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'm only 41, but I think about "the grand scheme of things" more than most. However, I can really only look at Junior's life through the paradigm of pro football. That's the only way I knew him. He was the best player we had on the team for a long time. We shipped him to Miami and then he came home to retire. Then he quickly went to New England and kept Michael Turner out of the end zone in the AFC title game. When Junior became a Dolphin, I gave away all my stuff with his likeness on it. That's how I roll. Ironically, the only thing I own with his face on it is my Justice Is Coming "Tombstone" shirt with Stan Humphries, Bobby Ross and Bobby Beathard on it. Anyway, and I don't want to sound any more callous than I already do, a team that we often joke about being a tragic comedy now has actual tragedy attached to it. Speaking of Stan, I saw in this story that Humphries wonders after each teammate passes on, "What's in store for me?" Unbelievable.
All the football-related comments I've gotten lately express enthusiasm and optimism after the wave of free agent activity and the draft. However, they also confess that the fact that Norv is still the coach tempers their positive outlook. I'm right there with you, FAITHFUL READER. I tweeted that Adam Schein interviewed Norval on the Sirius XM Blitz on May 1. If you look at the other videos on his page, you'll see that he's been understandably critical of his coaching. You can hear snippets of the interview here, but I couldn't find the entire thing. Schein, who also works for FOX and SNY (the Mets network here in NY), was seemingly impressed by Norv's candor and the fact that he's apparently aware of what's said about him on satellite radio. I'm not so sure that's a good thing, but I don't think much about Norv is good. Should he falter yet again, Kevin Acee thinks this is it for Norv. He also gave Whitehurst a nod as a Jesus doppelganger:
I don’t care if Rivers gets hurt and Charlie Whitehurst can’t heal him (Have you seen Whitehurst lately?) and the Chargers miss the playoffs by the 12th tiebreaker of a coin flip, Turner is done.
Jay Paris, who often presents himself as the anti-Acee echoed my fears that Norv and AJ could survice any failure under Dean Spanos. Of course, it appeared he was being critical of Smith's draft after the Ingram pick but then seemed to be praising AJ.
Smith can't afford another bankrupt draft. Not with Chargers president Dean Spanos basically issuing a playoffs-or-else ultimatum for Smith and coach Norv Turner to keep their jobs.
Then again, I was surprised Smith and Turner kept their jobs after missing the postseason in the watered-down AFC West for two straight years, so I wouldn't be stunned if they extended their streak to three and still returned.
You know, one of the best perks of having this site going since 1995 is that I get trandom of emails pertaining to the Chargers even only remotely. I got one promoting Antoine Cason's football camp. I can only imagine what skills are being reinforced there.
I mentioned a while back that my "story" as a long-time Charger fan was going to apper in the book "Pro Football's Most Passionate Fans," which can be purchased copy here, at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble. Even if you go through the "Bargain Books" link on B&N, it's a little pricey. It does, however, go to a good cause. All proceeds to to Curing Kids Cancer. Anyway, I've posted my contribution below. I know I planned to talk about the draft in earnest, but I'll do that next week. I thought this would be a good diversion with the Junior memorial about to begin shortly. I guess Rodney Harrison actually won't be speaking after all.
How do I even begin to describe the nature, history and effects of my relationship with the San Diego Chargers? I think the best way is to do what I did when I was welcomed into the Hall of Fame by the other “superfans” at a bar in
Like many others, I was first drawn to the Bolts during the “Air Coryell” period of the late 70s and early 80s. Their passing attack was even more impressive to a kid just getting into football. Plus, they had really cool uniforms. My parents never let me play organized football due to Darryl Stingley’s 1976 paralysis at the hands of Jack Tatum. So I guess I was already destined to hate the Raiders even before I discovered the Chargers. I do remember being sad when I heard that they had lost to the Oilers in the 1979 playoffs, but if I knew then that Houston had allegedly stolen Dan Fouts’ headset signals en route to 5 interceptions I would have said “that’s the kind of the thing that only happens to the Bolts.”
My first memory of watching the Chargers play was October 19, 1980, against the “hometown” Giants. Did I forget to mention that I have lived my entire life within the state of
The day after that game, I sat at the bus stop (at the tender age of nine) pledged to myself to always be a Chargers fan. There have been many times that I wished I hadn’t made that promise or even futilely tried to break it. To say that the Bolts haven’t tested my faith would be a massive understatement. In 1984, I saw wide receiver Bobby Duckworth fumble on Monday Night Football with no defenders within 20-yards of him. He was getting ready to spike the ball for an “easy” touchdown at the time. A year later, the Chargers had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown in overtime to lose a game in
Sadly, I am actually affected by the outcome of a game over which I have absolutely no affect on—sometimes embarrassingly so. I’m self aware to know how absurd this is, but sometimes I just can’t help it. Beyond that, my fanaticism doesn’t follow the “usual” patterns. I have never worn face paint, except at the lone Super Bowl the team has reached. Nonetheless, my mood (at least according to my wife) is often dictated by the travails of a team that throughout its history has either been untalented or underachieved.
What’s it been like to be a dedicated fan that has lived his entire life 3,000 miles away from his team? I actually think it has further fueled my obsession. I have felt even more part of a select group because of that fact. I began writing to the team in 1981, asking them to send me Dan Fouts’ autograph. They actually did it, which not only delighted me but made me feel even more like this was MY team. For my bar mitzvah, my parents had made a papier-mâché centerpiece of Dan Fouts which I actually took to
I wouldn’t get a chance to see the team play in person again until I went to college. I attended the
After college, it was on to
The post-Super Bowl seasons with 1-15 and 4-12 records weren’t even that hard to stomach. The team just flat out sucked. But 2004 to 2009, seasons in which the Chargers won 12, 13 and 14 of their 16 regular-season games, they promptly imploded in their own stadium with a rash of missed field goals, fumbles, interceptions and mind-boggling personal fouls. But if you’re a football fan, you already know all this. What has kept me sane (relatively) during all this time is my website, www.justiceiscoming.com. When the Chargers were scheduled to play the Giants in 1995, the now-infamous “snowball game,” I approached the only publication on the team at that time about covering it. When Chargers Football Weekly (which I had subscribed since elementary school) refused, I told them that I would create my own forum and push them out of business. I also took the opportunity to share all my criticisms about their publication, which I had held back until then. Years later, the Editor called me and actually told me I was 100% right on all counts. When does that ever happen?
First distributed as a newsletter on the “Bolt Backers” e-mail group, Justice Is Coming has grown not only into a website but an extended family of Charger fans from
Fortunately, I have found a woman who has tolerated all my insanity. While my days of travelling to
August 15, 2011
You're now down with a discount,
PS RIP, #55