OK, calm down folks. No need for mudslinging. Time to just go with the flow and give a hearty Los Angeles welcome to the city’s newest professional sports team, the L.A. Chargers. Was it a wise decision for the San Diego team to pack up its belongings and bolt down Interstate 5 to L.A.? Probably not. But if you read a newspaper or watched a sports show Thursday, you would have thought it was the end of the world or something. It’s not. Well, maybe if you are a die-hard Chargers fan from the San Diego area. As Los Angelenos, however, it’s time to look at the positives and eliminate any negative narrative about the team’s move. In fact, we should be grateful.
Less than a year ago, we were just a mopey metropolitan city searching for a sports identity. The long-anointed savior, Kobe Bryant, was bound for retirement and another year of playoff disappointments from the Kings, Clippers and Dodgers was just around the corner. That’s when the city was granted a gift. The Rams were coming back home. Now the city has two football teams to cheer on. And let’s face it, the future for the Chargers looks brighter. If healthy, the Chargers have something the Rams don’t. The team is led by a potential Hall of Fame quarterback (Philip Rivers), an up-and-coming running back (Melvin Gordon) and one of the most feared receivers in the game (Keenan Allen). The team’s 5-11 record could be a little deceiving, especially since some of the games came down to late special teams errors and mistakes. Now, with fresh faces on the coaching staff, and a change of scenery, no one should be surprised if the Chargers bounce back to be playoff contenders. And for a city that had no pro football team for 20 years, should we use our energy to gripe about having two teams now? Chargers give loyal football fans a chance to see more games in person without driving several hours away. Instead of eight games, we will now have 16 games. That’s good news for this Philadelphia Eagles fan whose team now plays two games in Los Angeles this coming season, versus the Rams and the Chargers. This should also be good news for fans of teams in the AFC West. Looking at you, Raider Nation. The Chargers had every right to move, and there was nothing anyone could have done to make them stay in San Diego. People can jeer the move all they want. Nothing’s going to change. So, might as well just bring out the welcome wagon. What’s the worst that could happen?