If you'd like to know why the Chargers have thus far refused to remove Norv Turner and AJ Smith from their current positions as Ambassador of Suck and Emperor of Poor Decision-Making, look no further than the number one requisite for any team with an intention to move to Los Angeles:
1. A team has to establish market failure where it now plays.
That's from Peter King's column this morning and is basically straight from the mouth of Roger Goodell. It doesn't get any clearer than that. Now, I've explained countless times why this is important to the NFL, but let me refresh your memories one more time. In the modern era of football, every time an NFL team has ditched their town for GREENer pastures against the wishes of a rabid fanbase, that fanbase has eventually been rewarded with an expansion franchise. Baltimore, Cleveland, Houston are your prime examples of this. The main reason is that these teams continue to have national appeal, undeniable history and beloved rivalries. The Chargers have none of that. As fans, we think our enmity with the Raiders, Broncos and Chiefs is a big deal, yet I assure you no one else in the country gives a damn. Not only do Goodell, Spanos and all the other interested parties have their hearts set on all that sweet L.A. TV revenue, the NFL wants to erase the City of San Diego from the football landscape. They want to be able to say, "You fans didn't care about the team you had when it was there. You couldn't sell out games. Why should we award a new franchise to a bunch of fairweather front-runners like you, San Diego?" Forget that we were given a team not even a mother could love at this point. Sure, the NFL would just as happily erase Oakland or Jacksonville from the NFL landscape, and one of those teams is likely to come along to Los Angeles with us, but right now we make the most sense because football fans are constant founts of denial. It won't take much for Angelinos to convince themselves that the Chargers are a CALIFORNIA team or to remind themselves that the Bolts originated in Los Angeles. If and when it happens, don't bother consoling yourselves by assuming the NFL will make it up to us with a shiny new franchise. But you can at least take heart in the fact that we never really had a chance. The deck was stacked against us as fans the day Spanos acquired the team.
You may think I'm crazy, but watch who they hire to run this show. I'm guessing it won't be any of the guys the fans pine for. No Gruden. No Cowher. Not even Brian Billick. It will be some place holder college coach that AJ can pay a mere pittance to until it's time to jettison him and build his L.A. fanbase by hiring John Gruden. L.A. will love Gruden.
As always, I hope I'm worng.