Chargers’ kickoff comes with a kick in the stomach

San Diego Chargers RB Danny Woodhead

The San Diego NFL fan wearing her game face let loose with her favorite yell.

“Go Chargers!!!”

Then she caught herself.

“Not go Chargers. Well, go Chargers, but not…you know what I mean,” she said with a wave of resignation.

Football returned Thursday night to Mission Valley and welcome to Mission: Impossible. The Chargers winning the Super Bowl? It’s 50-1 in Las Vegas and don’t spend all your lunch money.

The Chargers-Cowboys preseason game was the main entree, but it arrived with a side dish. It’s impossible not to speculate this was the first outing of the Chargers’ last season in San Diego.

Yeah, team mouthpiece Carmen Policy’s declaration of the Chargers being committed to Los Angeles rang in everyone’s ears.

Raise your hand if suffering from stadium fatigue.

Sure the game was played, with the Chargers beating the Cowboys, 17-7. But there was an odd buzz among the 58,507 in attendance and we’re not talking about the overpriced suds.
Chargers officials are batting their eyes at Carson and you’re a Johnny-come-lately not to recognize that.

Dean Spanos, the not-so-friendly ghost, was Casper before the game. He regularly roams the sidelines, but not on Thursday.

Wise move.

Casper can deliver boos with the best of them. And if Spanos sauntered onto the field, something similar would be heard.

There’s a precedent here and we present the case of Hall of Famer Dan Fouts.

The bearded wonder was in the booth on Thursday, but in 1988 his No. 14 was retired. Alex Spanos, Dean’s father, was preceding over the halftime ceremony but he needed a better microphone.

Boos rained on the turf, with customers upset with Spanos. He treated Fouts much the way his son allowed former general manager A.J. Smith to chastise LaDainian Tomlinson.
In 1988, though, at least the frustrated fans knew the Chargers would return.

On Thursday night, not so much.

It was a sterilized Qualcomm Stadium with not one sign of discontent. It tells you the guards working the gates were on their game, as Chargers patrons are always keen with their bed sheet banners.

Who can forget: “Fire A.J. and Norv!”

At least “Thanks for the Memories” wasn’t played by the Chargers band.

A familiar face gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead when Danny Woodhead scooted in from 8 yards, which came off a Dallas turnover. Woodhead went in standing, through a hole big enough for a Mayflower moving van.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

But it was a great call and the massive left side of King Dunlap and Orlando Franklin did the damage.

The Cowboys tied the game in the second quarter when Gus Johnson, a 515-pound running back, ran in from 5 yards. Actually Johnson only goes 215 but he carried 300-pound rookie Darius Philon on his back.

Ex-Wisconsin star Melvin Gordon is the Chargers’ new big cheese at running back, but Branden Oliver looked better. His 10-yard run delivered a 14-7 halftime lead.

Nick Novak’s 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter pushed the Chargers’ lead to 17-7.
Soon after the first of the possibly final 10 home games was in the books.

The house band ended its set with “San Diego Super Chargers” and those opening two words give pause.

Go Chargers?


+ Contact Jay Paris at Follow him on Twitter @jparis_sports.



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