As a local San Diegan, like many of you, I grew up a Chargers fan.
My first-ever football jersey was Junior Seau’s. I rocked it hard.
My Seau jersey is long gone now, but I still have my navy blue L.T. jersey and a powder blue Antonio Gates jersey I got back in high school. Admittedly, I haven’t worn them in years since venturing into the world of sports media, but I haven’t got rid of them either. They represent a piece of my upbringing.
Like many of you, I have a plethora of memories at Qualcomm Stadium that I will forever cherish.
My parents were Chargers season ticket holders during the “glory” years of the 2000’s. I screamed, yelled, chanted, tailgated.
All of it.
And I’ll never forget it.
But, as we know, the Chargers could very well be departing our beloved city. Dean Spanos has been granted the opportunity to share a stadium with Stan Kroenke’s Rams in Inglewood. He has one year to decide on a move to Los Angeles.
Details of how the Rams/Chargers potential partnership will work are being discussed by both teams right now.
According to Kevin Acee, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Spanos finally spoke on the phone Thursday. Apparently they didn’t get into anything too specific, but it sounds like it was at least a fresh start (the Chargers left the negotiating table last June) to resuming more comprehensive dialogue on a potential stadium in San Diego.
The caveat is that Spanos is not going to seriously start negotiating with the city until he has a firm agreement with Kroenke. He needs the leverage.
So, what should Faulconer do in the meantime?
Call Raiders’ owner Mark Davis.
It’s been suggested that, if the Chargers do end up going to Los Angeles, the Raiders would then key in on San Diego.
Faulconer should get the ball rolling now. The city needs leverage just as much as Spanos does.
If Spanos does in fact come back to the table, he is going to try and squeeze out the best possible deal with the least amount of personal financial contribution. That’s how you negotiate in business, which is why Faulconer should be ready to counter with the idea that the city and Raiders are prepared to work out a deal in San Diego.
If the city and the Chargers come to an agreement, awesome! We get to keep our team (likely pending voter approval). But, if Spanos doesn’t like what the city is proposing, fine. Let him move to Los Angeles, play second fiddle to the Rams (and every other team up there), and let’s get the Raiders in San Diego.
If a good deal, and the prospect of the Raiders moving to San Diego isn’t enough to sway him, than his true colors really are green.
Plus, if San Diego is to have any sort of last laugh in this saga, imagine Spanos trying to hold on to that vaunted 25 percent we so often hear about in Los Angeles/Orange County with the Rams in Inglewood, and the Raiders in San Diego?
Ha! Good luck.
We should remember that allegiance is a two-way street. If one partner is unwilling to mirror the same loyalty than there’s no point in staying committed. It’s time to move on.
If the NFL is so important to our civic pride, we should embrace whichever team wants to be a part of America’s Finest City.
Even if that’s the Raiders.
It doesn’t mean you have to burn your Chargers jerseys. It doesn’t mean your memories of chanting “LT!, LT!, LT!” or “Eli sucks! Eli sucks!” are any less real.
It just means you’re no longer a fan of blue and gold.
For me, I’m okay with that because above all, like many of you, I’m a fan of San Diego and that’s what’s most important.
If that means welcoming the silver and black, so be it.
–Andrew Burer (TWITTER: @andrewburer)