George R.R. Martin promised his fans that his ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series will have a bittersweet ending. And the same can be said of how the San Diego Chargers said goodbye to the city and the fans in what was probably their home finale, before the impending move to Los Angeles.
There’s nothing official yet. Stan Kroenke is trying to get the NFL to block the proposed Carson City stadium and hold the Oakland Raiders and Chargers in a difficult spot. But it does seem like the Chargers have the better bid and prospect compared to the Rams, not to mention the city of San Diego is getting blocked at every corner by the NFL and the franchise itself in order to not let anything interfere with bringing back an NFL team to the second largest market in the United States.
But their 30-14 win over the Miami Dolphins, only the fourth win for the underachieving Chargers this season, a team coming off two consecutive 9-7 seasons, had all the makings of a finale. The standing ovation to Philip Rivers (who doesn’t want to move his brood to Los Angeles), Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd, who have been teammates on the Chargers since 2004 (Gates played a year earlier too). Eric Weddle staying on the field hours after the game. Fans putting signs against the owner seeing them taken off by security. A grande finale, with mixed emotions.
The last few years have been disappointing. The Chargers made the playoffs four years in a row (2006-2009) once Rivers took over the offense, including making the AFC Championship game. But in the last five seasons, always hovering around the 8-8, they’ve made the playoffs just once. This year is going to be the franchise’s worst since 2003, and making it five out of six seasons without a playoffs. It wasn’t just injuries that got in the way. This team needs a change.
And maybe we’ll see a massive one as the team moves back to Los Angeles (played there in 1960 before moving to San Diego). It’s not that far. Most of the fans can still go and see their team that’s been in the community for over 50 years. But it feels different. It’ll feel different. And if the Chargers winning against the Dolphins was the final time they play a home game in San Diego, it’s good that they won in front of their fans, who gave proper send off to some of the best players in the history of this franchise, which doesn’t have a lot to brag about in its 55 years of existence.