Testing, Testing, Is This Thing On?

unnamedloI know the schedule will be released on Thursday and I wanted to get something up before then.  You might have noticed that the site looks a little different.  The good folks at Bloguin have once again updated their look, which has brought us back to the WordPress template with which we started.  Since this is sort of a trial run, I thought I’d post a great little anecdote from last month.  Kelly C. Hair, a longtime member of the Justice League, had the opportunity to hang out with Lorenzo Neal.  I first learned about this when he sent me this message:

Let me try this again. Lorenzo Neal is coming to speak to the kids at all of the schools in our district and as the biggest Charger fan within hundreds of miles I get to drive him around all day and have lunch with him. Any questions, comments, or otherwise? My goal is to get him to my house and take a pic with him with the lightning bolt in the bottom of my pool in the background.

Naturally, I responded with the only possible question a Charger fan my age could have:

He was angry with the missed opportunity of the 2006 team. He made that clear during the pro bowl that year.  Yet they never got out of the first round.  Was that team really as good as we thought?  Were they the product of an easy schedule and an MVP at RB?   Was it Marty, Eric Parker, McCree?  He was in the Marty NFL Network thing as well, did he think it was just another Marty meltdown?

Kelly (and his kids) ended up spending the day with Lo Neal and you can see his responses below.  The picture of Kelly’s pool, which he was nice enough to share here years ago was also on Lo’s Instagram page.

LoandKellyskidsI had 10 minutes with him alone waiting for him to go into an assembly at one of the schools. When I asked him about the 2006 team, he shook his head and said you just had to ask me about that didn’t you? He said that was by far the best team he had ever played on, and that it was a great team. Did not blame Marty at all, he held Marty in very high regard and said he was a leader of men. He said it was a mistake firing him and it was a mistake to hire Turner. I asked him specifically about the play calling as far as LT not getting the ball in the second half and he said that was all on Cam. He said Marty gave Cam too much control and it was his game to call. He said he sat in the locker room and cried after that game. He said LT was furious but that’s not much of a revelation. He said that the game was too big for some of the players on the team. He mentioned Erik Parker’s drops. He said there was a play in the game that really bothered him. It was a draw play and he said that if he would have made a good block on Teddy Bruschi that LT would have definitely taken it to the house. He said he got a piece of him but not quite enough to stop him from making the tackle.

He is a very impressive public speaker and doesn’t have a rehearsed routine, he speaks from his heart. I watched him make four different speeches to students and he brought up the 2006 team in every one. He even asked me in the middle of one of them to tell them what happened to the best team he ever played on. No doubt that season weighs on his mind.
I shuttled him around all day, but my kids were in the car when I gave him a lift back to his ride. He got in the front seat of the car, then saw my kids in the back and said hold on a second. He jumped in the backseat with them for the ride back. What can I say, it was a great day to be a Charger fan for a change.
My response:
The only thing that I still wonder about that team is what he addressed.  They weren’t poised at all.  As much as I hated Norv, the games weren’t too big for the Bolts in those first two years.  Then the 2009 playoffs rolled around and they regressed right back to the chokers they were under Marty.
Exactly and believe me I thought about asking him about that. Norv took the Chargers further than Marty did. And Lo was being personable and cool but I just got the feeling he didn’t want to go any further than I already did so I let it go. That’s one of the reasons I say that I know that weighs on him.  I forgot to tell you one thing, the coolest part of all in my opinion. After he gave his speeches he let kids ask questions. In the first assembly a kid asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up when he was a kid. His response was I wanted to play in the NFL for the San Diego Chargers. He said he grew up watching Dan Fouts,  Chuck Muncie, Kellen Winslow and Air Coryell. He said he used to act like he was Chuck Muncie taking handoffs from Fouts in his backyard. After that, when we got back in the car he asked me how I became a Chargers fan. I told him it was for the exact same reason that he did. I had no idea.  I thought that was awesome.
There you have it.  I will get back to you after the schedule is released and we can also talk about the draft.  Tell me how this thing looks on the other side.

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.