Opinion: Remembering the Chargers as They Rung within the New Yr in Los Angeles

Hats with indignant and unhappy messages had been thrown on the pile of discarded Chargers gear at Murphy Canyon headquarters. Picture by Chris Stone

The previous San Diego Chargers rang within the new yr by destroying the defending NFL champions, winners of the 2022 Tremendous Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams. It was Chargers 31, Rams 10.

Discover I didn’t say the Los Angeles Chargers? That’s as a result of I paid my cash and was one in all solely 11,000 individuals who attended the very first recreation of the San Diego Chargers in August 1961. I used to be 20 years previous. 

The Chargers quarterback was No. 15 Jack Kemp. I point out that as a result of inside months I might meet the then 25-year-old Kemp at a political assembly and we might type a friendship that will final till he died at 74 after a profession that included member of Congress, presidential cupboard member, candidate for President and candidate for vice-president.

It was my pleasure and honor to have contributed — albeit modestly — to each one in all his campaigns, together with the one for President.

Kemp was the star quarterback of the San Diego Chargers earlier than he moved to the Buffalo Payments in 1973. He was despatched to Buffalo one yr too quickly. Throughout his first yr in Buffalo, the Chargers worn out the Boston Patriots within the league championship recreation 53-10.

However it was in Buffalo that Kemp blossomed right into a perennial division champion, a daily playoff quarterback. And it was in Buffalo, western New York State, Republican territory, the place his political profession took off.

After I entered the San Diego sports activities world as a public relations agent in 1967, it was my pleasure to work with virtually each Charger at charity fundraising endeavors and public-service promotions. One night time that sticks in reminiscence, I hosted former defensive again Claude “Hoot” Gibson, who had joined Kemp in Buffalo as an assistant coach, and a few his gamers on the Agua Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana the day earlier than a recreation in San Diego.

Buffalo’s star rookie operating again and my visitor for the day was O.J. Simpson. He allowed me to introduce him to twenty,000 people who Saturday as he topped the winner of the day’s function race. Gibson had two subject passes ready for me at will name for the Sunday soccer recreation

These had been my San Diego Chargers. They had been till the day the group introduced it was shifting to Los Angeles. I attempted to root for them below quarterback Philip Rivers, however my 50-year-long love affair with the San Diego Chargers was left in tatters in Mission Valley.

I watched the previous stadium torn down and floor into materials for the brand new Snapdragon Stadium, house to my San Diego State Aztecs. Perhaps a future Main League Soccer group and even an NFL enlargement group may even make it house. Who is aware of.

All I do know now’s that whereas the Costs performed on Sunday I managed to learn 60 pages of a guide.

Raoul Lowery Contreras is a Marine veteran, political advisor, prolific writer and host of the Contreras Report on YouTube and ROKU.

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