Let me be clear: I really wish the Chargers made the playoffs this year. I was pretty depressed after that loss to the Bengals and after seeing the Raiders give the Chiefs a good ol’ beat down, I felt even worse.
But as a way to cope, I figured making a list of reasons why not making the playoffs is actually great, then that will help me get through until the beginning of next season. Or at least distract me from the heartache for a couple hours. Either way.
1) HIGHER DRAFT PICKS
-Throughout the year there were some pretty glaring holes in the team that they were able to plug up with temporary solutions. With higher draft picks, hopefully they can get better talent to shore up some of our weak spots so we don’t make the same mistakes next year (yes, I’m looking at you special teams).
2) NO INEVITABLE PLAYOFF MELT/LETDOWN
-While it has been great seeing the team go into January strong year in and year out, something always seems to happen where we go from a Super Bowl favorite to early playoff loser. Marty, Norv, it doesn’t matter. They both underachieved.This takes a toll on us fans. We build up this confidence and have expectations…only to see them crash and burn in front of a national audience. Now we don’t have to go through that! Because we already did! And luckily it was after Christmas, so we had some shinny new toy to keep us distracted. Now we can have January to ourselves so we can…you know…do winter stuff…in San Diego. Yeah…!
3) MORE TIME TO GET MENTALLY PREPARED FOR ANOTHER SEASON OF PADRES BASEBALL
-With all the sports hype going to the Chargers, we always seem to forget their younger, cheaper brothers: the San Diego Padres. And sure, they just got rid of their best hitter and are going into the season with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball…again. BUT! They actually had an exciting team last year who were in the playoff hunt until the last day (which is something the Chargers can’t say). And they had a winning record against the eventual World Series champs! And, you know…they’re all we have until football season starts up again. And no, the Lakers don’t count. Last time I checked, L.A. isn’t in San Diego. Sorry. So here’s to the spring training countdown!
4) SAVE MONEY ON PLAYOFF TICKETS/ PARTY REFRESHMENTS
-We all know that even though the recession is technically “over”, most of us are still struggling to get by. But when playoff time comes, we feel the pressure to get together and party. Or splurge for playoff tickets. But now, we can save that money/ credit card debt for more important things…like rent, food that won’t destroy your long-term health, and paying off past credit card debt. Or better yet, spend that weekend going outside and doing something for free. Your pocketbook will thank you for it.
5) CLEANSE THE PALLET FOR NEXT YEAR
-One of the things that did the team in for this year was injuries. They lost some key players for long stretches of time. Some with lingering injuries that’ll take months to heal. And just overall, the team needs to clear out their heads. When you lose to the Raiders twice in a year, you really don’t deserve to make the playoffs. There were billions of distractions this season that made for great TV drama, but not for on-the-field play. Maybe our (the fans) and the teams expectations became too much. Of course, I’d want the team to always come with the mentality that they should win the Super Bowl that year. Maybe they looked past their easy schedule and were already booking tickets to Dallas. Who knows. Let’s put this awful season behind us and learn from it. To put this into context: the last time we went 9-7 (in 2006), the team won 14 games the next season, and when we went 8-8 (in 2008), the team won 13 games the next. See a pattern? Is there an absolute reason why the team seems to be a tad bipolar every other year? Probably. Does this guarantee anything in 2011? Of course not. But keep hope alive.
If you’ve been a fan of San Diego sports long enough, the pain you feel right now should be familiar. And yes it sucks and you just wish the team would win a freakin’ Super Bowl already. And yes, it would be easier to cheer for other teams and ride bandwagons all day long. I know you’ll hate me for mentioning them, but I learned a lot from living in the Bay Area the past few years and seeing my SF Giants friends celebrate their World Series victory this past Fall. And I’m talking about the true fans, the ones who supported the teams when they weren’t good. Seeing their unshakable faith year after year, supporting a team who had come close many times only to finish just short, and to see their loyalty payoff this year…this is what keeps my spirit up. I don’t really care about other fans who mock me for cheering for the Chargers every year. For me, this loyalty has been built for as long as I can remember. And on the off chance they never win a Super Bowl in my lifetime, I’d happily go to my grave with the knowledge that I supported my hometown team till the bitter end. That I stayed loyal to a team my entire life.
But for the love of God, win a fucking Super Bowl already. 2012 is next year. WE DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME LEFT!!!!!!
Okay, see you next season! (if there is a next season)