I wonder how the Spanos spin machine is going to doctor up this one.
After a couple of preseason games that were sparsely attended by mostly fans of the opposing team John Spanos went on the radio and tried to claim the ownership was still excited about the “intimate setting” at StubHub Center.
Either they were delusional (probably) or outright lying (definitely) because there is more of an atmosphere on Mars than there is for the Bolts in that soccer stadium.
The Chargers have played three regular season games in that facility and lost them all. Technically they were considered home games. Realistically they were anything but.
In their latest scheduled loss (this one a 26-24 setback to the Eagles) the 25,374 in attendance … which the Chargers now claim is a sellout even though they first said the stadium holds 30,000 for football then made it officially 27,000 … was skewed to the opposing team. This one, however, was the most lopsided crowd yet.
Philadelphia sports fans did not invent booing (that would be the ancient Greeks and I know there’s a great Spanos joke in there somewhere) but they sure did perfect it. And they practiced it A LOT on Sunday in Carson, CA. So much so that Chargers Pro Bowl defensive back Casey Hayward told me “I thought we were in Philadelphia.” His assessment of the crowd was kinder than some of his teammates.
“I don’t think, in a lot of ways, it compares to other teams having three straight home games. Yeah, it’s tough,” said quarterback Philip Rivers. “It didn’t hinder; we were able to communicate, we didn’t have to go silent count. Certainly not as ideal as you would love it. We’ve got to deal with what it is right now.”
When the “home” team is happy about not having to use a silent count because the fans are disrupting the offense in their own stadium something has flown completely off the rails.
While the Chargers bemoaned the crowd’s makeup the Eagles were loving it. Let us enjoy a quick sampling of their reaction to the audience decked out in green.
Head Coach Doug Pederson:
“It was great to see the Eagle nation out there, the fans, to come support the guys. It’s a long trip for us, obviously. They were huge today and it was a fun atmosphere.”
Quarterback Carson Wentz:
“I am not surprised by our fans. Honestly, it was unbelievable. They bring it every game no matter where we are. Fans on our side is huge. You get to go on regular cadence not silent cadence. When we’re at home we feed off that energy. When we’re on the road across the country in Los Angeles like this and still have that same atmosphere makes it really enjoyable to play.”
Tight End Zach Ertz:
“I’m not surprised. Traveling is something the Eagles fans do. We don’t get too many California games too often so I think that whenever we get the opportunity they are going to show up full force. It was definitely noticed by our entire team and we definitely fed off of them today.”
Running Back Wendell Smallwood:
“It definitely felt like a home game. I heard booing during the pre-game and I thought Carson [Wentz] was coming out, but it was actually the Chargers players. This was a home game for us so we got that energy from the crowd today.”
Yeah that’s gotta hurt Deano a little bit.
So now the Chargers go on the road for real to face the Giants in front of what will be a REALLY hostile crowd. But that’s something they’ve gotten used to no matter where they’re playing.
Oh, and to keep with tradition there will be another banner flying above MetLife Stadium before the game, courtesy of San Diego Sign Guy Joseph MacRae. So in a way ... the Chargers should feel right at home.