Ahead of the franchise’s second season in Los Angeles, the Chargers want to find their own niche in their new home. The product on the field is expected to be there, so will the fans follow?
The 2018 season is shaping up to be the most anticipated year ever for the NFL in California. The MMQB’s Andy Benoit is diving into the storylines for our special offseason project: California Week. Check back regularly for more.
The Los Angeles Chargers headquarters is located in a nondescript leased office building amidst a white-collar industrial sprawl in Costa Mesa, Calif., about 45 minutes from downtown L.A. The building is located to the left of a circular courtyard. To the right of the courtyard is a vacant building, and straight behind the courtyard is a coffeehouse.
But underneath all of the hype of the new stadium and the glamour of the Los Angeles area, a hard truth remains: the Chargers are the newest team in a very crowded sports market—11 teams, to be exact. And even if the product on the field is up to snub—and it should be, as this team is a favorite to win the AFC West this year—is that enough for the Chargers to truly carve out its niche in Los Angeles? It will be a challenge, but the Chargers are up for it.
Brian Billick: Back in ’97, Dave Atkins, our running backs coach, says, Hey, we gotta talk to Randall. Randall was out of the game, living in Las Vegas, and Denny and I talked about it. So I fly out to Vegas and have dinner with Randall, and Randall was Mr. Vegas. He was the king out there. Looking back, [the restaurant] was like a scene out of Casino, the whole mob, long collar, ties. Looking back, it was like, Hoo boy, I hope I’m OK here, but I’m going to trust Randall. I was expecting Joe Pesci to come out and sit down next to us.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets: For me, I never liked going to camps, because I was playing basketball and baseball in the offseason. But my junior year I broke my foot, and I didn’t have any tape for these college coaches to see. So I had to do camps because I needed to get that recognition from college coaches to get a scholarship offer and go to school for free, which is amazing. So it was a huge deal for me to go to camps and get recognized. So it was a good thing. But at the same time I think having fun and playing multiple sports is something I’m forever going to push with kids and parents.