After about 15 years of asking for a new stadium, the Chargers are one of three teams National Football League owners will consider next month for a move to Los Angeles — the city where the franchise was born in 1960.
The Chargers, then in the old American Football League, moved to San Diego the following year and played in Balboa Stadium. What’s now Qualcomm Stadium hosted its first Chargers game in 1967.
While key figures in the drama over whether the team will stay or seek greener pastures to the north — like Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani — won’t comment about the possibility this will be the final home game in San Diego, players and alumni haven’t shied away from speaking their minds.
“It could be emotional, it really could be,” quarterback Philip Rivers said Wednesday.
“Certainly not knowing, and not going to know right after the game, either, I think I’ll even probably soak in the drive over there probably a little more than the past hunded-something times I’ve done it before games,” Rivers said. “I can get emotional thinking about riding down that hill for the last time into that stadium, and the feeling you always have.”
Hall of Fame receiver Lance Alworth called it “a sad situation,” especially for diehard fans, when interviewed on the Mighty 1090 radio.
“It’s like losing a part of your life, to be honest,” Alworth said.
The NFL has made a priority out of returning to the massive Los Angeles market, where the league hasn’t had an entrant in 20 years. The Chargers proposed building a stadium in Carson in conjunction with the Oakland Raiders, while the owner of the St. Louis Rams has proposed locating a facility on land he controls in Inglewood.
NFL owners will hold a special meeting Jan. 12-13 in Houston to discuss which team, or teams, will be allowed to move. While a final decision might not come out of the meeting, the direction the league is heading could become known by the time the gathering concludes.
The Chargers all-time regular season won-loss record is 420-418, with 11 ties. Excluding the first year’s record of 10-4 compiled in Los Angeles, and the team has won 410 games, with 414 losses and 11 ties as San Diego’s representative, according to Pro Football Reference.
In the playoffs, the Chargers are 11-17, including five appearances in the AFL championship game, with one victory, and one Super Bowl, a 49-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 29, 1995.
— City News Service