I Guess If He Really Thought He Might Get Canned, AJ Might Not Act Like AJ On Draft Day


Play, play the game tonight
Can you tell me if it’s wrong or right
Is it worth the time, is it worth the price
Do you see yourself in the white spotlight
Then play the game tonight

Ah, Kansas, you are so wise.  If you aren’t familiar with the tune, you can hear it here.  I haven’t spoken with you since the schedule was released and now it’s draft time.  I saw the “story” (based on an Acee Tweet) that the Chargers might trade up to draft Barron.  Then I read Kevin Acee’scolumn which suggested that anything could happen because AJ gets so much pleasure out of proving others wrong.  This plays to our worst fears that he’ll do whatever he wants and not what is best for the team.  I remember writing the same things about the late John Butler.  But when Wiley and Boston were jettisoned before the 2004 season, they both looked like geniuses.  However, the Bolts have never taken advantage of the opportunities presented to them in January and here we are.  The photo to your right was taken in the Chargers locker room, by the way.  I found it interesting, especially with the costly fumbles of Tolbert, Mathews and Rivers last season.  I think “Protect The Dream” should be a slogan for the entire team.  It’s not just the ball that is in these guys’ hands.  It’s the hopes, heartbreaks and fears of The Legion Of The Lightning Bolt as a whole.

Thursday Aug. 9 vs. Green Bay 5 p.m.ESPN
Saturday Aug. 18 vs. Dallas 6 p.m .CBS
Friday Aug. 24 at Minnesota 5 p.m .CBS
Thursday Aug. 30 at San Francisco 7 p.m.CBS

Monday Sept. 10 at Oakland 7:15 p.m. ESPN
Sunday Sept. 16 vs. Tennessee 1:15 p.m. CBS
Sunday Sept. 23 vs. Atlanta 1:05 p.m. FOX
Sunday Sept. 30 at Kansas City 10 a.m.CBS
Sunday Oct. 7at New Orleans 5:20 p.m.NBC
Monday Oct. 15 vs. Denver 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Sunday Oct. 21 BYE
Sunday Oct. 28 at Cleveland 10 a.m. CBS
Thursday Nov. 1 vs. Kansas City 5:20 p.m. NFLN
Sunday Nov. 11 at Tampa Bay 10 a.m. CBS
Sunday Nov. 18 at Denver *1:15 p.m. CBS
Sunday Nov. 25 vs. Baltimore *1:05 p.m. CBS
Sunday Dec. 2 vs. Cincinnati *1:15 p.m. CBS
Sunday Dec. 9 at Pittsburgh *10 a.m. CBS
Sunday Dec. 16 vs. Carolina *1:05 p.m .FOX
Sunday Dec. 23 at N.Y. Jets *5:20 p.m. NBC
Sunday Dec. 30 vs. Oakland *1:15 p.m. CBS

I am sure you’ve taken a good look at this already.  You can click on the link to see a close up of the girls on the roller coaster ride that is a Charger season.  I can only imagine what missed field goal or stupid penalty they’ll be reacting to.  I’m too harsh, you say?  Come on, FAITHFUL READER.  I couldn’t say these things about the Bolts if I didn’t know this team so well and if I hadn’t suffered through all this alongside you.  I would love to be wrong, however,  That’s why I plan to attend the 12/23 game in New Jersey.  If LT really isn’t back with the Jets, it should make showing up a little less thorny for me.  I also am tentatively planning on going to the game in Cleveland.  Why, you ask?  It’s just the type of random act I like to pull.  Long-time members of The Justice League may remember that I attended the ’92 and ’04 games there already.  Those were 11 and 12 wins seasons, respectively.  Those game were also big wins in those seasons.  Of course, our one-time and apparently present-day kicker fucked the second January up beyond repair.  I noticed that Kevin Acee made mention of the ghosts of postseasons past (and lost) as well:

The Jets. There is no opponent that summons the frustrations and teases of recent years like the Jets, who came across the country to beat the Chargers by (missed) field goals in the 2004 and ’09 playoffs and last October in New Jersey overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to start the Chargers on what would grow to a six-game losing streak.”  Well, I sold my tickets to the first playoff game due to financial concerns about flying cross country and I sat last year’s game out since it was the weekend of my daughter’s 5th birthday.  This year, the schedule makers gave the Bolts a bye on her big day.  They also solved my dilemma about the opening Sunday since I was concerned about having to watch my son that day.  I previously Tweeted that Sammy and Sarah were going to see The Fresh Beat Band that afternoon and I assumed that Aaron was about to get a crash course in how Daddy rolls during football season.  But since the Bolts are playing at the latest possible day and time that week, I will be sitting in front of my television all by myself once again.  By the way, having mentioned LaDainian Tomlinson earlier, I actually would have been OK with AJ bringing him back.  My esteemed colleague, Whit Watson, wondered aloud what kind of idiot would be in favor of such a move a few posts back.  I guess the answer is this idiot.  Like everything else with this team, it’s an emotional and symbolic decision for me.  I care far less for LT then for what it would represent for AJ to actually show he can change.  There is no doubt that LT was not OK with being phased out of the offense, even though he beamed to Jim Trotter to the contrary after we beat the Eagles at home in ’09.  Maybe it was the emotion of finding out he was finally going to be a dad, I don’t know. 

However, right now the thing I believe really stands most in the way of the San Diego Chargers are the San Diego Chargers.  Beyond Norv and AJ, I blame Dean Spanos.  I just finished reading Mark Ribowsky’s excellent biography of Howard Cosell.  In it, he describes the late Gene Klein accosting Cosell in public by calling him “Al Davis’ pimp.”  Cosell was a big supporter of The Dark One’s lawsuit against the NFL.  Can yo imagine Dean Spanos having that kind of passion about the Chargers?  I have been looking for evidence that ownership is actually committed to winning a Super Bowl for years and am yet to find it.  My biggest complaint is that our coach and GM haven’t been held accountable for mistakes.  If they aren’t expected to produce results, then how can you expect the team to?  Oh, Dean, Norv and AJ talk about “Super Bowl or bust,” but nothing they’ve done backs that up.  I am fine with Vincent Jackson departing and Meachem and Royal taking his place.  But part of me wanted to see AJ sign Jackson to a long-term deal just to show that he was willing to do something we all thought he was determined not to.  Weren’t we promised a kindler, gentler AJ when Dean neglected to fire him?  Of course, I wrote at the time that it’s not AJ’s asshole tendencies that matter but where it’s gotten us. 

That’s why I am even more concerned about this draft than usual.  AJ talks about needing a defense to win a championship, but he’s signed one defender this offseason.  It will come in the draft, some speculate.  It fucking better.  I know that Gaither isn’t perfect and that is valid concern that he’ll revert back to his lazy ways.  But I do have to agree with Acee’s point in the U-T’s draft roundtable video that the Chargers didn’t give him a new contract so they could draft a guard in the first round.  So will I be happy with a defensive pick?  As long as it’s someone I’ve heard of.  Seriously, I can’t stomach another pick that has the “experts” saying that “this guy was predicted by everyone to go later.”  Maybe AJ should stop trying to prove he’s smarter than everybody by looking for more guys in the scrap heap.  Prove your worth by doing your fucking job.  It’s hard enough to make the tough decisions without the inflated ego getting in the way.  Being stubborn is no longer working.  Before I forget, I was sent a link to this site regarding facial hair.  I have no idea what it has to do with the Chargers, but I thought I’d pass it along.

That’s all for now.  I’m sure I’ll be on Twitter after the Bolts use their first pick.  Forget protecting the dream, how about not destroying the dream for once.  Maybe this year’s JIC slogan will be

Don’t shit on the dream.

Talk to you soon,


About Ross Warner

ROSS WARNER is a forty-five year old freelancer whose credits include Sports Illustrated OnLine and Blitz as well as numerous articles on his favorite band, the Grateful Dead. Blah, Blah, Blah. Yeah, I was on WNEW FM the morning after the Chargers made the Super Bowl. Having returned from Pittsburgh only hours before, there I was at half-court at Madison Square Garden in my #12 jersey and wiping my sweat with a "Terrible Towel." When asked about the future for the newly-crowned AFC Champs, I simply uttered "justice is coming." Like so many others, I first took notice of the Chargers during the "Air Coryell" period of the late 1970s. But as Dan Fouts gave way to Ed Luther, Mark Hermann, Babe Laufenberg, Jim McMahon, David Archer, Mark Vlasic, Billy Joe Tolliver and John Freisz my fanaticism turned to obsession. When Stan Humphries resurrected the franchise in 1992, I began calling the Chargers organization to share my plan to get the team into the Super Bowl. This began the stormy rapport with the Chargers' Public Relations staff which reached a boiling point at a 1996 "team spirit" luncheon when I demanded that guard Eric Moten explain his propensity for holding penalties. It was then I realized I needed my own forum. Founded in 1995, Justice Is Coming is precisely that. To decide whether this site is for you, ask yourself these questions: Do you think of Johnny Unitas as an ex-Charger? Are your three children named JJ, Kellen and Wes, with one of them being a girl? Do you think that Rolf Benirschke got a raw deal on the daytime "Wheel of Fortune?" Can you remember where you were on December 3, 1984 when Bobby Duckworth fumbled the ball attempting to spike it on "Monday Night Football?" Does Al Davis, a dark alley and a lead pipe mean anything to you? If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then you, too, believe that Justice Is Coming. This is a weekly look at the San Diego Chargers through the eyes of someone who spends most of his time thinking about the Bolts so you don't have to. But being a Chargers fan is not an obligation, although it sometimes feels like it. So I offer you this "alternative perspective." All the football, film and music collides in the centrifuge that is my brain and this newsletter is the result.