The next installment of the Highlighting the enemy series is the San Diego Chargers. Previously I covered the Oakland Raiders and it generated lots of interesting topics of discussions on why we as Chiefs fans dislike the Raiders. Alot of people stated that they had Oakland as their biggest rivals, the two games of the year that they couldnt miss, that they thought about, and meant alot to them.
Traditionally you wouldnt think of the Chiefs vs. Chargers matchups as much of a heated rivalry, but seeing as how I lived in San Diego for 6 years I can tell you a few things, they hate playing us, and we hate playing them! The worst years were when Marty was at the helm, I just couldnt stand the sight of him wearing the lighting bolt.
There isnt much on famous quotes and not very many players who are significant that played for both sides so scroll down and i'll highlight the Chargers past, and take a look at what they got going on this year.
AFC Championships: 1 (1994)
AFC West Championships: 10 (2009 was last)
Playoff apperances post AFL: 12
Chiefs hold the all time series advantage of the Chargers at: 50-48-1
All time post season series: Chargers 1-0
As most of you can tell the Chargers havent had much postseason success. 10-16 overall record in the playoffs and one birth to the big dance against the San Francisco 49ers where they lost 49-26. The Chargers have beat us in the only postseason game we have played against them in 1993 by the score of 17-0, ouch! The Chargers are funny in that we always say they start off slow. Well they always do start off slow but are the only team in NFL history to start two different seasons, 0-4 in 1992 and 4-8 in 2008 and make the playoffs.
Now if there is one thing all Chiefs fans love to see over and over again its a picture of Ryan Leaf.Colts had believed all the scouts and took Leaf ahead of Manning. Im sure the past 12 years would have been very different and we could be looking at the 10th or so straight year of Charger dominance in the West much like the Colts have been doing in the AFC South. Even though the Chargers have pretty much owned the AFC West 5 of the last 6 season damn it!
In 2002 the Chargers hired this guy:
In February of 2007 they fired that guy, who always looked better in Red and Gold anyways! Enough said.
As everyone on Arrowhead Pride knows we open the season September 13th against the San Diego Chargers, Monday Night Football showing off our renovated Arrowhead Stadium! I cant think of a greater way to start off for the Chiefs. The town is going to be pumped, MNF, a revamped Chiefs roster so we should be looking at good game the night of the 13th.
The one thing that is going to be interesting is no LaDainian Tomlinson. The past 9 seasons LT has put up double digit touchdowns each year and broke 1000 rushing yards every season since being drafted except last year. No matter how happy I am to see LT gone its still going to take a little getting used to not seeing him back there. Even though there is no LT I'm sure im not going to want to see the remaining offensive squad of Phillip Rivers, Darren Sproles, Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd, Vincent Jackson, and the unveiling of 2010 1st round draft pick Ryan Matthews.
Last year San Diego's offensive line was pieced together by guys like, Center Scott Mruczkowski, and Right Tackle Brandyn Dombrowski who played well in place of Nick Hardwick and Jeremy Clary only giving up 26 sacks total on the season. Expect a healthy Line come next fall that will feature Hardwick back to Center, Tackles Marcus McNeill and Clary, Guards Chris Dielman and Luis Vasquez and you can see why this team was 13-3 last year with an explosive offense. There isnt any reason to not expect Matthews to come right in and play well for the NFL's 5th ranked offense only if his line is healthy enough to support him.
San Diegos defense led by the likes of Shaun Phillips who finished with 7 sacks and 7 fumble recoveries, Quinten Jammer who had 3 picks, and "soon to be lights out forever" Shawne Merriman San Diego's defense is awfully good. Add in CB Donald Strickland who will be taking over for Antonio Cromartie and his 3 picks this secondary is still going to be good.
The first game of the year is going to be critical for both teams. We all know what we have to do, but for the Chargers developing LT's replacement, Jamaal Williams replacement, finding out who is going to be their special teams ace now that Kassim Osgood has moved on, and deciding if Kris Wilson is going to fill in full time in Manumaleuna's vacated tight end spot, we may be able to catch the "slow start" Chargers off guard.
Dont count the Chargers out of the playoffs after the first few games though, we all know that if their Offensive line can hold together, and all their dynamic offensive parts are firing on the same cylinder then they are going to be dangerous. This rivalry is likely to heat up alot this year especially in the first game because I feel the Chiefs are turning the page and are going to continue to threaten SD for the top spot in the AFC West. We play our 13th game of the year in San Diego and judging by the past the Chargers could be way out in front by that point.
So Arrowhead Pride do you consider the San Diego Chargers a big rival? Most everyone said the Raiders and I havent highlighted the Broncos yet, so im interested in seeing what you say about the Chargers.
P.S. San Diego and Norv Turner
Thank you for Chris Chambers!
Here is the link to our AFC West Rivals 2010 draft: AFC West 2010 draft