San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers Current season Established 1960
Play in Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego, California
Headquartered in the San Diego Chargers Training Facility
San Diego, California
Helmet Logo League/conference affiliations
American Football League (1960–1969)
- Western Division (1960–1969)
- American Football Conference (1970–present)
- AFC West (1970–present)
Current uniform Team colors Navy, Gold, Powder Blue, White Fight song San Diego Super Chargers Personnel Owner(s) Alex Spanos
(George Pernicano, minority owner with 3% share)
CEO A.G. Spanos President Dean Spanos General manager A. J. Smith Head coach Norv Turner Team history
- Los Angeles Chargers (1960)
- San Diego Chargers (1961–present)
Team nicknames The Bolts, San Diego Super Chargers Championships League championships (1)
- AFL Championships: (1)
- AFL: 1963
Conference championships (1)
- AFC: 1994
Division championships (15)
- AFL West: 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965
- AFC West: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1992, 1994, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
Playoff appearances (17)
- AFL: 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965
- NFL: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
The San Diego Chargers are a professional American football team based in San Diego, California. As of 2011[update] they were members of the Western Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The club began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League, and spent its first season in Los Angeles, California before moving to San Diego in 1961. The Chargers play their home games at Qualcomm Stadium. As of 2011[update], the Chargers continued to be the only NFL team based in Southern California, with no teams in Los Angeles since 1994.
The Chargers are the only team to start a season 0–4 and make the playoffs (1992), and the only team to start a season 4–8 and make the playoffs (2008). In addition, they are one of only 5 NFL teams since 1970 to rank first in overall offense and defense in the same season (2010), but the only team to achieve that feat without making the playoffs. Since the 2004 NFL season, they are also one of only four teams in the NFL to not have a losing record (Indianapolis, New England, and Pittsburgh are the other three), but the only one of the four that has failed to win the Super Bowl; the other three have won at least one Super Bowl title.
The Chargers won one AFL title in 1963 and reached the AFL playoffs five times and the AFL Championship four times before joining the NFL (1970) as part of the AFL-NFL Merger. In the 34 years since then, the Chargers have made ten trips to the playoffs and four appearances in the AFC Championship game. At the end of the 1994 season, the Chargers faced the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX and fell 49–26. The Chargers have six players and one coach enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio: wide receiver Lance Alworth (1962–1970), defensive end Fred Dean (1975–1981), quarterback Dan Fouts (1973–1987), head coach/general manager Sid Gillman (1960–1969, 1971), wide receiver Charlie Joiner (1976–1986), offensive lineman Ron Mix (1960–1969) and tight end Kellen Winslow (1979-1987).
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Logo and uniforms
- 3 Players of note
- 4 Staff
- 5 Radio and television
- 6 Theme song
- 7 References
- 8 External links
1959–1969: AFL beginnings
The San Diego Chargers were established with seven other American Football League teams in 1959. In 1960, the Chargers began AFL play in Los Angeles. The Chargers' original owner was hotel heir Barron Hilton, son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton.
According to the Official Site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Barron Hilton agreed after his general manager, Frank Leahy picked the Chargers name when he purchased an AFL franchise for Los Angeles. The Chargers played in Los Angeles in 1960 and moved to San Diego in 1961. “I liked it because they were yelling ‘charge’ and sounding the bugle at Dodgers Stadium and at USC games.”
The Chargers only spent one season in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego in 1961. The early AFL years of the San Diego Chargers were highlighted by the outstanding play of wide receiver Lance Alworth with 543 receptions for 10,266 yards in his 11-AFL/NFL-season career. In addition he set the pro football record of consecutive games with a reception (96) during his career.
Their only coach for the ten year life of the AFL was Sid Gillman, a Hall of Famer. who was considered the foremost authority on the forward passing offense of his era. With players such as Alworth, Paul Lowe, Keith Lincoln and John Hadl, the high-scoring Chargers won divisional crowns five of the league’s first six seasons and the AFL title in 1963 with a 51–10 victory over the Boston Patriots. They also played defense, as indicated by their professional football record 49 pass interceptions in 1961, and featured AFL Rookie of the Year defensive end Earl Faison. The Chargers were the originators of the term "Fearsome Foursome" to describe their all-star defensive line, anchored by Faison and Ernie Ladd (the latter also excelled in professional wrestling). The phrase was later appropriated by the Los Angeles Rams. Hilton sold the Chargers to a group headed by Eugene Klein and Sam Schulman in August 1966. The following year the Chargers began "head to head" competition with the older NFL with a preseason loss to the Detroit Lions. The Chargers defeated the defending Super Bowl III champion New York Jets 34–27 before a record San Diego Stadium crowd of 54,042 on September 29, 1969. Alworth once again led the team in receptions with 64 and 1,003 yards with 4 touchdowns. The team also saw Gillman step down due to health and offensive backfield coach Charlie Waller promoted to head coach after the completion of the regular season. Gillman did remain with the club as the general manager.
In 1970 the San Diego Chargers were placed into the AFC West division after the NFL merger with the AFL. But by then, the Chargers fell on hard times; Gillman, who had returned as general manager, stepped down in 1971, and many of the Charger players from the 1960s had already either retired or had been traded. The Chargers acquired veteran players like Deacon Jones and Johnny Unitas, however it was at the later stages of their careers and the team struggled, placing third or fourth in the AFC West each year from 1970 to 1978.
1978 was marked by the "Holy Roller" game, or as Chargers fans call it the "Immaculate Deception". It was a game-winning play executed by the Oakland Raiders against the Chargers on September 10, in San Diego at Jack Murphy Stadium. With 10 seconds left in the game, the Raiders had possession of the ball at the Chargers' 14-yard line, trailing 20–14. Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler took the snap and found himself about to be sacked by Chargers linebacker Woodrow Lowe on the 24-yard line. Stabler fumbled the ball forward, and it rolled forward towards the San Diego goal line. Running back Pete Banaszak tried to recover the ball on the 12-yard line, but could not keep his footing, and the ball was pushed even closer to the end zone. Raiders tight end Dave Casper was the next player to reach the ball but he also could not get a hand on it. He batted and kicked the ball into the end zone, where he fell on it for the game-tying touchdown as time ran out. With the ensuing extra point by placekicker Errol Mann, the Raiders won, 21–20. What many Charger fans believed should have been called an incomplete pass (and possibly intentional grounding) was seen as a fumble and the rest of the play involved batting of the ball forward towards the end zone where the Raiders ultimately recovered it for a touchdown. As a result of this play, NFL rules were changed so that, in the last two minutes of a half or game, the only offensive player allowed to advance a fumbled ball is the player who originally fumbled. If any other offensive player recovers the fumble and advances the ball, after the play the line of scrimmage is the spot of the original fumble.
1979–1988: Fouts and Air Coryell
1979 marked a turning point for the Chargers franchise as The Sporting News named team general manager John Sanders NFL Executive of the Year after balloting of other NFL executives. Fouts set an NFL record with his fourth consecutive 300-yard passing game, in a game in which he threw for 303 yards against the Raiders. Coached by Don Coryell (with an offense nicknamed "Air Coryell"), featuring Fouts throwing to tight end Kellen Winslow and wide receivers John Jefferson and Charlie Joiner, they clinched their first playoff berth in 14 years with a 35–0 victory against the New Orleans Saints. On December 17, the Chargers defeated the Denver Broncos 17–7 for their first AFC West division title since the AFL-NFL merger before a national Monday Night Football television audience and their home crowd. Their time in the playoffs was short as they would lose to the Houston Oilers 17–14 loss in the divisional round. Ron Mix became the second AFL player and second Charger to be named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, during halftime of the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.
The 1980 team saw the team trade for running back Chuck Muncie, and Fouts set a club record with 444 yards passing in the Chargers' 44–7 victory over the New York Giants. Kellen Winslow caught 10 passes for 171 yards and Chargers clinched their second straight AFC West title by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 26–17 and finished the regular season with an 11–5 record. Jefferson (1,340), Winslow (1,290), and Joiner (1,132) became the first trio on the same team to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season. The Chargers' defense led the NFL in sacks (60) spearheaded by the frontline of 1975 Chargers' draftees Dean, Gary "Big Hands" Johnson and Louie Kelcher. The trio, along with Leroy Jones formed a defensive frontline that was locally nicknamed The Bruise Brothers, coined from a popular act at the time, The Blues Brothers. In the playoffs, they won the divisional round 20–14 over the Buffalo Bills. However, they fell one game shy of Super Bowl XV in a 34–27 loss to the eventual-champion Raiders.
In 1981, the Chargers won their third straight AFC West title with a 10–6 season. After the division titles of the 1979 and 1980 seasons, contract disputes arose and owner Klein would refuse to renegotiate players' contracts. They traded wide receiver John Jefferson to the Green Bay Packers after he held out for an increase in salary but replaced him with Wes Chandler. Defensive end Dean also became involved in a hold out and was traded to the 49ers. Dean contends he was making the same amount of money as his brother-in-law who was a truck driver. Dean would win UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year (while playing in only 11 games) that same year en route to a Super Bowl victory and help the 49ers to another Super Bowl title two years later. Dean's loss was particularly damaging to the Chargers' Super Bowl chances as the defense weakened afterwards, surrendering the most passing yards in the NFL in both 1981 and 1982.
In the 1981 playoffs, the Chargers managed to outlast the Miami Dolphins in the divisional round, 41–38, in a game that became known as The Epic in Miami. The game was voted as the best game in NFL history by a panel of ESPN journalists. The temperature was 85°F with high humidity (29.4°C) at the Miami Orange Bowl, but it did not stop either team's offense. The Chargers were led by quarterback Dan Fouts who made the Pro Bowl for the third year in a row, setting an NFL single season record at that point and time of 4,802 yards and 33 touchdowns. The Dolphins were led by head coach Don Shula and featured a defense that gave up the fifth-fewest points in the NFL in the regular season.
This game set playoff records for the most points scored in a playoff game (79), the most total yards by both teams (1,036), and most passing yards by both teams (809). Chargers placekicker Rolf Benirschke eventually kicked the winning 29-yard field goal after 13:52 of overtime to help San Diego beat Miami, 41–38. The image of an exhausted tight end Kellen Winslow, who finished the game with 13 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown and one blocked field goal, being helped off the field by two of his Chargers teammates has been replayed countless times. Kellen Winslow was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
However, the eventual-AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals, playing in their first AFC Championship Game, defeated the Chargers 27–7 in what became known as the Freezer Bowl. The temperature of nine degrees below zero with a wind-chill factor of minus 59 made this the coldest weather conditions for a title game in the history of the NFL. Chargers owner Eugene Klein tried to get the NFL and Bengals to postpone the game but he was turned down.
"I can't say how much it affected us, because we did make it to the AFC championship game," said Johnson on the loss of fellow lineman Dean. "But I could say if we had more pass rush from the corner, it might've been different. "
During the strike shortened 1982 season, Fouts averaged what is still a record of 320 yards passing per game. Highlights that season included back-to-back victories against the 1981 Super Bowl teams San Francisco (41–37) and Cincinnati (50–34) in which Fouts threw for over 400 yards in each game to lead the Chargers to shootout victories. The December 20th, 1982 Cincinnati game was a rematch of the 1981 American Football Conference Championship Game. The Chargers would generate a total offensive yardage record of 661 (501 yards passing, 175 yards rushing) that still stands as the most in team history in defeating Cincinnati. Also during the year, Chandler, set the record of 129 yards receiving per game that is still an NFL record. The Chargers made it back to the playoffs, but after beating the Steelers in the first round, they lost to the Dolphins 34–13 in a rematch of their playoff game from the previous season. That loss began a slide for the Chargers, who from 1983 to 1991 failed to make the National Football League playoffs every season.
In 1984 Klein cut salary in preparation of selling the team, sending defensive linemen Johnson and Kelcher to San Francisco, where they would join Dean and offensive tackle Billy Shields for another 49ers championship in Super Bowl XXIV. Alex Spanos purchased a majority interest in San Diego from Klein on August 1. Alex G. Spanos still owns 97% of the team and George Pernicano owns the other 3%. Benirschke was named "Miller Man of the Year" and Joiner set an NFL record with his 650th pass reception in the fourth quarter of the game at Pittsburgh. In 1985 guard Ed White set an NFL record by playing in 241 NFL games, most all-time among offensive linemen. Lionel "Little Train" James, a mere 5'6" and 171 pound running back, set NFL record of 2,535 all-purpose yards while also setting a record of 1,027 receiving yards by a running back. Al Saunders was named the seventh head coach in Chargers history in 1986 following the resignation of Coryell. In 1987 Joiner retired to become receivers coach of the Chargers. The Chargers finished with an 8—7 record, their first winning record since 1982, despite winding up with six straight losses. In 1988 Fouts retired after a 15-year career in which he set seven NFL records and 42 club records, and became the NFL's second most prolific passer of all-time with 43,040 yards. Fouts's jersey number (14) was retired at halftime of "Dan Fouts Day" game in San Diego.
1989–1995: Super Bowl bound
In 1989 Dan Henning, a former Chargers quarterback, Washington Redskins assistant, and Atlanta Falcons head coach, was named the eighth head coach in Chargers history. Marion Butts set a club record with 39 carries and a team rookie record with 176 yards in Chargers' 20–13 win in Kansas City. After a three-year stint as Director of Football Operations, Steve Ortmayer was released after the season and replaced by Bobby Beathard.
Henning's tenure with the Chargers lasted three seasons as Bobby Ross was hired as head coach in 1992 and the Chargers acquired quarterback Stan Humphries in a trade with Redskins. The Chargers would lose their first four games of the season and come back to become the first 0–4 team to make the playoffs as they won 11 of the last 12 games and clinched the AFC West title. Ross was named NFL Coach of the Year for the Chargers' dramatic turnaround by Pro Football Weekly. In the first round of the playoffs, the Chargers shut out the Kansas City Chiefs 17–0, but the Dolphins shut out the Chargers in the divisional playoffs to eliminate the Chargers. In 1993, the Chargers finished 8–8 (fourth in their division).
In the 1994 season, the Chargers made their first and, so far, only Super Bowl appearance, against the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX. They got to the Super Bowl by winning their first six regular season games, the only NFL team to do so in 1994, and finished the season 11–5. Quarterback Stan Humphries and wide receiver Tony Martin combined on a 99-yard touchdown completion to tie an NFL record during a defeat of the Seattle Seahawks, 27–10. They would become the 1994 AFC West Division champions behind a defense led by linebacker Junior Seau, defensive tackles Reuben Davis and Shawn Lee, defensive end Leslie O'Neal and an offense keyed by running back Natrone Means, Humphries and Martin. The Chargers had upset victories over the Dolphins and Steelers in the AFC playoffs. Despite those two close triumphs (22–21 against the Dolphins in the Divisional Round, and 17–13 against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game), the Chargers lost Super Bowl XXIX to the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 49–26, who were led by quarterback Steve Young (Super Bowl MVP) and wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Despite the lopsided loss in the Super Bowl, Beathard, who traded for or drafted the bulk of the Chargers roster, and who hired coach Ross, was named the NFL's smartest man by Sports Illustrated, and became the only general manager to lead three different teams to the Super Bowl (Chargers, Dolphins, Redskins).
The Chargers follow-up year in 1995 did not bring the same success of the previous season, but the team still managed to get into the playoffs with a five-game winning streak to end the season at 9–7. However, in the first round, the Chargers were eliminated by the Indianapolis Colts in a 35–20 defeat.
1996–2003: Losing Seasons and Mediocrity
In 1996, running back Rodney Culver and his wife, Karen, were killed in the crash of ValuJet Airlines Flight 592 in the Florida Everglades. Culver was the second player in team history to die while on the active roster after David Griggs was killed in a one-car accident in Davie, Florida 11 months earlier. 1997 would find Ross and Beathard at odds with one another and would result in Ross and his staff being released. The Chargers selected Kevin Gilbride to become their new head coach. Gilbride, whose coaching background with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oilers featured a more open passing attack would mark a major change in offensive style from the ball control ground game of Ross. Beathard drafted quarterback Ryan Leaf after the Indianapolis Colts selected Peyton Manning with the first pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. The Chargers ended up trading several players and draft choices to the Arizona Cardinals in order to move up to the second pick and select Ryan Leaf. The Chargers would see the team struggle in pass protection resulting in Leaf suffering several concussions and his retirement from the game. Gilbride was replaced by interim head coach June Jones, who was on the Chargers' staff before the hire. Jones would leave the team at the end of the season to coach at the University of Hawaii and the Chargers would name former Oregon State University head coach Mike Riley as their new head coach. Leaf wound up having a disappointing career with the Chargers after a great deal of controversy with both the Charger management as well as the press and his teammates. His failure to be the player the team envisioned was seen as a black mark on the franchise and will be remembered by some as one of the worst draft/trades in the history of pro football. Quarterback Jim Harbaugh, who was acquired in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional draft choice in 2000, became the Chargers starting quarterback. Beathard retired in April 2000 and was replaced January 2001 by John Butler, former general manager of the Bills. From 1996 to 2003, the Chargers had eight-straight seasons where they were .500 or worse.
2001 saw Norv Turner, the former head coach of the Redskins, named offensive coordinator by Riley. Turner would go on to install the offense that he coached with the Dallas Cowboys under Jimmy Johnson. Turner learned the offense from Ernie Zampese, former offense coordinator during the Coryell era, while the two were on the Los Angeles Rams coaching staff. The Chargers signed Heisman Trophy winner free agent quarterback Doug Flutie, formerly with the Bills and traded the team's first overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft to the Atlanta Falcons for the first round selection (fifth overall) and third-round selection in the same draft. In addition the Chargers obtained wide receiver/kick returner Tim Dwight and the Falcons' second-round draft selection in the 2002 NFL Draft. The Chargers used those selections in the 2001 draft to select Texas Christian University running back LaDainian Tomlinson and Purdue University quarterback Drew Brees.
Hired as a replacement to Riley, Marty Schottenheimer's Chargers squad opened the 2002 season with four straight victories making him the only coach in team history to win his first four games. Butler would succumb to cancer after a nine-month struggle in April 2003. Replacing Butler was A. J. Smith, who was named Executive Vice President-General Manager, replacing his close friend. Smith and Butler had worked together with the Bills playing key roles with Buffalo's Super Bowl teams. In 2003, the Chargers traded Seau to the Dolphins for a draft pick in 2004 NFL Draft. Seau was selected to 2003 Pro Bowl, his 12th Pro Bowl selection of his career, and in his final season with the Chargers, he was chosen by teammates as the recipient of the Emil Karas Award as the team’s Most Inspirational Player. Also in 2003, Tomlinson accumalated 195 total yards from scrimmage in a late season game against the Packers to raise his season total to 2,011 and became the first player in team history and the eighth player in NFL history to record consecutive 2,000-yard seasons. Tomlinson also became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 100 passes in the same season .
2004–2009: Contender and the Philip Rivers Era
Although the Chargers were tied with three other teams for the worst record of the 2003 NFL season, the league’s tie-breaking system gave San Diego the number one pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. With this pick, the Chargers selected Quarterback Eli Manning from the University of Mississippi despite Manning's stated desire to play elsewhere. New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, who had been in trade negotiations for several weeks before the draft with the Chargers, selected quarterback Philip Rivers fourth and traded him along with additional draft picks to the Chargers. Rivers was expected to compete for the starting quarterback job, but he held out of training camp in a contract dispute. Drew Brees, who received the majority of snaps at quarterback during Rivers' hold out, would retain the starting quarterback position. The team earned a trip back to the post-season in 2004 by capturing the AFC West division title with a 12–4 regular season record. The Chargers entered the first round of the playoffs but were eliminated by the New York Jets, who won in overtime 20–17. Rookie kicker Nate Kaeding missed a 40-yard field goal that would have advanced San Diego into the next round, thus opening the door for a Jets victory. Despite an abrupt ending to their season, Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer was named NFL Coach of the Year for the season, and Brees was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
During the 2005 NFL Draft, the Chargers drafted linebacker Shawne Merriman with a draft pick acquired from the Giants in the Eli Manning trade, who would go on to become a selection to the 2006 Pro Bowl and the 2005 Defensive NFL Rookie of the Year Award recipient. The team then used their second first round selection on defensive tackle Luis Castillo.The Chargers started the season without tight end Antonio Gates as he was suspended two games by Smith for holding out in training camp. The 2005 season saw LaDainian Tomlinson's 18-game touchdown scoring streak end as Kaeding had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown in a 20–17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. Facing the 13–0 Colts on the road, the Chargers took a 16–0 lead into the third quarter of the game, but the Colts responded with 17 points of their own to take a 1-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Chargers would retake the lead on a field goal by Kaeding then scored again on an 83-yard touchdown run by Michael Turner. However a week later, the Chargers lost on the road to the Chiefs as an injured Tomlinson rushed for only 47 yards. The Chargers would go on to lose their season finale to the Broncos, with Brees suffering a dislocated shoulder to end the Chargers' 9–7 season. Brees, whose contract expired at the end of that season, left the team and would sign with the New Orleans Saints.
The 2006 campaign would see the Chargers set the team's single-season record for wins with 14, while Tomlinson would enjoy the finest statistical season of his career, leading the league with 1,815 rushing yards and setting an NFL single-season record by scoring 31 touchdowns. However, the team would come up short in the playoffs again, blowing a fourth quarter lead at home in a 24–21 loss to the New England Patriots. In the ensuing offseason, massive changes occurred to the coaching staff, as offensive coordinator Cam Cameron left to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, while defensive coordinator Wade Phillips would fill the head coaching vacancy with the Dallas Cowboys. After a brief struggle for control over filling these vacancies, General Manager AJ Smith fired Schottenheimer, replacing him with Norv Turner, who had been a head coach with two other NFL teams and had previously served the Chargers as offensive coordinator.
The 2007 San Diego Chargers season began with the team trying to equal their 2006 regular season success (14–2) and avoid another early departure in the playoffs. After a disappointing start under new head coach Norv Turner (1–3), they finished the regular season strong, with six straight wins, an overall record of 11–5, and the AFC West title. More importantly, they went further in the playoffs than the previous year, but fell again to the New England Patriots, this time in the AFC Championship game.
After winning their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday December 21, 2008, the Chargers stood at 7–8, one game behind the Denver Broncos. Denver's loss to the Buffalo Bills later that same day created a primetime showdown between Denver and San Diego in San Diego for the AFC West Championship, as well as the fourth seed in the playoffs. The Chargers won the 2008 AFC West championship in convincing fashion by beating Denver in a 52–21 blowout. On January 3, 2009, the San Diego Chargers defeated the Indianapolis Colts 23–17 in overtime to advance to the AFC Divisional Playoff round. On January 11, 2009 the Chargers were defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers 35–24 in the AFC Divisional Game ending the 2008 San Diego Chargers season.
The Chargers started the 2009 campaign slowly, with a 2–3 record, a trend under current coach Norv Turner (1–3 in 2007 & 2–3 in 2008). By that time, the Broncos were 6–0, and had a 31⁄2 game lead over the Chargers. Most pundits said the AFC West was already decided & SD would have to play for the wildcard. Most fans wanted the coach to be fired, especially after a lackluster performance at Oakland & Pittsburgh. But then, like all of their seasons under Turner, they played their best football at the end of the regular season. This was a season of the continual improvement of Philip Rivers & the passing game, and LaDainian Tomlinson no longer being the focus of the offense. Rivers threw for 4,254 yards (8th), 28 TD's (tied-6th), 8.8 yards per passing attempt (1st), 64 completions of 20+ yards (1st), only 9 INT's (4th with a minimum 400 pass attempts), and a 104.4 passer rating (3rd – only beaten by Drew Brees & Brett Favre). They would go on to win the AFC West, (their 4th straight division title, only Oakland with 5 straight 1972–1976 is better), along the way blowing out Denver with a convincing 32–3 victory at Denver & defeating every NFC East team. They finished the regular season with 11 straight wins (tying the 1961 team record & is also tied for the 5th longest win streak entering the playoffs), finished with an impressive 13–3 record, (including 4–0 in December, extending their NFL record with 18 straight wins in December, & also tying the Dolphins 1970–1974 in November for the longest winning streak in any month). They locked up the #2 seed as well as a first round bye but this served them no advantage in the playoffs as they lost at home to NYJ 17–14 (the only home team with a bye to lose in the divisional round). This was due to an overly conservative offense settling for FG's & the kicker, Nate Kaeding, missing all 3 attempts.
2010 was the 1st season without LaDainian Tomlinson since 2000 (let go by management due to an over-sized contract relative to production and other issues, he went on to lead the Jets in rushing with 914 yards & tied for 3rd in receptions with 52). The 2010 campaign started off slowly again, this time 2–5 (including losses to some of the worst teams in football at the time – KC, OAK, SEA & STL). The losses were due to turnovers & mental mistakes by young players on special teams allowing blocked punts & kick/punt return TD's. The loss to OAK ended their 13 game winning streak against the Raiders since their last loss on September 28, 2003. The Chargers then went on another 2nd half run with 4 straight wins but this time instead of keeping the streak going the entire 2nd half they had a big let down losing at home to the Raiders again, this time 28–13 (ending their shared NFL record, with the Dolphins, of 18 straight wins in December). Despite the loss, they still had a chance to win their 5th straight AFC West title, tying the Raiders, but they had another bad loss at the Bengals 34–20 ending their chances. The Chargers beat DEN to end the season with a 9–7 record & out of the playoffs for the first time since 2005. They finished the season as the 8th team in NFL history to rank #1 in overall offense (395.6 yards/game), and overall defense (271.6 yards/game), and became only the 2nd of those teams to not make the playoffs (1953 Eagles 7–4–1). They were 2nd to the Colts in passing yards per game (282.4), 2nd to the Patriots in points scored per game (27.6), 1st in passing yards allowed per game (177.8), 4th in rushing yards allowed per game (93.8), and tied for 2nd in sacks (47). On the negative stat sheet, they gave up the most punt return yards per game (18.9) & had 29 turnovers. Philip Rivers had another great season with a career-high 4,710 yards (#1 in the NFL), 294 yards passing per game (tied for 1st with Manning), 66% completion pct. (#3 to Brees & Manning), 30 TD's, only 13 INT's & a 101.8 passer rating (#2 to Brady). Mike Tolbert 11 rushing TD's & Antonio Gates 10 receiving TD's were among the league leaders in TD's scored. On defense, Shaun Phillips' 11 sacks were in the top 10.
With the special teams failure of the 2010 season campaign, the Chargers hoped to rebound with a strong performance to start the season, and a way to overcome slow starts. The Chargers started off the 2011 season with a 4-1 campaign, with the only loss to a very good New England Patriots team. From that point on, however, the Chargers began a five game losing skid with losses to the Jets, the Chiefs, the Packers, the Raiders, and the Bears, with the first four by only a score. Injuries to both the offensive and the defensive line have hit the Chargers hard.
Logo and uniforms
Except for color changes, the Chargers have basically used the logo of an arc-shaped lightning bolt since the team debuted in 1960. During its period in the AFL, the club also used a shield logo that featured a horsehead, a lightning bolt, and the word "Chargers".
From 1960 to 1973, the colors consisted of either Electric blue ("sky" or "powder" blue, but technically called Collegiate blue) or white jerseys, both with gold lightning bolts on the shoulders. The helmets were white and had both the arc-shaped lightning bolt logo, in gold, and the player's number. At first, the team wore white pants before switching to gold in 1966.
In 1974, the sky blue was changed to dark royal blue. The helmet was also changed to dark blue and the players' numbers were removed. From 1978 through 1983, the Chargers wore their white jerseys at home, coinciding with the hiring of coach Don Coryell – when Joe Gibbs, a Coryell assistant in 1979–80, became head coach of the Washington Redskins in 1981, he did the same, and white at home has become a Redskins staple ever since – but Coryell switched the Chargers to their blue jerseys at home starting in 1984. With the exception of the 1991 season and other sporadic home games since, San Diego wears its blue jerseys at home.
In 1985, the Chargers started using navy blue jerseys and returned to wearing white pants. The team's uniform design was next revamped in 1988. It featured an even darker shade of navy blue. The lightning bolts on the jerseys and helmets were white, with navy interior trim and gold outlining. In 1990, the team started to wear navy pants with their white jerseys. From 1988 to 1991, the team displayed stripes down the pants rather than lightning bolts. The Chargers went with all-white combinations in 1997 and 2001, only to have the blue pants make a comeback. On October 27, 2003, the Chargers wore their navy pants with their navy jersey for a Monday Night Football game versus the Miami Dolphins that was played at Sun Devil Stadium, then the home of the Arizona Cardinals, due to wildfires in southern California. This remains the only game in which the Chargers have worn the all-dark combination.
From the late 1980s to 2000, the Chargers wore white at home during preseason games and dark for regular season games. In 2001, the Chargers started wearing their dark uniforms for preseason games and white uniforms in September home games due to the heat before switching back to dark in October. From 2002 to 2006, the Chargers used the early-1960s powder blue uniforms as alternate jerseys, which many football fans (both of the Chargers and of other teams) clamored for the team to bring back full-time.
In March 2007, the Chargers unveiled their first uniform redesign since 1988, on the team's official website. The team formally unveiled this new uniform set, which mixes old and new styles, in a private team-only event. Navy blue remains the primary color on the home jersey, but the familiar lightning bolt was reverted to gold, and now has navy outlining and Collegiate (powder) blue interior trim. The latter color is a nod to the 1960s uniforms. The redesigned lightning bolt was moved to the sides of the shoulders from the top, and includes a new numbering font and word mark in white, with gold outlining and powder blue interior trim. The pants also have a redesigned lightning bolt in gold, with powder blue trim on a navy stripe. Additionally, the team pays tribute to other uniform features from their history by wearing a metallic white helmet, with a navy face mask, the newly revamped bolt in gold with navy and powder blue trim, and white pants. The road white jerseys with navy pants, as well as the alternate powder blue jerseys with white pants, were also redesigned with the new scheme. The Chargers wear their white jerseys for the first few home games in the first half of the season.
Since 2007, the Chargers have worn the alternate powder blue jerseys a total of nine times, most recently in a December 16, 2010 game vs. the San Francisco 49ers. The alternate powder blue jerseys were worn for a game against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2008 playoffs.
Players of note
Current rosterSan Diego Chargers roster
- 64 Colin Baxter C
- 66 Jeromey Clary T
- 62 Brandyn Dombrowski T
- 69 Tyronne Green G/T
- 61 Nick Hardwick C
- 73 Marcus McNeill T
- 75 Tony Moll G/T
- 63 Scott Mruczkowski C
- 60 Ikechuku Ndukwe G/T
- 70 Stephen Schilling T
- 65 Louis Vasquez G
- 98 Antwan Barnes OLB/DE
- 97 Bront Bird ILB
- 91 Everette Brown OLB/DE
- 56 Donald Butler ILB
- 58 Na'il Diggs ILB
- 59 Andrew Gachkar OLB
- 99 Travis LaBoy OLB/DE
- 95 Shaun Phillips OLB/DE
- 51 Takeo Spikes ILB
- 20 Antoine Cason CB
- 38 Marcus Gilchrist CB/FS
- 28 Steve Gregory SS
- 33 Dante Hughes CB
- 23 Quentin Jammer CB
- 27 Paul Oliver SS
- 25 Darrell Stuckey SS
- 32 Eric Weddle FS
- 29 Shareece Wright CB
- 54 Stephen Cooper ILB (IR)
- 68 Kris Dielman G (IR)
- 48 Patrick DiMarco FB (IR)
- 52 Larry English OLB/DE (IR)
- 10 Nate Kaeding K (IR)
- 57 Jonas Mouton ILB (IR)
- 41 Nick Polk FS (IR)
- 31 Bob Sanders SS (IR)
- 77 Charlie Bryant NT
- 53 Darryl Gamble ILB
- 37 Traye Simmons CB
- 34 Frank Summers FB
- 46 Brad Taylor TE
- 40 Jordan Todman RB
- 8 Drew Willy QB
Rookies in italics
updated November 19, 2011
53 Active, 8 Inactive, 7 Practice Squad
AFC East: BUF · MIA · NE · NYJ • North: BAL · CIN · CLE · PIT • South: HOU · IND · JAC · TEN • West: DEN · KC · OAK · SD
NFC East: DAL · NYG · PHI · WAS • North: CHI · DET · GB · MIN • South: ATL · CAR · NO · TB • West: ARI · STL · SF · SEA
Pro Football Hall of Famers
- Lance Alworth
- Fred Dean
- Dan Fouts
- Sid Gillman
- Charlie Joiner
- Deacon Jones
- John Mackey
- Ron Mix
- Johnny Unitas
- Kellen Winslow
Chargers Hall of Fame
The Chargers have a team Hall of Fame with the following members:
- 56 Emil Karas, Linebacker, 1960–66, inducted 1976
- 55 Frank Buncom, Linebacker, 1962–68, inducted 1976
- 53 Bob Laraba, Linebacker, 1960–61, inducted 1976
- 38 Jacque MacKinnon, Tight end, 1961–69, inducted 1976
- 19 Lance Alworth, Wide receiver, 1962–70, inducted 1977
- 74 Ron Mix, Offensive tackle, 1960–69, inducted 1978
- 23 Paul Lowe, Running back, 1960–68, inducted 1979
- Barron Hilton, team founder-owner, 1960–66, inducted 1980
- 22 Keith Lincoln, Running back, 1961–68, inducted 1980
- 77 Ernie Ladd, Defensive tackle, 1961–65, inducted 1981
- 78 Walt Sweeney, Guard, 1966–99, inducted 1981
- 21 John Hadl, Quarterback, 1962–72, inducted 1983
- 50 Chuck Allen, Linebacker, 1961–69, inducted 1984
- 27 Gary Garrison, Wide receiver, 1966–76, inducted 1985
- Sid Gillman, head coach, 1961–69 & 1971, inducted 1985
- 86 Earl Faison, Defensive end, 1961–66, inducted 1986
- 14 Dan Fouts, Quarterback, 1973–87, inducted 1993
- 18 Charlie Joiner, Wide receiver, 1976–86, inducted 1993
- Don Coryell, head coach, 1978–86, inducted 1994
- 45 Speedy Duncan, Cornerback, 1964–70, inducted 1995
- 70 Russ Washington, Offensive tackle, 1968–82, inducted 1995
- 80 Kellen Winslow, Tight end, 1979–87, inducted 1995
- George Pernicano, team executive, since 1961, inducted 1996
- 6 Rolf Benirschke, Kicker, 1978–87, inducted 1997
- 22 Gill Byrd, Cornerback 1983–92, inducted 1998
- 79 Gary "Big Hands" Johnson, Defensive tackle, 1975–84, inducted 1999
- 63 Doug Wilkerson, Guard, 1971–84, inducted 2000
- 89 Wes Chandler, Wide receiver, 1981–87, inducted 2001
- 12 Stan Humphries, Quarterback, 1992–97, inducted 2002
- Bobby Ross, head coach, 1992–96, inducted 2002
- 74 Louie Kelcher, Defensive tackle, 1975–83, inducted 2003
- 62 Don Macek, Center, 1976–89, inducted 2004
- 67 Ed White, Guard, 1978–85, inducted 2004
- 71 Fred Dean, Defensive end, 1975–81, inducted 2008
Alworth, Mix, Hadl, Joiner, Coryell, Gillman, Garrison, Fouts, White, Winslow, Faison, Benirschke, Lincoln, Washington, Humphries, Ladd and Wilkerson are also members of the San Diego Hall of Champions, which is open to athletes from the San Diego area as well as those who played for San Diego-based professional and collegiate teams.
50 Greatest Chargers
In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the AFL, the Chargers honored their top players and coaches franchise history. The 53 players and coaches selected as the Greatest Chargers of all time during the team's 50th Anniversary Season, was announced in 2009. The selections were made from 103 nominees. Online voting by fan accounted for 50 of the voting results; votes from Chargers Hall of Famers and five members of the local media made up for the other 50 percent. Over 400,000 votes were cast online. Dan Fouts and LaDainian Tomlinson received the first and second most votes, respectively.
QB — Dan Fouts, John Hadl, Stan Humphries, Philip Rivers.
RB — Keith Lincoln, Paul Lowe, Natrone Means, Chuck Muncie, LaDainian Tomlinson.
WR —Lance Alworth, Wes Chandler, Gary Garrison, John Jefferson, Charlie Joiner.
TE — Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow.
T — Ron Mix, Russ Washington, Ernie Wright.
G — Kris Dielman, Walt Sweeney, Ed White, Doug Wilkerson.
C — Nick Hardwick, Don Macek.
DE — Fred Dean, Earl Faison, Leslie O'Neal.
DT — Gary Johnson, Louie Kelcher, Ernie Ladd, Jamal Williams.
LB — Chuck Allen, Woodrow Lowe, Shawne Merriman, Junior Seau, Billy Ray Smith.
DB — Willie Buchanon, Gill Byrd, Rodney Harrison, Quentin Jammer, Charlie McNeil.
K — Rolf Benirschke, John Carney.
KR — Speedy Duncan, Darren Sproles.
P — Darren Bennett, Mike Scifres.
ST — Hank Bauer, Kassim Osgood.
COACHES — Don Coryell, Sid Gillman, Bobby Ross.
Current staffSan Diego Chargers staff
- Owner – Alex Spanos
- Chairman/President – Dean Spanos
- Executive Vice President – Michael Spanos
- Executive Vice President/CEO – A. G. Spanos
- Executive Vice President/General Manager – A. J. Smith
- Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Assistant General Manager – Ed McGuire
- Senior Executive – Randy Mueller
- Director of Player Personnel – Jimmy Raye
- Director of Pro Scouting – Dennis Abraham
- Director of College Scouting – John Spanos
- Assistant Director of Pro Scouting – Bryan Cox
- Assistant Director of College Scouting – Mike Biehl
- Defensive Coordinator – Greg Manusky
- Defensive Line – Don Johnson
- Linebackers – John Pagano
- Assistant Linebackers – Greg Williams
- Assistant Secondary – Cris Dishman
Special Teams Coaches
- Special Teams – Rich Bisaccia
- Special Teams Assistant – Carlos Polk
Strength and Conditioning
- Strength and Conditioning – Jeff Hurd
- Assistant Strength and Conditioning – Vernon Stephens
→ More NFL staffs
AFC East: BUF · MIA · NE · NYJ • North: BAL · CIN · CLE · PIT • South: HOU · IND · JAC · TEN • West: DEN · KC · OAK · SD
NFC East: DAL · NYG · PHI · WAS • North: CHI · DET · GB · MIN • South: ATL · CAR · NO · TB • West: ARI · STL · SF · SEA
Head of players affairs – James Vaughn\Anthony Rowe
Radio and television
The Chargers' flagship station is KIOZ 105.3FM, commonly known as "Rock 1053." Josh Lewin and Hank Bauer comprise the broadcast team. Past Chargers radio broadcasters have included Ralph Lawler, Stu Nahan, Tom Kelly, Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, Dan Rowe and Ted Leitner. Most preseason games are televised on KFMB in San Diego and KCBS in Los Angeles. The announcers were Ron Pitts and Billy Ray Smith.
Since the Los Angeles market is within the Chargers' 75-mile radius (which prohibits broadcasts of Charger games on national radio during the regular season), the Chargers Radio Network has a secondary flagship station for Los Angeles: KLAC AM-570, in Los Angeles and Orange County. The previous Los Angeles flagship was KSPN AM-710 and before that, KMPC AM-1540 for several years.
Dennis Packer, the public address announcer of all USC football games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, serves as the P.A. announcer of all Charger home games at Qualcomm Stadium. Packer replaced legendary PA announcer Bruce Binkowski, who went on to become the executive director of the Holiday and Poinsettia Bowl games.
City Call Sign Frenquency San Diego, California KIOZ-FM 105.3 FM San Diego, California KLSD-AM 1360 AM Temecula, California KATY-FM 101.3 FM Riverside, California KCAL-FM 96.7 FM Los Angeles, California KLAC-AM 570 AM Bakersfield, California KGEO-AM 1230 AM Reno, Nevada KHIT-AM 1450 AM Yucca Valley, California KNWH-AM 1250 AM Palm Springs, California KNWQ-AM 1140 AM Coachella, California KNWZ-AM 970 AM Coachella, California KNWZ-FM 94.3 FM Lancaster, California KOSS-AM 1380 AM Ontario, California KSPA-AM 1510 AM Honolulu, Hawaii KUPA-AM 1370 AM Victorville, California KVFG-FM 103.1 FM Ridgecrest, California KWDJ-AM 1360 AM Las Vegas, Nevada KWWN-AM 1100 AM El Centro, California KXO-FM 107.5 FM
City Call Sign Frenquency Tijuana, Mexico XHFG-FM 107.3 FM Los Angeles, California KWKW-AM 1330 AM Mexicali, Mexico XHSOL-FM 89.9 FM Ensenada, Mexico XEHC-AM 1590 AM
The Chargers are also well-known for their famous fight song, "San Diego Super Chargers". The song was recorded in 1979 at the height of the team's success with Air Coryell, and has a distinctly disco sound. The team under then-new owner Alex Spanos replaced the song in 1989 with a non-disco cover version, but the original version was revived in 2002. The team plays this song at home games after Chargers scores and victories. From time to time during highlights of NFL PrimeTime, ESPN's Chris Berman and Tom Jackson would briefly sing the first line of the song's chorus.
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- Western Division (1960–1969)
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