What's the Next Step For the Chargers?

Start mending the fences with a wounded fan base

NBC 7's Derek Togerson looks at what the Chargers need to do in 2016 to make their (temporary) return work

The Chargers are staying in San Diego for the 2016 season. The next few months will be about exactly one thing: Trust.

Chargers owner Dean Spanos is going to have to trust the political structure that he, as Special Counsel Mark Fabiani has claimed so many times, has worked unsuccessfully for 14 years (their claim) to try and work out a deal with. He’ll have to extend an olive branch with the very people he walked away from in the middle of 2015.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Supervisor Ron Roberts will have to trust that Spanos is, indeed, 100% committed to trying to work with them to build a stadium in San Diego and not just using San Diego to buy time and save money before an inevitable move to Inglewood.

Those are two things that will be very difficult to do. The well has been poisoned to its greatest depths, but it’s not impossible. Working out a business deal is easier if you remove emotion from the equation, which is something that should happen anyway but is an absolute necessity now.

The largest leap of faith is going to come from the fan base. Chargers fans have been treated horribly by the Spanos family this season. They’ve been alternately ignored and threatened, many feeling like they’ve been held hostage by their love of a team they fear does not love them back.

The Bolts backers are going to have to trust that they are not merely pawns in a billion-dollar real estate game. They’re going to have to trust that last December’s tearful farewell at Qualcomm Stadium was not simply a precursor, an appetizer for things to come. When they’re showing that trust by spending their hard-earned money on tickets and concessions and jerseys, it’s going to be an awfully tough sell.

If Dean Spanos and Kevin Faulconer can trust that they will have real negotiations with a true desire to build a new facility in San Diego and end up staying here long-term then the fans, the ones that are left, at least, will eventually forgive (but likely never forget).

Oh, and one last thing … the Chargers had better start winning, and fast. Unfortunately that’s one thing even the most ardent fan has had trouble trusting in of late.

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