In San Diego, we’re well known for the fantastic weather and the laid-back atmosphere of our sports stadia. And rightly so; there’s no better place on earth to live. Yet, the two major sports teams in San Diego, the Padres and Chargers, are historically unremarkable teams. Never too good, occasionally really, really bad, and the occasional trip to the title game(s) sprinkled in there. Basically, San Diego fans have no idea how to deal with wild success. After being de-pantsed in the playoffs by the Patriots last season, Marty Schottenheimer was fired and the fans were all for the move. Now this season, we’re booing our team. At home. In the first quarter. After a completed pass. Philip Rivers had every right to tell us to shut up.
When did Chargers fan turn into Philly fan? You never boo your team at home in the first quarter right after a completed pass. Heck, even Eagles fan might not do that. Chargers fan wouldn’t know anyway (we don’t associate with bad-weather cities). The Norv Turner Era has warped our minds. Everyone can see how incompetent he is, but we just can’t figure out how to show it at the stadium (or in central Indiana, for that matter). We just simply don’t know what else to do in this situation. It’s not that we aren’t used to having idiot coaches on the sidelines. After all, Kevin Gilbride was entrusted with Ryan Leaf’s future at one point.
Chargers fans are like Cash Warren: an ugly guy who bagged an unbelievably hot chick, got spoiled and cheated with a Russian model, had the relationship ended, and then came running back faster than Asafa Powell. I’m not sure if LaDainian Tomlinson or Marty Schottenheimer is Jessica Alba in this analogy, but the point is that we’ve been spoiled. Firing Marty completely ruined the stability that had existed in the organization for several years. That doesn’t just grow back overnight with any old coach.
The team is reverting back to the Mike Riley Era and now everyone is outraged. To be sure, it’s a new feeling for all concerned. The team is even more disheartened by the booing than teams in other cities would be. They thought they would be successful this year too and have never heard it like this before. So obviously, Philip Rivers is going to react like he did on the field.
We need to appreciate what we have in San Diego. At 6-5, despite Norv’s incredible incompetence, the team isn’t even that bad and is still in first place. We most certainly are not the laughingstock of the league like we were from 1998-2002. The team is still really talented on both sides of the ball and even on special teams with pro-bowl special-teamer Kassim Osgood. Plus, we’ll have a new coach next year! Please, God, get us a new coaching staff next year.
Finally, Philip Rivers getting caught on camera yelling at no one in particular isn’t really a story in the first place. The fans were booing for no reason, the team is having a rough season, and it was in the heat of the game. This all comes back to Norv Turner and AJ Smith. If Smith’s fatal flaw wasn’t his ego, Marty never gets fired and Turner never sees the light of day at Qualcomm Stadium except on the visiting sideline. We get rid of Norv and handle the hiring process correctly this time around, things are much, much different.
Chanting “Marty! Marty! Marty!” at games is perfectly acceptable. It was a completely reactionary move to fire Marty when the team did. But when you boo, no one knows where it’s directed, so the players think it’s at them, even if you were aiming at Turner and Ted Cottrell (whose incompetence has flown under the radar because Norv’s stupidity steals the spotlight). So when the team comes back to San Diego in a couple of weeks to play the Lions, heckle Norv all you want, San Diego fan, but lay off the team. They’re playing about as well as they can, given the situation. And terrible or not, they’re going to be in the playoff hunt until the bitter end. Whatever happens after the season will happen, but there is still a good team in San Diego and it needs our support.
Plus pitchers and catchers report in three months and the Padres still don’t have anything in the outfield or much at the plate, so this might be it for a while as far as winners in San Diego go. Not that I’m pessimistic or anything. I guess this is the price of success.