Monday, January 15, 2007

Black Monday Catharsis - The Football God's

I haven't written in this Blog for quite some time. I was way too busy; the Chargers were on an incredible roll and I was swept up in the elation and busy promoting them on the web site and communicating with fellow fans on the web.

It was glorious. This was the year we finally not only got to the Super Bowl, but actually won the whole enchilada.

We drove the RV to San Diego and attended the Chargers vs. KC game with my daughter and her family. The city was excited and the fair-weather "fans" were all fighting to get on the band wagon. It was great.

Today is Black Monday, January 15, 2007. I have a headache. My stomach is in knots. I am exhausted and my entire body aches. Remember that feeling when your true love broke up with you or your spouse asked for a divorce or you got fired from work? Remember how you couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, couldn't concentrate on anything else, didn't want to talk with others? Didn't want to be around other people, didn't want to be alone? How your mind kept replaying images of all the good times? How your mind kept replaying images of the horror of the ending? Sure you do -- because you are a Chargers fan too and yesterday you saw the same game that I did. It was a nightmare come true.

I have felt these feelings so many times since 1961. I won't recount them all now but if you have been a fellow Chargers fan for even the last ten to fifteen years, you have experienced it too.

It hurts. Remember what Coach George Allen of the Washington Redskins said?; "Football is a rough game and often a cruel one. Every time you lose you die a little bit. You die inside; a portion of you. Not all of your organs, maybe just your liver. Pain is inevitable." How can this keep happening? I know the answer . . . .the football God's are cruel.

Our Chargers went 14-2 this year. They won all eight games before the home crowd. LT set every record known to man in the NFL. Rivers had a solid season for a rookie quarterback. Even Marty learned a lesson and relinquished his "Martyball" grip on the team. Nine - NINE - players made the Pro Bowl. They won the AFC West decidedly and then won home field advantage throughout the playoffs. And then . . . . as Coach Jim Morra would say, "Playoffs? Playoffs? Are you kiddin' me? Playoffs?"

The reality of my 45 year love affair and blind allegiance to the San Diego Chargers came crashing down AGAIN yesterday in the first game of the playoffs.

Let's see now. . . .

1st Qtr: NE 3rd and 8 on its own 12. Brady's pass is tipped to Clinton Hart but he doesn't catch it for the interception. The Patriots punt and get out of their own territory.

1st Qtr: Chargers 4th and 11 at NE 30-yard line. 47-yard Field Goal for Kaeding. Marty, instead, goes for first down and Rivers is sacked - no points. Pats take over at their 35-yard line.

3rd Qtr: Eric Parker muffs the punt and instead of falling on the ball, tries to pick it up and is tackled with Pats recovering the muff.

3rd Qtr: Three plays later, Brady is sacked, fumbles and Pats recover. After the play, Drayton Florence head-butts Pats Daniel Graham for 15-yard penalty and automatic first down. Instead of 4th and 21 from the 37, Pats now 1st and 10 at the 18. Pats kick a 34-yard Field Goal to cut Chargers lead to 14-13.

4th Qtr: Pats are behind 21-13 with 4th and 5. Brady goes for it with pass that is intercepted by Marlon McCree. McCree tries to run with it instead of falling down after the catch. Troy Brown strips McCree and Reche Caldwell (remember this name, OK?) recovers at Chargers 32. Five plays later, Brady hits Caldwell for TD and they make 2 point conversion to tie the score at 21.

You're right. It is a Team game but these individuals put themselves above the team or disregarded years of teaching and coaching and as a result, the team lost.

Want to hear about other members of the team's contribution to the loss? How about this:

Eric Parker dropped two passes. One should have been ruled a catch and then a fumble. He slipped down running a reverse for a 7 yard loss.

Vincent Jackson dropped a pass and forced a Chargers punt. He came down out of bounds on a TD pass in the end zone because he didn't know where the sideline was.

Drayton Florence intercepted a pass but a holding penalty against Mike Goff and a subsequent sack forced a Chargers punt. Shane Olivia had a personal foul penalty.

Philip Rivers threw an interception to Pats Rosevelt Colvin and lost a fumble.

Quentin Jammer was beaten bad when on 3rd and 10 Brady threw a 49-yard pass to Reche Caldwell.

Nate Kaeding had made 24 straight Field Goals since missing wide right in the Playoffs against the Jets two years ago. Yesterday he was wide right on the final play for the Chargers from 54 yards.

Patriots Reche Caldwell (remember I said 'remember this name?') (ex-Charger) caught 4 yard pass in back of the end zone with 4:36 left in game that led to 2 point conversion. The McCree interception that he subsequently fumbled was recovered by Reche Caldwell. It was Caldwell who burned Jammer for a 49-yard catch to the Chargers 17-yard line. Caldwell had seven receptions for 80 yards. Given ample opportunity, he expressed no sense of vengeance or bitterness toward the Chargers, who didn't value him enough to bring him back after four seasons in San Diego. Now add Rodney Harrison maybe getting his second Super Bowl ring with NE; and "Heaven forbid", Junior Seau maybe getting a ring with NE. Drew Brees is great and still playing with a good shot at the Big Show. And don't forget that Donnie Edwards is going to be cast off. Odds say Marty is going to be fired and probably Cam Cameron will be allowed to take another job somewhere. So who are the final two individuals who place themselves above the team? How about Dean Spanos and most of all, A.J. (The Genius) Smith?!?!

Enough blame to go around? I would say so.

I have had to endure over 100 ranting, taunting, vilifying emails from Raider fans so far. I love it because then I know for sure I am driving them nuts and it doesn't bother me a lick because they are 2-14 and remain the scum of the earth "fans." I know the Chargers will continue to kick the Raiders ass year after year, and that is a good feeling.

And you know what? This Blog post has been cathartic. I feel a little better since I got some of it out. I'll take a few more days to move through the grieving process and over time I will be able to "let it go" and get ready for NEXT YEAR.

Next year will be our year. Next year we will go undefeated. Next year we will win the Super Bowl. Next year I will continue to promote my Chargers and pull the chain on the Raider fans and watch them bounce off the wall. Next year will be the best year in my 45 years of being a Chargers fan . . . . unless the football God's decide to be cruel AGAIN.

"Football is a rough game and often a cruel one. Every time you lose, you die a little bit. You die inside; a portion of you. Not all of your organs, maybe just your liver. Pain is inevitable." If my team can endure it, I can endure it.