Bye bye, Jordan Todman. We hardly knew you. We literally hardly knew you since Norval never found a reason or way to use you. Once Kevin Acee went on NFL Network in the middle of the season to try to explain what was wrong with Philip Rivers and mentioned the departure of Darren Sproles, the “Rivers misses Sproles” rationale began to appear everywhere. Is that a testament to Acee’s insight and influence or the fact that our favorite football team plays under a fucked up ownership and tight-lipped GM? It’s a unusual dynamic, to say the least. Dean Spanos remembers when the Chargers were irrelevant to San Diego and apparently credits AJ Smith for most of the improvement from’04-’09. But Deano seems not to understand that once the fans start paying attention it means more than just dollars. It means they aren’t just going to accept stupidity and excuses. If the team’s beat writer is the only place that their frustrations can possibility go if they want to see it get to the top, that’s where people are going to vent. But it’s not a healthy arrangement, that’s for sure.
I know that you know my stance on remakes and reboots, FAITHFUL READER. But I did watch The Rise Of The Planet Apes recently. It was average and unnecessary, but it did make this creation from the 2007′s “Norv Turner Photoshop Contest” on the Chargers Message Board seem oddly relevant. More than anything, I was angry on Sunday that Dean Spanos put me in a position that I actually felt like this season needed to be sacrificed for the future of the San Diego Chargers. As many people commented after the Sunday Night game against Baltimore, I felt as if a win against Detroit would have left me with a “now what?” feeling.
Of course, I didn’t need to worry about that happening. Antwan Barnes apparently got shoved before the game and the Bolts once again proved to be a team that doesn’t respond once they get “punched in the mouth.” Hank Bauer called Greg Manusky’s “scheme” the softest zone in years. Josh Lewin said after the Bolts got down early that they needed get “Charger tough, or any kind of tough.” The Chargers had what Bauer called “a negative pass rush” and the secondary looked both lost and untalented. 3rd down was the usual horror show. On offense, Norv once again couldn’t find a use for his only 1,000 yard rusher of the last four seasons near the goal-line. Once the Chargers reached the 10 yard line and were looking to pull to 24-14, he ran Tolbert once and passed twice for the umpteenth time this season. While I still want to see us beat Oakland, I don’t really want to see anyone of value (there ain’t that many of them) get hurt in the process.
These shots were in ESPN: The Magazine recently. They speak for themselves. I will tape the game on Sunday and listen via Sirius as I recover from the Gov’t Mule concert at my parents’ house in Connecticut. I’m not happy with any of the other AFC West teams winning the division, but that comes with being a fan. I have a hard time seeing any of them going on a run, but it doesn’t matter anyway. I read a comment on the U-T site after Sunday’s game by a fan who said he felt “fortunate” that this season ended mercilessly in Detroit. I can certainly understand how and why someone would say that.
While I was worried leading up to the game that we could be stuck with Norv for another year, the Bolts’ disastrous play ended that fear. I guess I should be grateful as well, but I’m now more angry that Dean Spanos needs even more reminding as to why we need to move on.
Tim Sullivan’s column this week points out what many have been saying for a while now. The Chargers have neglected both lines. Their skill players on offense don’t have the space to operate as they get older and more ringless each season. On defense, there simply aren’t enough impact guys. Yeah, that’s on AJ. Even Norv tried to hint at that, which is pretty fucked up since AJ loves Norv just as Norv loves Mike Tolbert on the 10-yard line. That Acee story about AJ possibly taking Jon Gruden to St. Louis if he gets canned also stinks of self-preservation. I’m not buying it. I don’t have a preference for the new coach. Obviouisly, Gruden would restore fan confidence and sell tickets. The same goes for Cowher or Fisher. Maybe Fisher would have the best shot at a Lombardi since he’s the only guy of that group who’s never won the Super Bowl and no coach has done it yet with two teams. The Dolphins thought Jimmy Johnson was the answer as well.
It seemed also to be more salt in the wound that Philip Rivers got voted onto the AFC Pro Bowl squad when he singlehandedly cost us a few games this season and led us to zero fourth-quarter comebacks. My wife kept reminding me on Sunday that the Bolts needed to get a new guy as coach, one that wasn’t so milquetoast. I mentioned to her that Rivers apparently liked playing for Norv Turner, she replied:
“he’ll like winning even more.”
Well put, I know. I’ll take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year and a Norv-less 2012. I know that the next time the Chargers reach the playoffs, it will be with a leader that brings out the best in them, rather than the demons we’ve seen under the last 2 coaches. Nonetheless, I am sad that the back and forth communications between myself and The Legion Of The Lightning Bolt will become less frequent now. Then again, when there is something newsworthy to discuss I am sure we will reconvene. This fanbase deserves a Super Bowl Championship more than any othre. I think we are all more than a little tired of watching former Chargers hoist the Trophy. Here’s some New Year’s video form the Justice Is Coming House Band as well as some Gov’t Mule for you. Feel free to flush any and all remaining Chargers “Legacy” wine down the toilet and save the “Bolt Up” slogan for another year.