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About Los Angeles Chargers
Based in mainland Los Angeles, the Chargers compete as part of the AFC West division. The Chargers were founded in 1959 and made their debut in the American Football League on 10 September 1960. The team spent their first season in their LA home town. However, they decided to move in 1961 to San Diego, and changed their team name to the San Diego Chargers.
The team joined the NFL when both the AFL and the NFL merged in 1970. Until recently, the Chargers had played all their games at the SDCCU stadium, however, in 2017 it was announced that the team would return to playing in Los Angeles at the Dignity Health Sports Park, which was previously called the StubHub Center. The Chargers will continue to play their home games at Dignity Health Sports Park until the LA Stadium at Hollywood Park opens in 2020, which will also fill in as the home ground of the Los Angeles Rams.
Hired back in 2013, Tom Telesco is the Chargers’ general manager. He is noted as the youngest general manager in the history of the LA Chargers. Telesco earned a lot of credibility as the Vice President of Football Operations at the Indianapolis Colts between 1998-2012. During his final six years at the Colts, before making the transition to the Chargers, he was appointed as the Colts’ Director of Player Personnel.
The LA Chargers’ History
The Chargers were founded on 14 August 1959, when a hotel tycoon, Barron Hilton, received an AFL franchise opportunity. The poor turnout for the team in spite of their successes, especially their Western division championship win in 1960, disappointed the 32-year-old tycoon. To rectify this lack of support, Hilton decided to relocate the Chargers from LA to San Diego in 1961, where the Balboa Stadium was renovated, boosting the stadium’s capacity to 34,000 to make room for Chargers’ fans.
After the relocation to San Diego, the Chargers went on a momentous run of victories under head coach Sid Gillman. The Chargers became known as one of the most formidable teams in the American Football League, going on to win five AFL championships within the first six years of the AFL’s existence. One of their most notable wins came when they defeated the Boston Patriots back in 1963, with a score of 51-10, securing them the AFL title.
Their success was mainly down to notable players such as Lance Alworth, Paul Lowe, Keith Lincoln, and John Hadl, all of whom helped establish the team’s positive reputation in the American Football League. Many of the Chargers have since been appointed a position in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including head coach Sid Gillman, wide receiver Lance Alworth, and Ron Mix, who was one of the team’s star tackles.
LA Chargers Success
In 1967, the Chargers moved to a 60,000+ seating capacity stadium in San Diego, which is known as the Qualcomm Stadium. Despite the opportunities that may have come with relocating to a much larger stadium, the team failed to achieve another championship title win until 1979.
Head coach Gillman amassed an excellent record for the Chargers, which finally stood at 87-57-6 over 11 seasons. Unfortunately, Gillman had to retire from his position as head coach of the Chargers due to health concerns in 1969. He made a brief return to the team in 1971 to coach ten games. However, his previous successes could not be replicated.
Another prominent figure that coached the Chargers whilst they were based in San Diego was Don Coryell. Coryell had a fantastic win record of 72-60-0, which he achieved between 1978-1986. During his leadership, the Chargers were able to win the AFC West division championship in 1979, 1980, and 1981, whilst also reaching the AFC Championship game twice during the last two seasons.
One of the things that made the Chargers so unique was their style of play, which excited many American football fans. Both Don Coryell and Sid Gillman helped facilitate this forward-pressing style of play, which helped them gain attention from many football fans.
The Chargers’ legendary quarterback, Dan Fouts, was one of the leading proponents of the team’s success, who worked in conjunction with Charlie Joiner, a wide receiver, and tight end Kellen Winslow. Together they helped the team go on to secure many victories. During their time in San Diego, the Chargers found great success, and also reached the second round of the AFC playoffs in 1982, however, they did not reach this level again for over ten years.
In 1992, Bobby Ross was appointed as the head coach for the Chargers. Thanks to Ross’s takeover, the Chargers were propelled back into the AFC playoffs and went on to secure the Western division title. The team was able to reach the Super Bowl XXIX in 1994, after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 17-13 win. However, their hopes of a Super Bowl victory died when they lost to the San Francisco 49ers, in a 49-26 defeat.
The team’s owners have switched hands many times, originally being sold by Barron Hilton to Eugene V. Klein in 1966. In 1984, Klein sold the team to businessman Alex G. Spanos. The Spanos dynasty decided to relocate the Chargers back to LA in 2016.
The Chargers’ Star Players
One of the team’s stars is LaDainian Tomlinson who played as a running back in the NFL for 11 seasons. Tomlinson is listed as one of the best NFL running backs in American football history.
Seau played in the NFL as a linebacker and was well-known for his dedicated and passionate style of play. He achieved accolades such as All-Pro (10-time winner), Pro Bowl selection (12-time winner), and was placed in the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Star Team. After Seau’s death, he was finally elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Although Gates is currently a free agent, he has previously been selected for the Pro Bowl eight times in a row and has also been given the All-Pro title five times. Gates has played as a tight end in the NFL for several years.