The Los Angeles Chargers scored their biggest on-field triumph of the season on Sunday as they shocked the Green Bay Packers, 26-11. But in the stands it was yet another embarrassment for the franchise as Packers fans dominated the crowd.
After that display, longtime Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke said what most now believe: the Chargers don't belong in LA, and they never will.
Plaschke lauded the Chargers for the way they played on Sunday, as they outgained the Packers, 442-184. Despite that dominance, the crowd was completely on the side of the visitors at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. A sea of green and yellow washed over the stadium.
"In a dominant 26-11 victory over the mighty Green Bay Packers at Dignity Health Sports Park, the Chargers proved they are not some running joke, but an actual contending-caliber football team that deserves to play in a place that appreciates them.
"But that place is not Los Angeles.
"Anywhere but here. For the sake of the team, for the sake of the league, that is where the Chargers need to eventually be.
"They’ve endured three seasons of this nonsense, their failure to capture a Los Angeles audience resulting in nearly every home game feeling like a road game, their stadium overrun with folks from Green Bay and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Denver and, of course, Oakland."
The thing is, we all know they won't consistently pack SoFi Stadium when it opens next season and opposing fans will still outshine the "home" fans. If they can't pack a stadium of 27,000 with their own fans, how are they going to fill up a 70,000-seat venue?
If they were terrible that would be one thing, but this Chargers team is coming off a 12-4 season and won a playoff game last year. Still, virtually every home game has seen a huge takeover by opposing fans. If things were going to get better, this would have been the year.
Plaschke finished his column off with an uppercut to the jaw of Chargers' ownership:
"Here’s guessing NFL owners will give the Chargers a couple of years in SoFi Stadium to find their fans. If they don’t, and at this point there’s no reason to believe they will, here’s guessing the league will push the Spanos family to either move the team or sell it. They could ship it to London. They could drive it to the Bay Area. They could sell it to someone in -- woo-hoo! -- San Diego."
The man is not wrong. The NFL will say the right things for a while, but the Chargers will likely get a year or two in the new stadium to turn things around or they'll face some harsh realities.