The widely anticipated match between the Miami Dolphins and the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Dec. 20 at Qualcomm Stadium is also widely expected to be the last game the Chargers will ever play in San Diego.
Speculation is rampant that the Chargers will soon end their 55-year run as the Finest City’s beloved Bolts. After 15 years of asking the city for a new stadium to replace the aging Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers may just pack up and move rather than wait any longer.
The Chargers are one of three National Football League teams whose owners will consider a move to Los Angeles in January. The Chargers got their start in Los Angeles in 1960 as an American Football League team and could wind up returning to the City of Angels, which has not hosted an NFL team in 20 years.
The key players in the debate over whether the Chargers will stay in San Diego or pull up their cleats and head north are San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is, like all blue-blooded San Diegans, fighting the keep the team in town, and Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani, who is charged to do what’s best for the team’s long-term prospects. Neither have commented publicly about whether Sunday’s game was the Charger’s last in San Diego, but players both current and past have publicly expressed their desire for the team to stay.
Hall of Fame receiver Lance Alworth, who played for the San Diego Chargers between 1962 and 1970, said a move would be “like losing a part of your life.” Quarterback Philip Rivers said leaving San Diego “could be emotional,” and that he would try to make the most of his last days in Qualcomm Stadium.
The NFL badly wants to stage a comeback to the wide-open Los Angeles market, which has not hosted a football team since the Raiders and Rams left in 1995.
NFL owners are set to hold a special meeting in mid-January in Houston to decide which teams, if any, will be allowed to move. A final decision may not emerge from January’s meeting but observers will probably get a good indication of the direction of the NFL is taking at the end of the meeting.
In the meantime, the owners of the Chargers, Raiders, Rams and other multimillionaires are already planning the new homes of any teams that do make a move next year.
The Chargers’ management has proposed building a stadium in Carson in league with the Oakland Raiders, while the owner of the St. Louis Rams, Stanley Kroenke, has proposed a new stadium on land he owns in Inglewood.
On the sidelines, billionaire real estate magnate Ed Roski has proposed land he controls in the City of Industry as the future site of an NFL stadium, while billionaire oil and entertainment mogul Philip Anschutz has proposed a location in downtown Los Angeles.
If Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins was the Chargers’ last in San Diego, they certainly gave a good show, finishing 30-14.
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