By: David Connors @DConBlitz
(Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today)
Why does it seem like every time I turn on a Chargers home game, there are just as many fans of the opposing team if not more in the stands? Certainly not because they are a losing organization. In the past 4 seasons, they have been 9-7, 12-4, 5-11, and 7-9. Certainly not ideal, but not the worst run the NFL has seen. I remember going to Cleveland during the heart of the 1-31 stretch on a Sunday and seeing tailgaters as far as the eye could see outside FirstEnergy Stadium. Now I know the real answer to this question has a lot to do with recent questionable decisions by ownership as well as their unceremonious exit from San Diego. It’s too late for me, I have already committed 30 years of my life to a team, I am not switching allegiance. With that said, for any NFL fans who are searching for a team to hitch their bandwagon, I am going to pitch the Los Angeles Chargers to be that team.
Have you seen them powder blues? It’s without a doubt one of the sexiest kits in the NFL. That’s not just my opinion, the Chargers rank in the top 5 in most NFL jersey rankings. Go ahead google it. SportingNews.com has them 2nd. NBCsports.com has them ranked 1st. Even across the pond at FranchiseSports.co.uk has the bolts at 2nd. The logo is a lightning bolt. What more needs to be said. Their retro logo is an undeniably cool shield. And they play at SoFi stadium in Los Angeles. If you have not seen the modern feat of architecture that is SoFi Stadium, go check it out. From the fountains in the front to the mind-blowing interior, it is absolutely one of the best stadiums the United States has to offer in the NFL or otherwise. If the fact merchandise is going to be in POWDER BLUE does not have you convinced, let’s talk about the players that are on the roster.
On defense, the Chargers have two players who, when healthy, are Defensive Player of the Year Candidates with Joey Bosa and Derwin James. Joey Bosa off the edge is an absolute menace on all 3 downs. In his 5+ years in the NFL, Bosa already has racked up 50 sacks and 68 tackles for a loss. He lives in the backfield and forced the Chargers to make him one of the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL. Whether he is playing off the ball or with his hands in the dirt, offenses check to see where 97 is at the beginning of every play.
If you were to look up “positionless defensive player” in the dictionary, it just says see: Derwin James. Derwin is listed as a safety, but will play off-ball linebacker, cornerback, he will even put his hand in the dirt and rush the QB if need be. He has the size to man up a Tight End, as well as the spatial awareness to cover a slot WR. He’s a physical tackler. I encourage you to check out his hit on Darrell Henderson on a cross route against the Rams in week 4 to force a 4th down.
On offense, the Chargers are loaded. They are averaging over 400 yards a game and 6 yards per play. They have two studs at WR including one of the most underrated WRs of the last decade with Keenan Allen and 6’4” stud Mike Williams who has taken a step forward in his development in 2021. Williams already has 471 receiving yards and 6 TDs through 5 weeks.
At RB the Chargers have Austin Ekeler. Ekeler came into the league as a change of pace scatback who excelled as a receiver out of the backfield. However, he has developed into an unstoppable force in between the tackles as well. He is averaging 5.2 yards on the ground and 8.2 yards through the air. For any fantasy player, he is a staple at the top of your roster. Not only that, he seems like an awesome person. Give @AustinEkeler a follow on Twitter. He is a huge advocate for fantasy football. His charity organization, the Austin Ekeler Foundation, provides school supplies for those who struggle to afford them. His mission statement says “I started a foundation to help people. Through the Austin Ekeler Foundation, I seek to help those that may find themselves in situations similar to mine growing up. I recognize that there are hardworking individuals with natural talents and an undeniable passion to better themselves, but may have limited financial resources, educational opportunities, exposure, or networking capabilities.” He is just hard to not root for no matter what team you support.
And finally behind center is one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league. Justin Herbert has it all. He has one of the best arms in the game, a threat in the run game, and hair that screams future Head & Shoulder spokesperson. He is one of the smartest players in the league. He won the William V. Campbell trophy in 2019 (NCAA academic Heisman) for his 4.01 GPA as a Biology major at the University of Oregon and boasted the highest Wonderlic score in his draft class. Not only that, just like Ekeler, he is just hard not to root for. He has the underdog narrative. The year he came out, he was the Chargers consolation prize at pick 6 in the 2020 NFL draft. Every draft analyst and team had Herbert behind Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow. The Draft Network’s Ben Solak said “Herbert is far from a perfect prospect.” In one of his articles. (here’s a link). To be clear, I am not trying to pick out Solak individually, his sentiments echoed the opinion of most of the draft community. Week 2 in 2020, Herbert finds out he is starting right before kick-off against the Chiefs, and without hesitation, he showed us what a special talent he is. He only went on to have the greatest statistical rookie year for a QB in NFL history. He won the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, and on top of all that, he has been even better in 2021. The team can rest assured that if they need a drive with 2 minutes left on the clock, Herbert will get the job done.
Two times every year for the foreseeable future we are going to get Justin Herbert and the Chargers against Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City Chiefs at least twice a year (three times some years). As football fans, we should all consider ourselves lucky that Herbert and Mahomes are in the same division. These will be explosive games that will develop into one of the most must-see rivalries in football. It will be guaranteed to be Primetime games every year.
If for some reason you are looking to switch teams, or you are still a freelance fan looking for their alliance, look no further than the Chargers of Los Angeles. They have a roster that is destined for greatness through the 2020s. Herbert is one of the most talented young QBs playing in the NFL today. And finally, those powder blues will make you pop when you are strutting the streets with your Chargers gear. #BoltUp