Monday, October 25, 2010

The Chargers Are My Job

Let me clarify that headline. The company I work for is a pretty solid company. But it can be a grind. It's certainly not fun a lot of the time and I don't jump out of bed on Monday morning in anticipation of another work week. But four years ago was something of a different story. It was still a grind sometimes and it wasn't always fun, but there was a pretty big emphasis on employess happiness. You were expected to do your job, but were given a large amount of leeway in how you did it. There wasn't anyone looking over your shoulder. There weren't endless TPS reports to turn in. Lunches were often free, regardless of the old saying. Benefits packages were fat and it rained stock options. It was a pretty sweet deal. An embarassment of riches, if you will. Then the economy went all Scott Mitchell on everybody and the company took the approach that they were so far ahead of the game in employee satisfaction that they could start shaving some of those perks. The employees could take one or two for the team. The focus turned from employee satisfaction and aspiring to a Google type of work atmosphere to fiscal responsibilty and efficiency management. Now it's still a good job, but the free lunches are a thing of the past. The benefits package is a little less plump. Everything is monitored a little more closely. I'm still happy to have the job, but there is a lot less to love.

All of this neatly parallels the Chargers. Four years ago the Chargers had an embassment of riches. Pro Bowl talent in all three facets of the game. An aggressives style. The most talented running back perhaps to ever play the game. A young quarterback with a world of upside ready to take the league by storm. Then came Norv, and I thought we could handle that. Then we started leaking "problem" players. And veterans. And guys who wanted to get paid. AJ trimmed what he considered to be the fat. The focus turned from being an aggressive and exciting team to fiscal responsibility and a "my way or the highway" management mentality. That embarassment of riches has been heavily depleted. I'm still happy to have a team, but there is a lot less to love.

As for yesterday's game, it wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated. I'm surprised at how solid our defense has looked so far this year, but I still expect it to break down in the stretch if it's expected to do the job alone. The offense tends to start showing up when their backs are against the wall. It'll be interesting to see whether management turns around and starts trying to negotiate a long term deal with Jackson now. I can't imagine they would, but it might be time for AJ to consider swallowing his pride and doing what's best for the team instead of what feeds his ego. They still have the luxury of being the only game in town for Jackson the year before a lockout, which is how they were able to push McNeill into a deal. If AJ truly cares about championship and if the Spanos family is sincere in their efforts to field a winning team and remain in San Diego, then it's time to capitulate. I don't know if the season can be saved, but it's not yet too late to try.

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