One was once ours. One still is.
In covering their games on consecutive days, that couldn’t be clearer.
The Chargers (0-4) play the New York Giants on Sunday, but it was last Sunday that the team’s vibe was rotten to the core. The franchise’s dysfunction was on full display as it played in a soccer stadium which held mostly Eagles fans as the Chargers coughed up another game to remain winless.
In San Diego, the Chargers were critiqued and knocked around when things went south. Which, if you were been paying attention, has been the norm by the Chargers after losing 27 of their 36 past games.
But this scene was different as the Chargers were an outcast in their own digs. They were scorned and mocked. Whenever a cheer went up, that mean the “home” team had produced another blunder.
Loud and proud, those Philadelphia fans were. And them delivering their message with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in attendance only added to the fog muddling the Chargers’ picture.
But the Chargers are L.A.’s problem, although those thinking their local fan base has vanished are mistaken. Whether it’s hate watching or viewers having a keen interest in Philip Rivers and his crew, TV ratings for the Bolts remains top among NFL games shown in San Diego.
When cruising the StubHub Center parking lot before games, there’s plenty of familiar faces from the North County. Many are riding the 5 North Bolt charter buses, which leave from Oceanside and Escondido.
So some people are still cheering and good for them.
Others are done with the Chargers and I can’t blame them.
It’s your fault if you haven’t hitched a ride with the No. 19-ranked Aztecs (5-0). The team that was here before and after the mighty NFL’s arrival is producing top-shelf football. SDSU, spotless through its non-conference schedule for the first time, returns to Mountain West Conference play at Nevada-Las Vegas on Saturday.
Christian Chapman, the former Carlsbad High standout, helps directs an offense which leans on All-Everything Penny Rashaad. Troy Cassidy, another ex-Lancer, has a key role as a sophomore linebacker.
While the numbers attached to the Chargers are unsightly it’s the opposite for the Aztecs. They’re 5-0 for the first time since 1981. In SDSU’s last 29 contests, its prevailed 26 times. That includes the Aztecs getting past Northern Illinois on Saturday in Mission Valley.
“I’ve never been 5-0 as a head coach,” SDSU’s Rocky Long said. “I only see bright things from that, because I don’t think we played very well (against Northern Illinois). I don’t think we’ve played very well the last two games, but guess what? We won. What’s that tell you? We’ve got a chance to be really good. We’re not right now, but we’ve got a chance to be really good.”
Chances are the straight-talking Long is right again.
Contact Jay Paris at email@example.com. Follow him @jparis_sports
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports