NBC 7's Derek Togerson sorts through some emotional stuff in this commentary
I want to hate the Chargers. I want to want them to lose by 90 every week. I want to want them to be as big an embarrassment on the field as they are in the owner’s booth, which is awfully difficult to do.
I despise what the Spanos family did in moving the team 100 miles and an entire universe away. I don’t want that group to fail upwards like some kind of Goldman Sachs executives.
However, the last few weeks something that had been buried deep beneath the hatred of the people making the bad decisions has re-awoken:
I still really like those guys in the locker room.
I still get giddy with I see Philip Rivers finding Antonio Gates for 11 yards on 3rd and 10. I still like it when rookies like Derwin James and Justin Jackson, one who was expected to be a superstar and one who was a 7th round afterthought, both make big plays and are tickled to talk about it on camera.
After their win over the Steelers I shook their hands in the locker room and sincerely offered congratulations because it felt like old times. Watching them get back to the playoffs again with a comeback at Arrowhead Stadium put a smile on my face. It’s not the players’ fault the team moved.
But the team did move. The Chargers left us.
And there’s the conflict.
The last time the Chargers were in the playoffs the city of San Diego went bonkers. I was in the team hotel in Denver talking to Tom Telesco (another good guy I’m happy for). He looked out over the throng of San Diego football fans that had made the mile high trek and said he’d never seen a fan base react like this.
Keep in mind he was in Indianapolis during the Peyton Manning years.
That was when the Chargers represented America’s Finest City. My city. They don’t do that anymore.
I thought I could forget about the friendships and the good times that were had with the guys on the field and lump anyone involved with the team into one big ball of “Screw you for all eternity!”
That has proven impossible.
I recognize that the more success the players have the more success Deano has and that kills me. That person doesn’t deserve the chance to even THINK he had anything to do with team accomplishments.
But … the guys. There are too many guys that I want to see something good happen for.
Besides, no matter what they do the city of Los Angeles is not going to care. What the Dodgers did NOT do during the Baseball Winter Meetings made more news in L.A. than anything the Chargers DO do.
This is not a perfect situation. I’m too emotionally invested in that locker room to not get excited about what might be happening. This team is legitimately good enough to win a championship. So after way too much reflection and self-analysis I’ve landed on this conclusion:
I want Rivers and Gates to taste the Super Bowl more than I want Spanos to choke on the AFC Championship trophy.