Top 5 LaDainian Tomlinson Moments

In a career that defined greatness, we pick our favorites

This weekend, there will be no arguing about the San Diego Chargers or the Los Angeles Chargers. The regional rivalry will take a backseat. The pain and angst and bitterness will melt away. For one night, Chargers fans will simply be Chargers fans again, no matter where their geographic allegiances lay.

All it took to being everyone together in Southern California is a ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

On Saturday night LaDainian Tomlinson will be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He played all but two years of his career with the Bolts and will always be a fan favorite, be those fans from SD or LA or Neptune.

One of the things Chargers fans love most about LT is his passion, something he says we are likely going to see again in Canton.

“I really can’t tell you how it’s going to feel when I put that gold jacket on, when I unveil that bust,” said Tomlinson on Sunday, just six days ahead of the ceremony. “I know I’m going to be overwhelmed with emotions because I think about my journey. I think about my mother, the sacrifices she made for me and my siblings working two jobs. I’m an emotional person anyway so there’s no question that I’ll probably get emotional at that time.”

In a career full of amazing moments, there are a few that truly stand out. Everyone has their own list but here are my top five LT memories:

5) The Stiff Arm

In 2005 the Chargers and Redskins went to overtime in Washington (well, Virginia) tied at 17. On the second play of OT, LT took a handoff from Drew Brees, got a big hole to run through and needed to beat one tackler to break a big run. Instead of juking or trying to run around Ryan Clark, Tomlinson just gave the defensive back one of the most lethal stiff arms in history. It looked like he caught Clark’s leaping tackle attempt with one hand and threw the defender to the ground like Thanos wielding the Infinity Gauntlet. LT then strolled 41 yards for a walk-off touchdown.

4) Running To The Black Hole

In 2002, Tomlinson’s 2nd NFL season, the Chargers were in Oakland in another overtime tilt. Again, the ball went to LT. Again, he broke a big one. This time it was a 19-yard scamper that went directly at the heart of the notorious Black Hole in the end zone. That run gave the Bolts a win over their greatest rivals (who would go to the Super Bowl that season) and started to create the legend of LT. He carried the ball 39 times for 153 yards that day, showing the man who is a bit undersized by NFL standards could be a bell cow back.

3) New Kid In Town

This one is on here because I’m a father and an emotional guy, too. After the Chargers beat the Eagles in 2009 LT stepped to the postgame podium and made an announcement: his wife was pregnant with their first child. The Tomlinsons had been trying to start a family for a while and seeing the joy in his face warmed the hearts of football fans everywhere. It’s no coincidence that LT had his best game of the 2009 season that day, rushing for 96 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

2) The Electric Glide

The dance sensation that swept the nation. In January of 2010, after the Chargers had gone 13-3 and secured a first round playoff bye, a dance video was released. It was LT doing the Electric Glide, dancing and rapping in a white suit that would have made John Travolta proud. It became a hit, being featured on Jimmy Fallon’s show and other national news outlets. If you have a chance, look it up on YouTube. The dance showed another part of Tomlinson’s personality, the one he had on display for the thousands of kids and families he would meet after games, standing on the field signing autographs after most of the rest of the locker room had cleared out.

1) The Record Breaker

This one is simple. In a December game in 2006 against the Broncos, LT took a handoff and ran in to the left corner of the end zone, setting a new single-season NFL touchdown record. Instead of launching in to a solo celebration Tomlinson turned immediately and signaled in his offensive line to share in the moment, demonstrating the kind of teammate he is. A week later he scored again to set the NFL’s single-season scoring record in a year where he would be named the league’s Most Valuable Player. LT’s 2006 season is still the most prolific from a non-quarterback in NFL history.

That’s my list. What are your favorite LaDainian Tomlinson memories?

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