LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – It’s been a roller-coaster season for the Los Angeles Chargers, but the team is downplaying a new report that suggests some more twists and turns could be ahead for the Bolts – including a move across the pond.
Despite a convincing win over Green Bay last week, the Chargers continue to be a disappointment for the NFL, not because of their win-loss record, but because of their failure to generate any sustainable fan loyalty in the Southland alongside the resurgent Rams.
It’s a PR failure that was maybe best summed up by a tweet by the Steelers during their game against LA last month, which saw a sea of Terrible Towel-waving Pittsburg fans at what was technically a Chargers home game.
Perhaps that’s why The Athletic is reporting both the Chargers and the league are considering permanently moving the franchise to London.
According to the report, the Chargers “would at least listen” to a league proposal for a London relocation, which at this point has only “been broached among league personnel”.
However, Athletic writer Vincent Bonsignore says the team remains “fully committed” to its current plan to move into a new $4.5 billion SoFi Stadium in Inglewood as co-tenants with the Rams.
London “offers the Chargers and the NFL an immediate and rare opportunity to fix a glaring problem in a way that checks off multiple boxes, both for the franchise and the league,” according to Bonsignore.
But in a statement to CBSLA, the NFL league office said: “No consideration has been given to the Chargers playing anywhere other than Los Angeles at the new stadium in Hollywood Park this season and beyond. Both our office and the Chargers are entirely focused on the success of the team in Los Angeles.”
In response to the reports, owner Dean Spanos told Sports Illustrated’s Jason Hirschhorn the report was “total f—— bull—-” and that L.A. is the Chargers’ home “for a long f—— time. Period.”
The Chargers also posted a caption-less tweet of a clip of Leo DiCaprio’s “I’m not leaving” speech from the Martin Scorcese film “The Wolf Of Wall Street”. (Warning: explicit language)
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) November 5, 2019
One of the biggest questions is over the future of Phillip Rivers, who most analysts believe would not take his talents to London – perhaps explaining why the soon-to-be Hall of Fame quarterback has yet to re-up with the Chargers.
Aside from team logistics, there’s also a host of scheduling questions that the proposal doesn’t explicitly address, including whether all of the Chargers’ home games would be played more than 5,400 miles away from their current home.
While the proposal is still in the early stages, what most analysts agree on is that A) the Chargers are unlikely to retreat back to San Diego for a whole host of reasons, and B) Dean Spanos will likely never sell the team, regardless of how many losses pile up.