NBC 7's Derek Togerson takes a look at the atmosphere for Sunday's season finale against the Chiefs in this commentary
Usually for every Chargers game I will write a story about the three players to watch for that particular match up. For the season finale we are going to change that up a bit. There is only one person to keep an eye on for this particular outing:
The most pressing question about the Chargers Chairman is will he be firing head coach Mike McCoy after another unsuccessful season? That decision should come on Monday. But there is an even bigger issue casting a shadow on a game against the division rivals from Kansas City.
I will leave it up to each individual fan and player to choose how to feel about this game, which may or may not be the final one the Chargers play in San Diego. Or even as the Chargers, for that matter. If Deano chooses to move the team to Los Angeles there is talk he will re-brand it. But I can make an educated guess as to what the pervading attitude will be.
We went through all of this last year in the last home game of 2015, an emotion-stirring win over the Dolphins. That game felt like a celebration of five and a half decades of San Diego fandom. But then there was hope and fans wanted the Chargers to stay.
During Dean’s courtship of Carson there was still the thought that the NFL owners could save the day. A vote was coming between the Chargers/Raiders proposal and one by the Rams. There was a belief that Spanos would be forced back here and if that happened something could be worked out.
Then 2016 happened.
The team put together a proposal that was doomed to fail from the start, engineered a PR push that barely made a ripple in the political waters (I can’t even call it a “campaign”) and failed miserably at the polls because fans did not think Dean was really trying.
He never apologized for the Carson pursuit, instead saying he did not want to look back. The problem is we weren’t ready to move towards the future without settling what was in the recent past. Without that act of contrition Chargers fans never bought in to the message the team was selling.
It’s hard to have Dan Fouts get on a video and portray the team as being a vital part of the San Diego community when it the owner just tried to yank it away a few months prior.
All that has lead us to Sunday’s finale against the Chiefs. Once again we are here wondering if this is the end. But now the feeling amongst fans is completely different. This fan base spent 2015 worrying and hoping and 2016 frustratingly scratching its collective head. That’s a two year emotional roller coaster and by now a lot of them are simply over it.
So for Sunday Dean Spanos will be the one Chargers fans are focused on. They’ll be wondering what he’s going to do. But unlike 2015, where they were hoping against hope that he would change his mind and stay … this year the fans just want to know what’s going on so they can get off the ride.
There is a song by The Wreckers called “Leave The Pieces.” It’s about a relationship that has gone sour and one party has decided she’s had enough. The chorus goes like this:
“And it's alright, yeah I'll be fine
Don't worry 'bout this heart of mine
Just take your love and hit the road
There's nothing you can do or say
You're gonna break my heart anyway
So just leave the pieces when you go”
I think that sums up the attitude of Bolts fans perfectly. Spanos has until January 15 to make up his mind but that does not help the mood for Sunday. Bolts fans I feel for you. I really do. I am one of you. Today we have one more football game to watch and however it helps get you through it, just do that.
Happy New Year to everyone, and here's to hoping 2017 is a whole lot less emotional for San Diego football fans!