting an infraction after calling Dean Spanos stupid and spineless would be getting an offer to purchase Chargers Legacy wine. Sure enough, I received an email informing me that it will no longer be sold after February and that I should act now. Ironically, the "vintage" advertised is from 2008, the year of our last playoff win. Maybe they shouldn't be so quick to sell of whatever's in that bottle.
I forget which one of the xx1090 interviews it was from, but one of the reporters pointed out that if the six-game losing streak had ended the season Norv would have been fired. So why does it matter WHEN the losing streak occured? the streak, King said, now we know about Norv?
As the title of this post suggests, the outrage will be replaced by acceptane on my part. However, the anger will return once the Chargers do something else stupid. I downloaded the last game against Oakland since it was apparently so important to Dean Spanos. My thoughts? Cason still sucks and I was amused that Oakland fans were cheering when he went down. Curtis Brinkley, who looked so good in KC before Rivers fumbled the snap, should have gotten more touches this season. He would have been especially valuable in that second Denver game where Norv had no idea Mathews was out and decided to run Tolbert into the line. Antonio Garay, good but ot good enough. Why was Clarence Shelmon out on the field helping tend to an injured Raider? Marcus Gilrchrist looks even more lost than Cason. This was all from watching only the first half.
That's all for now. Sorry that I included so many links and quotes if you found it distracting. This shot of Rivers' pick in Foxboro reminds me of why Vincent Jackson hasn't gotten paid like a franchise receiver yet. I am sure another coach and GM could get him to play like a superstar, but he hasn't done it in San Diego. Lastly, I don't really care that much about Tim Teblow winning on Sunday. Pittsburgh was far more banged up than anyone predicted, but I'll give Denver credit for taking advantage and finding openings in the middle of the field. I saw a post on the U-T forums (or Chargers Message Board--I can't remember which) where someone called Polamalu a choker based on the game in Denver and last year's Super Bowl. I wish we had that kind of choker. I think it's more likely, as has been suggested, that he was forced to play out of position due to the guys that were out of the lineup. No, I didn't really watch the game. However, I don't think we should have been hosting Pittsburgh. Can you imagine our corners turned around and not looking for the ball? I can just see Steve "I Think I Deserve To Be Paid Like A Starter" Gregory now trying to deliver a hit after a big catch was made.
I didn't realize that Bloguin's weekly roundup page posted an excerpt of JIC:
Ross Warner at Justice Is Coming points out, rather than root for another miracle push for the postseason, like the one just a few years ago, Chargers fans should be rooting for a season of wholesale change.
It’s no secret that the most recent playoff loss changed something in me. Sure, I’m older and now have 2 kids. But it was also the result of the sad knowledge that the Chargers hadn’t learned their lesson. They weren’t going to even give themselves the chance to get to the Super Bowl.
Sounds like me. "Ownership" and "organization" are two nouns associated with Dean Spanos but hardly words I would use to describe him. I believe those words are called adjectives.
Talk to you soon,
My friend Mike, a Jet fan, said it best:
This would be similar to me coming to work, kicking a few people in the balls, vomiting on my boss’s desk, setting fire to the mailroom and sending all my clients Anthrax in the mail…and then having my company decide to retain me for “stability”. Beyond embarrassing, I feel for you Ross…sad day for the Bolts…
This is the SADDEST day for me as a Charger fan. I have learned that the people who actually make the decisions for the team I have followed since childhood don't give a shit about it. Special teams is the 2010 excuse, now injuries. Yet you don't blame the GM who left you with this lack of depth and impact players. I am erasing the last game since I don't ever want to see it. I listened on Sirius and saw the end on local TV. That game appears to have saved Norv and sent a loud and clear message that mediocrity is OK. We are the laughingstock of the NFL. Every fan of another team is better off than us today.
I will write about the games and maintain the site. However, there is no hope for Justice anymore.
We all deserve better than this. I stand by everything I have written in the Halls of Justice since 1995. These thoughts and feelings are my own. I will be less angry over time, but more apathetic. Once again, fuck you Dean Spanos. More than Marty Schottenheimer, Nate Kaeding and Marlon McCree you have killed my boyhood dream.
PS I just checked my account on the Chargers Message Board and received this:
You have received an infraction at The Official San Diego Chargers Forum.
Reason: Inappropriate Language
|Is Dean stupid AND spineless?|
Personal attacks against members of the Chargers organization are prohibited by the forum rules.
When you can access your account again, please read those rules and follow them when posting.
This infraction is worth 1 point(s) and may result in restricted access until it expires. Serious infractions will never expire.
All the best,
Official San Diego Chargers Forum
At least someone else said the same thing but used the type of language I can apparently only display here. As if I needed any more proof that this team could not give a shit about what we think.
At this point, it's not even about whether Norv Turner gets fired. But this "will they/won't they" soap opera is pathetic. First it was "No playoffs, no Norv." Then it was about whether they won their last 5 games. Then it was "Detroit will decide his fate." I would have rooted against winning at Oakland if I thought for one second that Norv might return. How fucking sad is that? I can't even get the small consolation of us bouncing the Traitors out without worrying that it would come back to haunt us. The best thing I read today on Twitter was that the Chargers played 4 teams all year that ended up over .500. They went 1-3 against them. If they needed yesterday's game to get into the playoffs, they would have lost. That's the mentality under Norv Turner. But at this point, it's Dean Spanos I am most angry about. Is there any accountability with this team. Albert Brooks, as Dick Ripley in Out of Sight, is the photo to your left. That's funny. Deano is not. When you are the head of an organization, you need to inspire confidence and be decisive. It isn't even about the effect that Norv does or does not have on this team. It hasn't worked and the only thing these 5 years have produced are excuses, a fired defensive coordinator and special teams coach. Each year there is a new excuse. Fuck you, Dean Spanos for making me no longer feel like a Chargers win is a good thing.
Bye bye, Jordan Todman. We hardly knew you. We literally hardly knew you since Norval never found a reason or way to use you. Once Kevin Acee went on NFL Network in the middle of the season to try to explain what was wrong with Philip Rivers and mentioned the departure of Darren Sproles, the "Rivers misses Sproles" rationale began to appear everywhere. Is that a testament to Acee's insight and influence or the fact that our favorite football team plays under a fucked up ownership and tight-lipped GM? It's a unusual dynamic, to say the least. Dean Spanos remembers when the Chargers were irrelevant to San Diego and apparently credits AJ Smith for most of the improvement from'04-'09. But Deano seems not to understand that once the fans start paying attention it means more than just dollars. It means they aren't just going to accept stupidity and excuses. If the team's beat writer is the only place that their frustrations can possibility go if they want to see it get to the top, that's where people are going to vent. But it's not a healthy arrangement, that's for sure.
I know that you know my stance on remakes and reboots, FAITHFUL READER. But I did watch The Rise Of The Planet Apes recently. It was average and unnecessary, but it did make this creation from the 2007's "Norv Turner Photoshop Contest" on the Chargers Message Board seem oddly relevant. More than anything, I was angry on Sunday that Dean Spanos put me in a position that I actually felt like this season needed to be sacrificed for the future of the San Diego Chargers. As many people commented after the Sunday Night game against Baltimore, I felt as if a win against Detroit would have left me with a "now what?" feeling.
I’ve seen enough I don’t want to see any more.
I can’t believe I’m referencing one of my least favorite Springsteen songs. I know I swore to only talk about tomorrow’s game, but I almost threw up when I read Kevin Acee’s latest column about Dean Spanos reconsidering Norv’s fate based on what happens in Detroit. I would never root for the Bolts to lose, but how can I feel good about them winning if it keeps Norv with us. It’s a matter of public record that I never wanted Norv, but I also admitted that I didn’t see any way he would be fired by ownership. But I saw a Norvless future for 2012, and it looked bright and glorious. It’s ironic that I refer to the Spanoses as ownership since they don’t appear to take ownership of anything. Dean saw the crowd during the win Sunday Night and thought that Norv was the reason? Maybe they were cheering because it took until mid-December to beat a quality team and turn in a complete performance. Did you ever think THAT was partly Norv’s doing, Deano?
I blame the Spanoses for making me feel like a win tomorrow might not be a good thing for the future. If Denver and the Jets win and the Chargers defy our expectations and don’t pack it in, does Norv get to stay? If so, how can that be good? I guess if you believe that after 5 seasons he is the coach who can get this team over the hump it is. But what evidence have you seen that he is that guy?
I know that the Spanoses only really talk to the Union-Tribune, which is why people project their rage onto Acee. However, I believe they also use him as a back channel to leak stuff in order to gauge people’s reactions. People won’t take this lying down and will burn their season ticket applications if they need to hear that hoarse mush-mouthed voice try to explain how another game got away next season. That’s why I mentioned the “Fire Millen” movement. Those guys got the Ford family to listen and they are even more clueless and stubborn then our owners. I used to joke that if I wasn’t a Chargers fan, I would have become a Lions fan during their Danielson and Sims period. I’d be a huge Chris Spielman fan and would still wear his jersey. But once they got wise after their 0-16 season, they became an upcoming group that clearly was too forward-thinking for my tastes or experience.no comments