On Friday, the Arizona Cardinals flew into town to play the San Diego Chargers in a game that saw the home team mount a stout defense and kick four field goals en route to a 19-3 victory. But before we get ahead ourselves, this was a preseason game and the starters for both teams played sparingly. This contest looked like a typical preseason game…lots of errors and uninspired play. On their second series, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw an interception to defensive back Brandon Flowers, who returned the pass for a pick six. That would be the only points needed to win the game for the boys in blue and there were more than 50 minutes of game time yet to play. Several Charger drives sputtered to a premature end, forcing them to kick four field goals…which was a good thing for Josh Lambo fans, but for most of us the lack of big play touchdowns was somewhat of a disappointment.
But hey…its a preseason game. And I didn’t drive 120 miles to see second and third string football players struggle to secure a roster spot. No, I came to see the new crop of Charger Girls and I was not disappointed.
For the San Diego Chargers, 2016 is a season of change. I know several season ticket holders, long time fans, who have changed their allegiance and no longer support the team because of the attempt to relocate to Los Angeles. That may still happen and judging by the number of empty seats at Qualcomm stadium, things look bleak. And while the Chargers are desperately trying to secure approval and funding for a downtown San Diego stadium project, that seems to be a long shot at best. So what does the future bode for the home team? No one knows for sure…but things cannot remain the same.
We hope that it is a season of change for the play on the field. Melvin Gordon, the second year running back, has looked surprisingly good this preseason. We hope that he is fully recovered from microfracture surgery and becomes the dynamic back that fans hoped he would be when he was drafted last year. And there is a new sense of urgency and hopefulness in that the team can be competitive in an AFC West division that looks more open than ever and that success on the field can propel voters to approve the downtown stadium ballot measure in November.
For what is the alternative if the ballot measure fails? Will the Chargers take the NFL’s one year offer to move to Inglewood’s two billion dollar stadium? Or will the Raiders snatch the option to relocate to Los Angeles if the Chargers pass on the opportunity. And if they do, what does that mean for the Chargers. Will Southern California support three NFL franchises within 100 miles of each other? Certainly there are the numbers…people and dollars, sure…but that’s a tough sell if you don’t put a competitive product on the field and we all know what happens to teams that don’t.
So, this year is shaping up to be monumental for the Chargers…the team and its fans.
Let’s see if I got this correct and start our coverage off with the 2016 Line Captains: Marissa (welcome back!), Delani, Bridget and Teran.
Each game day, we recognize the Charger Girl who has given us the most memorable images. This has evolved over the years from a single great shot to win into series of great shots…it has become that competitive that it now takes several memorable images over the course of the day to win this honor. And our first honoree of 2016 is a four year veteran from San Diego…introducing Charger Girl of the Day Tina.
We begin our regular coverage of the 2016 Charger Girls with the rookies: Anna, Blake, Courtney, Elaine, Emily, Glory, Kayla Ann, Lauryn, Madison, Melissa, Rose, Shelby, and Sydni.
We continue our coverage with the returning veterans: Angelica, Denise (welcome back!), Devin, Karissa, Kayla Nicole, Rebecca, Shelbi, Tawnie, CGOTD Tina, Tyler, and Whitney.
At the end of last season, I thought that I had attended the last San Diego Chargers game in Qualcomm stadium. There was a palpable sense that this was the end…that the Chargers would be moving north to Los Angeles the following year. But a funny thing happened during the winter owners meeting and a power move by Rams owner Stan Kroenke backed by maverick Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, muscled out the Chargers and Raiders for the rights to move to Los Angeles and with a sudden 30-2 vote…the Chargers became a lame duck team in San Diego.
Oh well, that’s how it goes in the NFL. Bad for the Chargers, but good for me…good in that I get another year of photographing the Hottest Dance Team in the NFL, your San Diego Charger Girls!