San Diego Chargers

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Posted by kaori 03/10/2009 @ 01:09

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The Quad Countdown: No. 104 San Diego State - New York Times
In other, completely unrelated news, I just this moment applied for a grant to continue my college football studies at SDSU Former players in the NFL: 25 – LB Antwaan Applewhite (San Diego Chargers), S Will Demps (Houston Texans), OG Brandyn Dombrowski...
Leaf tackled for alleged drug possession -
There have been the likes of Jack Kemp, John Hadl, Dan Fouts, Stan Humphries and others who have been under center and had great careers for the San Diego Chargers. Then there was Ryan Leaf. Probably best described as the biggest bust in the team's...
In Sagging AFC West, San Diego Chargers Are Again the Team To Beat - Bleacher Report
by Anthony Gentile (Contributor) Since their last losing season in 2003, the San Diego Chargers have been the team to beat in the AFC West. In 2009, the three-time defending division champions should have little trouble winning a fourth straight crown...
San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson will make a ... - JOCKlife Sports
My heart has always been in San Diego. I couldn't imagine putting on another uniform.” Though he's losing millions of dollars from the Chargers less-than-generous deal, Tomlinson has more to worry about as he comes into the 2009-2010 season,...
San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman is looking forward ... - JOCKlife Sports
The San Diego Chargers had high hopes for their stud linebacker Shawne Merriman last year after he reached the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons. Unfortunately, Merriman sustained an injury right before the start of the 2008 season which kept him out...
Developer sees Q site option for Chargers - San Diego Union Tribune
But the San Diego Chargers are again evaluating a stadium proposal for the Qualcomm site. They're leery, but they're listening, still hopeful some bright idea can capture the imagination of the community and, in turn, ramp up their revenues....
An Unofficial San Diego Chargers Blog Created By The Fans, For The ... - Bolts from the Blue
"LaDainian Tomlinson attended his first OTA after a couple days tending to a family issue. Tomlinson looked as healthy as ever. In one drill where he leaped over a series of bags, it appeared he might be as spry as he's been in a few years....
Position Battles Could Make or Break '09 San Diego Chargers - Bleacher Report
by James Stephens (Contributor) When looking closely at the San Diego Chargers' roster for 2009, few, if any, starting positions seem to be up for grabs. But while it may be clear who the starting 22 will be on opening day, there are several backup...
Sports Recap - TV Sports Daily
The indictment handed up Wednesday in Canyon charged the 33-year-old former San Diego Chargers quarterback and former West Texas A&M quarterbacks coach with one count of burglary to a habitation, seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by...
My Favorite NFL Team Ever: The 2006 San Diego Chargers - Bleacher Report
My team, the San Diego Chargers, is not one of those franchises, although their 16 playoff berths and 1963 AFL Championship are worth mentioning. Therefore, my favorite team ever is one that failed to reach the summit of professional football....

San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers helmet

The San Diego Chargers are a professional American football team based in San Diego, California. They are currently members of the Western Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). Originally called the Los Angeles Chargers, the club began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League. The club spent its first season in Los Angeles, California before moving to San Diego in 1961. The Chargers play home games at Qualcomm Stadium.

The Chargers won one AFL title in 1963 and reached the AFL playoffs five times and the AFL Championship four times before joining the NFL (1970) as part of the AFL-NFL Merger. In the 34 years since then, the Chargers have made ten trips to the playoffs and four appearances in the AFC Championship game. At the end of the 1994 season, the Chargers faced the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX and fell 49-26. The Chargers have six players and one coach enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio: wide receiver Lance Alworth (1962-1970), defensive end Fred Dean (1975-1981), quarterback Dan Fouts (1973-1987), head coach/general manager Sid Gillman (1960-1969, 1971), wide receiver Charlie Joiner (1976-1986), offensive lineman Ron Mix (1960-1969) and tight end Kellen Winslow (1979-1987).

The Chargers were established with seven other American Football League teams in 1959. In 1960, the Chargers began AFL play in Los Angeles. The Chargers' original owner was hotel heir Barron Hilton, son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton. The Chargers only spent one season in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego in 1961. The early AFL years of the San Diego Chargers were highlighted by the outstanding play of wide receiver Lance Alworth with 543 receptions for 10,266 yards in his 11 AFL/NFL season career. In addition he set the pro football record of consecutive games with a reception (96) during his career.

Their only coach for the ten year life of the AFL was Sid Gillman, a Hall of Famer. who was considered the foremost authority on the forward passing offense of his era. With players such as Alworth, Paul Lowe, Keith Lincoln and John Hadl, the high-scoring Chargers won divisional crowns five of the league’s first six seasons and the AFL title in 1963 with a 51-10 victory over the Boston Patriots. They also played defense, as indicated by their professional football record 49 pass interceptions in 1961, and featured AFL Rookie of the Year defensive end Earl Faison. The Chargers were the originators of the term "Fearsome Foursome" to describe their all-star defensive line, anchored by Faison and Ernie Ladd (the latter also excelled in professional wrestling). The phrase was later appropriated by the Los Angeles Rams. Hilton sold the Chargers to a group headed by Eugene Klein and Sam Schulman in August 1966. The following year the Chargers began "head to head" competition with the older NFL with a preseason loss to the Detroit Lions. The Chargers defeated the defending Super Bowl III champion New York Jets 34-27 before a record San Diego Stadium crowd of 54,042 on September 29, 1969. Alworth once again led the team in receptions with 64 and 1,003 yards with 4 touchdowns. The team also saw Gillman step down due to health and offensive backfield coach Charlie Waller promoted to head coach after the completion of the regular season. Gillman did remain with the club as the general manager.

In 1970 the San Diego Chargers were placed into the AFC West division after the NFL merger with the AFL. But by then, the Chargers fell on hard times; Gillman, who had returned as general manager, stepped down in 1971, and many of the Charger players from the 1960s had already either retired or traded. The Chargers acquired veteran players like Deacon Jones, Johnny Unitas, however it was at the later stages of their careers and the team struggled placing third or fourth in the AFC West each year from 1970 to 1978.

1978 was marked by the "Holy Roller" game, or as Chargers fans call it the "Immaculate Deception". It was a game-winning play executed by the Oakland Raiders against the Chargers on September 10, in San Diego at Jack Murphy Stadium. With 10 seconds left in the game, the Raiders had possession of the ball at the Chargers' 14-yard line, trailing 20-14. Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler took the snap and found himself about to be sacked by Chargers linebacker Woody Lowe on the 24-yard line. Stabler fumbled the ball forward , and it rolled forward towards the San Diego goal line. Running back Pete Banaszak tried to recover the ball on the 12-yard line, but could not keep his footing, and the ball was pushed even closer to the end zone. Raiders tight end Dave Casper was the next player to reach the ball but he also could not get a hand on it. He batted and kicked the ball into the end zone, where he fell on it for the game-tying touchdown as time ran out. With the ensuing extra point by placekicker Errol Mann, the Raiders won, 21-20.. What many Charger fans believed should have been called an incomplete pass (and possibly intentional grounding) was seen as a fumble and the rest of the play involved batting of the ball forward towards the end zone where the Raiders ultimately recovered it for a touchdown.. As a result of this play, NFL rules were changed so that, in the last two minutes of a half or game, the only offensive player allowed to advance a fumbled ball is the player who originally fumbled. If any other offensive player recovers the fumble and advances the ball, after the play the line of scrimmage is the spot of the original fumble.

1979 marked a turning point for the Chargers franchise as The Sporting News named team general manager John Sanders NFL Executive of the Year after balloting of other NFL executives. Fouts set an NFL record with his fourth consecutive 300-yard passing game, in a game in which he threw for 303 yards against the Raiders. Coached by Don Coryell (with an offense nicknamed "Air Coryell"), featuring Fouts throwing to tight end Kellen Winslow and wide receivers John Jefferson and Charlie Joiner), they clinched their first playoff berth in 14 years with a 35-0 victory against the New Orleans Saints. On December 17, the Chargers defeated the Denver Broncos 17-7 for their first AFC West division title since the AFL-NFL merger before a national Monday Night Football television audience and their home crowd. Their time in the playoffs was short as they would lose to the Houston Oilers 17-14 loss in the divisional round. Ron Mix became the second AFL player and second Charger to be named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, during halftime of the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.

The 1980 team saw the team trade for running back Chuck Muncie, and Fouts set a club record with 444 yards passing in the Chargers' 44-7 victory over the New York Giants. Kellen Winslow caught 10 passes for 171 yards and Chargers clinched their second straight AFC West title by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-17 and finished the regular season with an 11-5 record. Jefferson (1,340), Winslow (1,290), and Joiner (1,132) became the first trio on the same team to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season. The Chargers' defense led the NFL in sacks (60) spearheaded by the frontline of 1975 Chargers' draftees Dean, Gary "Big Hands" Johnson and Louie Kelcher. The trio, along with Leroy Jones formed a defensive frontline that was locally nicknamed The Bruise Brothers, coined from a popular act at the time, The Blues Brothers. In the playoffs, they won the divisional round 20-14 over the Buffalo Bills. However, they fell one game shy of Super Bowl XV in a 34-27 loss to the eventual-champion Raiders.

In 1981, the Chargers won their third straight AFC West title with a 10-6 season. They traded wide receiver John Jefferson to the Green Bay Packers after he held out for an increase in salary but replaced him with Wes Chandler. Defensive end Dean also became involved in a hold out and was traded to the 49ers. Dean contends he was making the same amount of money as his brother-in-law who was a truck driver. Dean would win UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year (while playing in only 11 games) that same year en route to a Super Bowl victory and help the 49ers to another Super Bowl title two years later. Dean's loss was particularly damaging to the Chargers' Super Bowl chances as the defense weakened afterwards, surrendering the most passing yards in the NFL in both 1981 and 1982.

In the 1981 playoffs, the Chargers managed to outlast the Miami Dolphins in the divisional round, 41-38, in a game that became known as The Epic in Miami. The game was voted as the best game in NFL history by a panel of ESPN journalists. The temperature was 85°F with high humidity (29.4°C) at the Miami Orange Bowl, but it did not stop either team's offense. The Chargers were led by quarterback Dan Fouts who made the Pro Bowl for the third year in a row, setting an NFL single season record at that point and time of 4,802 yards and 33 touchdowns. The Dolphins were led by head coach Don Shula and featured a defense that gave up the fifth-fewest points in the NFL in the regular season.

This game set playoff records for the most points scored in a playoff game (79), the most total yards by both teams (1,036), and most passing yards by both teams (809). Chargers placekicker Rolf Benirschke eventually kicked the winning 29-yard field goal after 13:52 of overtime to help San Diego beat Miami, 41-38. The image of an exhausted tight end Kellen Winslow, who finished the game with 13 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown and two blocked field goals, being helped off the field by two of his Chargers teammates has been replayed countless times. Kellen Winslow was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.

However, the eventual-AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals, playing in their first AFC Championship Game, defeated the Chargers 27-7 in what became known as the Freezer Bowl. The temperature of nine degrees below zero with a wind-chill factor of minus 59 made this the coldest weather conditions for a title game in the history of the NFL. Chargers owner Eugene Klein tried to get the NFL and Bengals to postpone the game but he was turned down.

During the strike shortened 1982 season, Fouts averaged what is still a record of 320 yards passing per game. Highlights that season included back-to-back victories against the 1981 Super Bowl teams San Francisco (41-37) and Cincinnati (50-34) in which Fouts threw for over 400 yards in each game to lead the Chargers to shootout victories. The December 20th, 1982 Cincinnati game was a rematch of the 1981 American Football Conference Championship Game. The Chargers would generate a total offensive yardage record of 661 (501 yards passing, 175 yards rushing) that still stands as the most in team history in defeating Cincinnati. Also during the year, Chandler, set the record of 129 yards receiving per game that is still an NFL record. The Chargers made it back to the playoffs, but after beating the Steelers in the first round, they lost to the Dolphins 34-13 in a rematch of their playoff game from the previous season. That loss began a slide for the Chargers, who from 1983 to 1991 failed to make the National Football League playoffs every season.

In 1984 Klein cut salary in preparation of selling the team, sending defensive linemen Johnson and Kelcher to San Francisco, where they would join Dean and offensive tackle Billy Shields for another 49ers championship in Super Bowl XXIV.. Alex Spanos purchased a majority interest in San Diego from Klein on August 1. Benirschke was named "Miller Man of the Year" and Joiner set an NFL record with his 650th pass reception in the fourth quarter of the game at Pittsburgh. In 1985 guard Ed White set an NFL record by playing in 241 NFL games, most all-time among offensive linemen. Lionel "Little Train" James, a mere 5'6" and 171 pound running back, set NFL record of 2,535 all-purpose yards while also setting a record of 1,027 receiving yards by a running back Al Saunders was named the seventh head coach in Chargers history in 1986 following the resignation of Coryell. In 1987 Joiner retired to become receivers coach of the Chargers. The Chargers finished with an 8—7 record, their first winning record since 1982, despite winding up with six straight losses. In 1988 Fouts retired after 15-year career in which he set seven NFL records and 42 club records, and became the NFL's second most prolific passer of all-time with 43,040 yards. Fouts's jersey number (14) was retired at halftime of "Dan Fouts Day" game in San Diego.

In 1989 Dan Henning, a former Chargers quarterback, Washington Redskins assistant, and Atlanta Falcons head coach, was named the eighth head coach in Chargers history. Marion Butts set a club record with 39 carries and a team rookie record with 176 yards in Chargers' 20-13 win in Kansas City. After a three-year stint as Director of Football Operations, Steve Ortmayer was released after the season and replaced by Bobby Beathard.

Henning's tenure with the Chargers lasted three seasons as Bobby Ross was hired as head coach in 1992 and the Chargers acquired quarterback Stan Humphries in a trade with Redskins. The Chargers would lose their first four games of the season and come back to become the first 0-4 team to make the playoffs as they won 11 of the last 12 games and clinched the AFC West title. Ross was named NFL Coach of the Year for the Chargers' dramatic turnaround by Pro Football Weekly. In the first round of the playoffs, the Chargers shut out the Kansas City Chiefs 17-0, but the Dolphins shut out the Chargers in the divisional playoffs to eliminate the Chargers. In 1993, the Chargers finished 8-8 (fourth in their division).

In the 1994 season, the Chargers made their first and, so far, only Super Bowl appearance, against the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX. They got to the Super Bowl by winning their first six regular season games, the only NFL team to do so in 1994, and finished the season 11-5. Quarterback Stan Humphries and wide receiver Tony Martin combined on a 99-yard touchdown completion to tie an NFL record during a defeat of the Seattle Seahawks, 27-10. They would become the 1994 AFC West Division champions behind a defense led by linebacker Junior Seau, defensive tackles Reuben Davis and Shawn Lee, defensive end Leslie O'Neal and an offense keyed by running back Natrone Means, Humphries and Martin. The Chargers had upset victories over the Dolphins and Steelers in the AFC playoffs. Despite those two close triumphs (22-21 against the Dolphins in the Divisional Round, and 17-13 against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game), the Chargers lost Super Bowl XXIX to the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 49-26, who were led by quarterback Steve Young (Super Bowl MVP) and wide receiver Jerry Rice. Despite the lopsided loss in the Super Bowl, Beathard, who traded for or drafted the bulk of the Chargers roster, and who hired coach Ross, was named the NFL's smartest man by Sports Illustrated, and became the only general manager to lead three different teams to the Super Bowl (Chargers, Dolphins, Redskins).

The Chargers follow-up year in 1995 didn't bring the same success of the previous season, but the team still managed to get into the playoffs with a five-game winning streak to end the season at 9-7. However, in the first round, the Chargers were eliminated by the Indianapolis Colts in a 35-20 defeat.

In 1996, running back Rodney Culver and his wife, Karen, were killed in the crash of ValuJet Airlines Flight 592 in the Florida Everglades. Culver was the second player in team history to die while on the active roster after David Griggs was killed in a one-car accident in Davie, Florida 11 months earlier. 1997 would find Ross and Beathard at odds with one another and would result in Ross and his staff being released. The Chargers selected Kevin Gilbride to become their new head coach. Gilbride, whose coaching background with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oilers featured a more open passing attack would mark a major change in offensive style from the ball control ground game of Ross. Beathard drafted quarterback Ryan Leaf after trading several players and draft choices to the Arizona Cardinals in order to move up to the second pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. The Chargers would see the team struggle in pass protection resulting in Humphries suffering several concussions and his retirement from the game. Gilbride was replaced by interim head coach June Jones, who was on the Chargers' staff before the hire. Jones would leave the team at the end of the season to coach at the University of Hawaii and the Chargers would name former Oregon State University head coach Mike Riley as their new head coach. Leaf wound up having a disappointing career with the Chargers after a great deal of controversy with both the Charger management as well as the press and his teammates. His failure to be the player the team envisioned was seen as a black mark on the franchise and will be remembered by some as one of the worst draft/trades in the history of pro football. Quarterback Jim Harbaugh, who was acquired in trade with the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional draft choice in 2000, became the Chargers starting quarterback. Beathard retired in April 2000 and was replaced January 2001 by John Butler, former general manager of the Bills. From 1996 to 2003, the Chargers had eight-straight seasons where they were .500 or worse.

2001 saw Norv Turner, the former head coach of the Redskins, named offensive coordinator by Riley. Turner would go on to install the offense that he coached with the Dallas Cowboys under Ernie Zampese, former offense coordinator during the Coryell era. The Chargers signed Heisman Trophy winner free agent quarterback Doug Flutie, formerly with the Bills and traded the team's first overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft to the Atlanta Falcons for the first round selection (fifth overall) and third-round selection in the same draft. In addition the Chargers obtained wide receiver/kick returner Tim Dwight and the Falcons' second-round draft selection in the 2002 NFL Draft. The Chargers used those selections in the 2001 draft to select Texas Christian University running back LaDainian Tomlinson and Purdue University quarterback Drew Brees .

Hired as a replacement to Riley, Marty Schottenheimer's Chargers squad opened the 2002 season with four straight victories making him the only coach in team history to win his first four games. Butler would succumb to cancer after a nine-month struggle in April 2003. Replacing Butler was A. J. Smith, who was named Executive Vice President-General Manager, replacing his close friend. Smith and Butler had worked together with the Bills playing key roles with Buffalo's Super Bowl teams. In 2003, the Chargers traded Seau to the Dolphins for a draft pick in 2004 NFL Draft. Seau was selected to 2003 Pro Bowl, his 12th Pro Bowl selection of his career, and in his final season with the Chargers, he was chosen by teammates as the recipient of the Emil Karas Award as the team’s Most Inspirational Player. Also in 2003, Tomlinson accumalated 195 total yards from scrimmage in a late season game against the Packers to raise his season total to 2,011 and became the first player in team history and the eighth player in NFL history to record consecutive 2,000-yard seasons. Tomlinson also became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 100 passes in the same season .

Although the Chargers were tied with three other teams for the worst record of the 2003 NFL season, the league’s tie-breaking system gave San Diego the number one pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. With this pick, the Chargers selected Quarterback Eli Manning from the University of Mississippi despite Manning's stated desire to play elsewhere. New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, who had been in trade negotiations for several weeks before the draft with the Chargers, selected quarterback Philip Rivers fourth and traded him along with additional draft picks to the Chargers. Rivers was expected to compete for the starting quarterback job, but he held out of training camp in a contract dispute. Drew Brees, who received the majority of snaps at quarterback during Rivers' hold out, would retain the starting quarterback position. The team earned a trip back to the post-season in 2004 by capturing the AFC West division title with a 12-4 regular season record. The Chargers entered the first round of the playoffs but were eliminated by the New York Jets, who won in overtime 20-17. Rookie kicker Nate Kaeding missed a 40-yard field goal that would have advanced San Diego into the next round, thus opening the door for a Jets victory. Despite an abrupt ending to their season, Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer was named NFL Coach of the Year for the season, and Brees was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

During the 2005 NFL Draft, the Chargers drafted linebacker Shawne Merriman with a draft pick acquired from the Giants in the Eli Manning trade, who would go on to become a selection to the 2006 Pro Bowl and the 2005 Defensive NFL Rookie of the Year Award recipient. The team then used their second first round selection on defensive tackle Luis Castillo.The Chargers started the season without tight end Antonio Gates as he was suspended two games by Smith for holding out in training camp. The 2005 season saw LaDainian Tomlinson's 18-game touchdown scoring streak end as Kaeding had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown in a 20-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. Facing the 13-0 Colts on the road, the Chargers took a 16-0 lead into the third quarter of the game, but the Colts responded with 17 points of their own to take a 1-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Chargers would retake the lead on a field goal by Kaeding then scored again on an 83-yard touchdown run by Michael Turner. However a week later, the Chargers lost on the road to the Chiefs as an injured Tomlinson rushed for only 47 yards. The Chargers would go on to lose their season finale to the Broncos, with Brees suffering a dislocated shoulder to end the Chargers' 9–7 season.

After winning their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday December 21, 2008, the Chargers stood at 7-8, one game behind the Denver Broncos. Denver's loss to the Buffalo Bills later that same day created a primetime showdown between Denver and San Diego in San Diego for the AFC West Championship, as well as the fourth seed in the playoffs. The Chargers won the 2008 AFC West championship in convincing fashion by beating Denver in a 52–21 blowout. On January 3, 2009, the San Diego Chargers defeated the Indianapolis Colts 23–17 to advance to the AFC Divisional Playoff round. On January 11, 2009 the Chargers were defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers 35–24 in the AFC Divisional Game ending their 2008 season.

Except for color changes, the Chargers have basically used the logo of an arc-shaped lightning bolt since the team debuted in 1960. During its period in the AFL, the club also used a shield logo that featured a horsehead, a lightning bolt, and the word "Chargers".

From 1960 to 1973, the colors consisted of either Electric blue ("sky" or "powder" blue, but technically called Collegiate blue) or white jerseys, both with gold lightning bolts on the shoulders. The helmets were white and had both the arc-shaped lightning bolt logo, in gold, and the player's number. At first, the team wore white pants before switching to gold in 1966.

In 1974, the sky blue was changed to dark royal blue. The helmet was also changed to dark blue and the players' numbers were removed. From 1978 through 1983, the Chargers wore their white jerseys at home, coinciding with the hiring of coach Don Coryell, but Coryell switched the Chargers to their blue jerseys at home starting in 1984. With the exception of the 1991 season and other sporadic home games since, San Diego wears its blue jerseys at home.

In 1985, the Chargers started using navy blue and returned to wearing white pants. The team's uniform design was next revamped in 1988. It featured an even darker shade of navy blue. The lightning bolts on the jerseys and helmets were white with gold trim. In 1990, the team started to wear navy pants with their white jerseys. From 1988 through '91, the club displayed stripes down the pants rather than lightning bolts. The Chargers went with all-white combinations in 1997 and 2001, only to have the blue pants make a comeback. On October 27, 2003, the Chargers wore their navy pants with their navy jersey for a Monday Night Football game versus the Miami Dolphins that was played at Sun Devil Stadium, then the home of the Arizona Cardinals, due to wildfires in southern California. This remains the only game in which the Chargers have worn the all-dark combination.

From the late 1980's to 2000, the Chargers wore white at home during preseason games and dark for regular season games. In 2001, the Chargers started wearing their dark uniforms for preseason games and white uniforms in September home games due to the heat before switching back to dark in October. Since 2002, the Chargers have used the early-1960s uniform design as alternate jerseys, which many football fans (both of the Chargers and of other teams) wish to bring back full-time. Right now, the team will continue to use a variation of them (see below) as an alternate jersey.

On March 9, 2007, the Chargers unveiled on their web site their first uniform redesign since 1988. The team formally unveiled this new uniform set, which will mix old and new styles, in a private team-only event on March 14. Navy blue remains the primary color on the home jersey, but the familiar lightning bolt was reverted to yellow, but now with navy and Collegiate (powder) blue trim, the latter color a nod to the 1960s uniforms and has been moved to the sides of the shoulders from the top, and includes a new numbering font and word mark in white with yellow and light blue trim. The pants also will have a redesigned lightning bolt in yellow with light blue trim on a navy stripe. Additionally, the team pays tribute to other uniform features from their history by wearing a metallic white helmet with a navy face mask with the newly revamped bolt in yellow with navy, white and light blue trim and white pants. The road white jerseys with navy pants and alternate light blue jerseys to be worn with white pants have also been redesigned with the new scheme.

Alworth, Mix, Hadl, Joiner, Coryell, Gillman, Garrison, Fouts, White, Winslow, Faison, Benirschke, Lincoln, Washington, Humphries, Ladd and Wilkerson are also members of the "San Diego Hall of Champions", which is open to athletes from the San Diego area as well as those who played for San Diego-based professional and collegiate teams.

The Chargers' flagship station is KIOZ 105.3FM, commonly known as "Rock 1053." Josh Lewin and Hank Bauer comprise the broadcast team. Past Chargers radio broadcasters have included Tom Kelly, Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, Dan Rowe and Ted Leitner. Most preseason games are televised on KFMB in San Diego and KCBS in Los Angeles. The announcers were Ron Pitts and Billy Ray Smith.

Since the Los Angeles market is within the Chargers' 75-mile radius (which prohibits broadcasts of Charger games on national radio during the regular season), the Chargers Radio Network has a secondary flagship station for Los Angeles: KLAC AM-570, in Los Angeles and Orange County. The previous Los Angeles flagship was KSPN AM-710 and before that, KMPC AM-1540 for several years.

Dennis Packer, the public address announcer of all USC football games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, serves as the P.A. announcer of all Charger home games at Qualcomm Stadium.

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History of the San Diego Chargers

This article details the history of the San Diego Chargers American Football Club.

The San Diego Chargers were established in 1959 with seven other American Football League teams: the Denver Broncos, Dallas Texans, Oakland Raiders, New York Titans, Houston Oilers, Buffalo Bills, and Boston Patriots.

Frank Leahy, former Notre Dame University football coach, was named the team's first general manager. Gerald Courtney of Hollywood won an all expenses-paid trip to Mexico City and Acapulco for submitting "Chargers" in name-the-team contest. In 1960, the Chargers began AFL play in Los Angeles; hotel heir Barron Hilton, the team's original owner and son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton, unveiled the Chargers' uniforms which featured blue and gold with lightning bolts on the sides of the helmets and trousers, at a cocktail party at Hilton's Santa Monica residence. Players Jack Kemp and Ron Mix modeled the new uniforms. The Chargers would only spend one season in L.A. before moving to San Diego in 1961. They played ten years in the AFL before merging the league into the older NFL. During that ten-year span, San Diego reached the playoffs five times and played for the AFL Championship four times. They won their only AFL title in 1963 when they beat the Boston Patriots 51-10 before 30,127 fans at Balboa Stadium in San Diego.

Their only coach for the ten year life of the AFL was Sid Gillman, former coach of NFL Los Angeles Rams, who originally signed a three-year contract as head coach. Gillman 87-57-6 who was later voted to the Hall of Fame was widely recognized as a great offensive innovator . He also took on the duel role of coach and General manager after Frank Leahy resigned because of poor health. The Chargers, with star offensive players Lance Alworth, Paul Lowe, Keith Lincoln and John Hadl, struck fear into the hearts of defenders. The Chargers overcome 20-7 deficit in fourth quarter to defeat Dallas 21-20 before 17,724 persons in the L.A. Coliseum in the opening league game. A crowd of 9,928 in the L.A. Coliseum watches Chargers top Denver 41-33 to clinch AFL Western Division title. American Broadcasting Company held the television rights and televised key games.

On January 1, a crowd of 32,183 in Jeppesen Stadium and a national television audience sees host Houston defeat Chargers 24-16 for AFL championship game. For the 1961 season, Hilton moved the team 75 miles south to San Diego. The defense records 49 pass interceptions as the A.F.L. plays an exciting brand of football featuring strong passing attacks. The Chargers were the originators of the term "Fearsome Foursome" to describe their all-star defensive line, anchored by Earl Faison and Ernie Ladd (the latter also dabbled in professional wrestling). The phrase was later appropriated by various NFL teams. Houston defeats Chargers 10-3 before 29,556 persons in Balboa Stadium to win second AFL championship.

The Chargers stumble to a 4-10 record, by losing eight of their last nine games due to a rash of injuries that derail their high flying team.

Eight Chargers score and Paul Lowe rushes for 183 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries as the Chargers clinch AFL West title with 58-20 victory over Denver; season ended week later than scheduled after AFL postponed games weekend following Nov. 22 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Keith Lincoln accounts for 349 yards of total offense as Chargers win AFL championship, defeating Boston 51-10, before 30,127 persons in Balboa Stadium. AFL teams sign a five-year television contract with National Broadcasting Company for a record $36 million; the contract will commence with the 1965 season. The Chargers and New York Jets tied 17-17 before a record AFL crowd of 50,222 fans, 46,828 paid in New York's Shea Stadium . A Balboa Stadium attendance record of 34,865 is set as Buffalo defeats San Diego 27-24 on Thanksgiving Day. The Chargers defeat the Jets 38-3 before 25,753 persons in Balboa Stadium to clinch their fourth AFL West title in five years. Lance Alworth went out of the game with a knee injury and fullback Keith Lincoln gets sidelined in the first quarter with a fractured rib, the Chargers are beaten 20-7 in Buffalo for the AFL championship.

San Diego (9-2-3) wins fifth AFL West title in six years by defeating Houston on December 12 by the score of 37-26. Paul Lowe and Lance Alworth finish 1-2 in balloting by players for AFL player of the year. Buffalo defeats the Chargers 23-0 in front of 30,361 persons in Balboa Stadium for the AFL championship; a new automobile, the "Charger," is introduced by Chrysler officials at halftime.

San Diego Stadium is dedicated before a crowd of 45,988; Detroit defeats the Chargers 38-17 in San Diego's first meeting with an NFL team. Leslie "Speedy" Duncan has 203 yards in returns, 35 on a fumble recovery for a touchdown, 68 on four kickoff returns, and 100 for a touchdown on the longest interception return in AFL history as the Chargers defeat Kansas City 45-31 in a game in which the teams combine for 897 yards total offense and 622 in returns. The Chargers are beaten by Oakland 41-21 before the first sellout crowd in the San Diego Stadium, 52,661 persons, and 2,018 persons also watched the game on closed-circuit television in the San Diego Sports Arena. John Hadl wins M.V.P.

The Chargers open the preseason at home and score their first victory over an NFL team, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 30-18 before 39,553 in San Diego Stadium. Leslie (Speedy) Duncan sets an AFL record with a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown in a 37-15 loss to the New York Jets in San Diego Stadium. Team finishes third in the West with a 9-5 record. John Hadl leads the league in pass attempts (440), completions (208), yardage (3,473), touchdown passes (27) and passes intercepted (32).

After opening the season with two losses, the Chargers defeat the defending Super Bowl III champion New York Jets featuring QB Joe Namath before a record San Diego Stadium crowd of 54,042. The team features QB John Hadl and Lance Alworth who sets a professional record with a pass reception in his 96th consecutive game. Three more wins would be followed by four straight losses which ended any hopes of postseason play. The Chargers win their last four games to finish with an 8-6 record capped by a 45-6 victory over Buffalo in the season finale. Offensive backfield coach Charlie Waller is named head coach following the resignation of Sid Gillman nine games into the season from stomach ulcer and chest hernia. Gillman continues as general manager.

In 1970, the San Diego Chargers settled into the AFC West division after the NFL merger with the AFL. But by then, the Chargers fell on hard times, Sid Gillman stepped down in 1971, and many of the Charger greats from the 1960s had already either retired or been traded. In 1972, they got Duane Thomas and Deacon Jones, but they were no help to the team that was struggling. The following season in 1973, the Chargers tried Johnny Unitas, but the legendary quarterback no longer had the magic he once had, and soon he would retire. The 1974 season was Dan Fouts's first as the starting QB and Don Woods came to the team and for that season and ran over 1,000 yards, but one year later (1975) his career stalled and he too left the Chargers.

After several more mediocre seasons, things began to turn around for San Diego in 1978 when Don Coryell replaced Tommy Prothro as head coach after a 1–3 start. He ushered in his famed "Air Coryell" offense with Fouts throwing to a talented trio of receivers featuring Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson and tight end Kellen Winslow as they rallied to finish to season 9–7, just missing the playoffs by a hair.

The 1979 season was a coming-out party for the Chargers franchise, under its first full year of "Air Coryell" led by Fouts under center. He set an NFL record with fourth consecutive 300-yard passing games, established in a game in which he threw for 303 yards against the Oakland Raiders. Coached by Don Coryell and also featuring Joiner, Jefferson and Winslow, San Diego clinched their first playoff berth in 14 years with a 35–0 victory against the New Orleans Saints. On December 17, 1979, the Chargers defeated the Denver Broncos 17–7 for their first AFC West division title since the merger before a national Monday Night Football television audience and their home crowd. Unfortunately, their playoff time was short as the Houston Oilers sent the Chargers packing with a 17–14 loss in the Divisional Round.

The 1980 Chargers managed to carry the last year's success with an 11–5 record (tops in the AFC West), boosted by the mid-season acquisition of running back Chuck Muncie from the New Orleans Saints. In the playoffs, they won the Divisional Round 20–14 over the Buffalo Bills. However, they fell one game shy of Super Bowl XV in a 34–27 loss to the eventual-champion Oakland Raiders.

The following season (1981), the Chargers managed to beat the Broncos for the AFC West title with their 10-6 season. Wes Chandler, another mid-season acquisition from the Saints, replaced John Jefferson at wideout and produced 1,142 yards receiving and six touchdowns on 69 receptions joining fellow 1,000 yard mates Charlie Joiner (70 rec/1,188 yds/7 td) and Kellen Winslow (88 rec/1,075 yds/10 td). Muncie provided the running game with a lot of bite thanks to his 1,144 rushing yards and NFL-best 19 touchdowns along with rookie James Brooks as a solid contributor as both running back and return man.

In the Divisional Round, they managed to outlast the Miami Dolphins 41-38 in the game known in NFL lore as The Epic in Miami. Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts and Dolphins quarterback Don Strock both threw for more than 400 yards, and Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow caught 13 passes for 166 yards and blocked a crucial field goal despite suffering from heat-induced fatigue and cramps. The game began with San Diego building a 24–0 lead and then losing all of it by early in the third quarter. They faced the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game, however the game was held in Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium where very cold tempatures (-9°F, -59°F wind chill) was known as the Freezer Bowl. The Bengals shredded San Diego's 27th-ranked defense, while containing the Chargers' league-leading offense, to a 27–7 Bengal victory and a ticket to Super Bowl XVI. It is considered the coldest game ever played in NFL history.

The Chargers made it back to the playoffs during the strike shortened 1982 season, but after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round, they lost to the Miami Dolphins in a rematch from their epic game. That loss began a slide for the Chargers, who from 1983 to 1991 failed to make the playoffs despite great individual performances by Lionel James and Billy Ray Smith.

Bobby Ross was then hired as head coach in 1992, but San Diego lost its first four games during the season and many thought the Chargers would miss the playoffs again. However, the Chargers came roaring back and became the first 0-4 team to make the playoffs, as they won 11 of the last 12 games and clinched the AFC West title. Ross was named AFC Coach Of The Year for the Chargers' dramatic turnaround. In the Wild Card Round, they managed to shut out the Kansas City Chiefs 17-0, but they got shut out in the Divisional Round to the Miami Dolphins 31-0. In 1993, the Chargers ended up 8-8 (fourth in their division) and ending an average year on the outside looking in.

In the 1994-95 season, the Chargers made their first and, so far, only Super Bowl appearance against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX in Miami Gardens. They got to the Super Bowl by winning the AFC West Division championship behind a strong defense led by linebacker Junior Seau and an offense keyed by running back Natrone Means, and then gaining upset victories. Despite two close victories (22-21 against the Dolphins in the Divisional Round and 17-13 against the Steelers in the AFC Championhip) in the playoffs, the underdog Chargers lost to the 49ers, led by quarterback Steve Young (the game's MVP) and wide receiver Jerry Rice, 49-26.

The Chargers follow-up year in 1995 wasn't as good as the previous year, but they still managed to get into the playoffs with a five-game winning streak to end the season at 9-7. Unfortunately, they experienced an early exit, courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 35-20 in the AFC Wild Card game. Then, from 1996 to 2003, the Chargers would go on to have eight-straight seasons where they were .500 or worse.

They were the host team for Super Bowls XXII, XXXII, and XXXVII in San Diego, but failed to make the playoffs in any of these seasons. In fact, the Chargers had not made the post-season since 1995, the year after their Super Bowl XXIX appearance, until on December 19, 2004, a year removed from their disastrous 4-12 season of 2003, they finally earned a trip back to the post-season by capturing the AFC West Division Title, winning their eighth straight game while shutting out the Cleveland Browns 21-0. An estimated 1200+ fans waited as long as six hours to greet the team at Chargers Park, their year-round training facility starting in 2005. The Chargers went on to finish the regular season 12-4.

They entered the first round (the Wild Card portion) of the playoffs as a lower seed, but proceeded to be eliminated by opponent New York Jets, who won in overtime over the Chargers 20-17. Rookie placekicker Nate Kaeding missed a 40-yard field goal that would have advanced San Diego into the next round, thus opening the door for a Jets victory.

Despite an abrupt ending to their turnaround season, Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer was named NFL Coach Of The Year for the 2004-2005 season, and quarterback Drew Brees was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

During the 2005 NFL Draft, the Chargers tried to get some key rookies that would help carry the momentum from their mostly successful 2004-05 run. They used their first pick on LB Shawne "Lights Out" Merriman from the University of Maryland. Then, they used their next pick on DT Luis Castillo from Northwestern University. Their other choices were WR Vincent Jackson from Northern Colorado, RB Darren Sproles from Kansas State, OT Wesley Britt from Alabama University, OT Wes Sims from Oklahoma University, and Center Scott Mruczkowski from Bowling Green State.

The Chargers got off to a rough start in their 2005 campaign, losing a close one to the Dallas Cowboys in their Week 1 home-opener (28-24) and then, they lost on the road to their AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos (20-17). It wasn't until a Week 3 home game on Sunday Night that they got their first win of the season, when Eli Manning and the New York Giants got "shocked to the system" as LaDainian Tomlinson had one of the greatest games of his career. He got 220 total yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, and he threw for a touchdown as he helped the Chargers win 45-23.

A week later, they were able to build off of their win by not only winning against the two-time defending champion New England Patriots 41-17, but they also ended the Pats' 21-game winning streak at home. In their Week 5 Monday Night home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chargers wore their throw-back uniforms during this season (they had also worn them during the 1994 season). During the game, both sides fought hard and fierce. However, in the end, the Steelers held on to win with a 40-yard field goal by Jeff Reed (24-22). The Chargers would rebound on the road against their division rival Oakland Raiders (27-14). In their Week 7 road trip to Philadelphia, they hoped to build off their win against the Eagles. Late in the game, with the Chargers leading 17-13, the Chargers tried to go for a field goal to put their lead well out of reach, but it got blocked and Eagles DB Matt Ware returned it 65 yards for the game-winning touchdown and the Chargers fourth loss of the season.

After going 3-4, the Chargers managed to turn things around as they began a five-game winning streak. They would win at home against division-rival Kansas City Chiefs (28-20) and on the road against the New York Jets (31-26). Coming off their Week 10 Bye, they went home and wore their throw-back uniforms again. This time, it was a dominating performance as the Chargers man-handled the Buffalo Bills 48-10. Then, they went on the road and won a close match against the Washington Redskins (23-17/OT) and then they would sweep the Oakland Raiders at home by a score of 34-10.

The Chargers were 8-5, coming off a surprising 23-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins. On December 18, the Chargers beat the undefeated Indianapolis Colts 26-17, snapping a 13-0 winning streak. However, despite a record of 9-6, they were officially eliminated from AFC playoff contention in 2005 after a 20-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs the following Saturday. The Chargers lost their final game of the season by a score of 23-7 to the AFC West champion Denver Broncos to finish with a record of 9-7.

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1970 San Diego Chargers season

The 1970 San Diego Chargers season began with the team trying to improve on their 8-6 record in 1969. It was their first season as an NFL team as a result of the NFL-AFL Merger, where the league was broken into two Conferences, with the AFL teams moving into the American Football Conference.

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2006 San Diego Chargers season

The 2006 San Diego Chargers season began with the team trying to improve on their 9-7 record in 2005. They finished the campaign as the #1 seed in the AFC ending the season at 14-2. The team would experience a home field playoff loss for the second time in the past three seasons losing in the final minutes to the New England Patriots 24 -21.

The Chargers were unable to re-sign All - Pro quarterback Drew Brees to a contract, Brees had suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder in the final game of the season, and turned instead to 2004 1st round selection Philip Rivers. Brees would later sign a contract with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent and make a complete recovery.

Chargers ownership announced in January that the team would no longer attempt to place a proposal for a new stadium on the November ballot as they were not able to locate private partners to facilitate financing of the project. The team had begun talks with city officials in 2002 stating that Qualcomm Stadium was inadequate to meet the financial needs of the franchise, and that they needed the city's help in building a new stadium to remain competitive. San Diego is no longer in the Super Bowl rotation due to the NFL objections concerning the stadium. As of December 2006, two cities in San Diego County are discussing a stadium for the Chargers: the City of Chula Vista and the City of National City.

In the NFL Draft, the Chargers used their first pick on Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie. They used their second pick on Auburn offensive tackle Marcus McNeill. The remainder of their draft picks were Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, Iowa State linebacker Tim Dobbins, Kansas State offensive tackle Jeromey Clary, Virginia kicker Kurt Smith, North Carolina defensive end Chase Page, and Virginia Tech offensive tackle Jimmy Martin.

Expectations varied for the Chargers' 2006 season. Questions centered on the play of the untested QB Rivers in his first season starting, and with the offensive line, especially at the crucial left tackle position. OLT Roman Oben injury in 2005 had a negative impact on all aspects of the offense and his replacement Lender Jordan ability to protect QB Rivers blindside was unproven. Jordan was injured in training camp and 2nd round draft pick OT Marcus McNeill landed the starting job and went on to have a Pro Bowl season. Defensively, the front seven remained talented and solid. LB depth was tested with Steve Foley's off-the-field injury however his replacement OLB Shaun Phillips 42 Tac 23 ass 11.5 sac came through with a major quality performance. The unit returned numerous key players, including nose tackle Jamal Williams , DE Luis Castillo , DE Igor Olshansky and 2005 Defensive Rookie of the Year Shawne Merriman, that made the Chargers the best team in the NFL against the run in 2005 season. Another area of concern was in the secondary, Cromartie, who sat out his last season at Florida State with a knee injury, is talented but inexperience was not expected to contribute right away . Cromartie filled the 3rd CB role for the team and pressed starting CB Drayton Florence for playing time. Safety play became more of a concern particularly with the arrest of DB Terrence Kiel by federal law enforcement officials on drug charges during the regular season and the re-injury to DB Bhawoh Jue knee.

The Chargers opened the season on September 11, 2006 with a 27-0 victory over the division rival Oakland Raiders. This second game of a Monday Night Football doubleheader marked the first time the Chargers had shut out the Raiders since a 44-0 win in 1961.

LaDainian Tomlinson led the Chargers with 31 carries for 131 yards, while Philip Rivers, in his debut as an NFL starting quarterback, completed 8 of 11 pass attempts for 108 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. The Chargers' defense stifled the Raiders running game, holding Raiders RB Lamont Jordan to 20 yards on 10 carries, and recorded 9 quarterback sacks against Raiders QBs Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter. Three of those sacks belonged to second-year LB Shawne Merriman.

With the win, the Chargers extended their winning streak against Oakland to six games, while head coach Marty Schottenheimer improved his head coaching record against the Raiders to 26-7. Schottenheimer also earned his 187th career victory, passing Chuck Knox to become the seventh-winning-est head coach in NFL history.

That shutout also marked the second time ever that Oakland has been shutout in their own stadium, the 2nd being the Denver Broncos and the 3rd being the St. Louis Rams.

The Chargers hosted the Tennessee Titans in their Week 2 home-opener, winning 40-7. Tomlinson rushed for two touchdowns and tied Lance Alworth for the Chargers record for most career touchdowns with 83. Vince Young spoiled the Chargers bid for a second straight shutout by throwing a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, though the 7 straight quarters of holding the opponent scoreless were the most to open a season since the 1977 Raiders.

Philip Rivers completed 25 passes out of 35 attempts, racking up 235 yards and a touchdown.

Coming off of their Bye, the Chargers traveled to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Baltimore Ravens. The Chargers drew first blood as QB Philip Rivers completed a 31-yard TD pass to WR Malcom Floyd. However, the Ravens would tie the game up with QB Steve McNair completing a 5-yard TD pass to TE Daniel Wilcox. In the second quarter, kicker Nate Kaeding would give the Chargers some comfort, as he kicked a 34-yard and a 54-yard field goal (a then career long) to give San Diego the lead at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, the Ravens slowly started to climb back. Late in the fourth quarter, after giving Baltimore an intentional safety (instead of punting deep from their own end zone), the Chargers hoped that their defense could hold up and prevent any chance of a comeback. Unfortunately, McNair led the offense throughout the closing minutes and scored the game-winning touchdown with a 10-yard TD pass to TE Todd Heap. With their loss, the Chargers fell to 2-1.

Hoping to rebound from their last-second loss to the Ravens, the Chargers flew back home and donned their throwback uniforms for a Sunday Night match-up with the defending Super Bowl champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chargers struggled early as their offense actually had -2 total yards, while the defense gave up a 9-yard TD run by RB Willie Parker in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Chargers continued to trail, as Steelers kicker Jeff Reed completed a 39-yard field goal. San Diego would start to get back into the game, as QB Philip Rivers completed a 9-yard TD pass to WR Malcom Floyd. In the third quarter, the Chargers charged right into the lead, as kicker Nate Kaeding kicked a 28-yard field goal, while Rivers hooked up with TE Antonio Gates for a 22-yard TD strike. In the fourth quarter, Kaeding put the game away with a 33-yard and a 22-yard field goal, while the defense squashed any hope of a Steeler comeback.

The Chargers flew to Arrowhead Stadium for a Week 7 fight with their AFC West rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first quarter, San Diego fell behind early with KC QB Damon Huard completing an 11-yard TD pass to TE Kris Wilson and a 21-yard TD pass to WR Eddie Kennison. In the second quarter, the Chargers got on the board with kicker Nate Kaeding making a 39-yard field goal, yet Kansas City would respond with an 11-yard run by RB Larry Johnson. Kaeding made a 31-yard field goal for San Diego to end the half. In the third quarter, both teams swapped touchdowns, as QB Philip Rivers threw a 1-yard TD pass to TE Antonio Gates, while Johnson got a 1-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, RB LaDainian Tomlinson caught a 37-yard TD pass and then threw a 1-yard TD pass to TE Brandon Manumaleuna.Kansas City Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes's was good on a 53-yard field goal to seal the win for Kansas City, dropping San Diego to 4-2.

The Charger's needing to rebound from their divisional road loss to the Chiefs, returned home for a Week 8 fight with the St. Louis Rams. In the first quarter, the Chargers got off to a fast start, with RB LaDainian Tomlinson completing a 2-yard TD run and a 38-yard TD run. In the second quarter, the Rams climbed into the contest with RB Steven Jackson completing a 3-yard TD run for the Ram's only score of the period. In the third quarter, San Diego gained some distance in their lead, as Free Safety Marlon McCree returned a fumble 79 yards for a touchdown. St. Louis would get a field goal, as kicker Jeff Wilkins hit from 34 yards out. The Chargers would also get a field goal, as kicker Nate Kaeding was good from 31 yards out. In the fourth quarter, San Diego RB Michael Turner would score on a 14-yard TD run, while Rams QB Marc Bulger completed a 7-yard TD pass to WR Shaun McDonald. The Chargers would respond with QB Philip Rivers completing a 25-yard TD pass to Tomlinson, while Bulger completed a 6-yard TD pass to WR Kevin Curtis, in favor of St. Louis. In the end, the Chargers ended up with the last spark and would improve to 5-2.

The Chargers at home, donned their throwback jerseys and played a Week 9 fight against the Cleveland Browns. In the first quarter, both sides would limit each other to a field goal. Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding would complete a 29-yard field goal, while Browns kicker Phil Dawson completed a 37-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Dawson would help Cleveland take the lead on a 20-yard field goal. San Diego a defensive touchdown as back as LB Marques Harris recovered a fumble in the Browns end zone. The Brown's would retake the lead with Dawson nailing a 42-yard and a 30-yard field goal. In the third quarter, the Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson got a 41-yard TD run for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, Dawson helped the Browns by converting a 36-yard field goal, San Diego continued to add to their total with Tomlinson getting a 7-yard TD run. Dawson would get one more field goal (from 35 yards out), the Chargers continued to score touchdowns as Tomlinson ran one in from 8-yard out. QB Philip Rivers completed a 2-point conversion pass to WR Vincent Jackson. Afterwards, Cleveland would get its only touchdown of the game, as QB Charlie Frye hooked up with WR Braylon Edwards on a 4-yard pass. In the end, San Diego came out on top and improved to 6-2.

In a high scoring contest the San Diego Chargers overcame two 21-point deficits to take down the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. The game started off with Carson Palmer completing 7 of his first 10 passes and with two short runs by Jeremi Johnson and Rudi Johnson plus a long pass to Chad Johnson of 51 yards the Bengals were dominating the Chargers going up 21-0 after the first quarter. The Chargers were able to get things working a little bit in the second quarter with LaDainian Tomlinson running a TD in from 9-yds out to shrink the deficit to 21-7, but a 7-yd pass to Chris Henry finished the first half with the Bengals up 28-7. The Chargers came out for the third quarter and rebounded with a 4-yd run by LT and a 46-yd pass from Philip Rivers to WR Malcom Floyd to make it a 28-21 game. Cincinnati responded by driving down field again however this time they had to settle for a field Goal to make the score 31-21 . Philip Rivers lead the Chargers down field with a 9-play 80-yd drive capped off with a 9-yd strike to TE Brandon Manumaleuna to get within 3 making it 31-28. But the Chargers defense lapsed again with no one covering Johnson when Palmer passed him the ball for a 74-yd reception to make it 38-28. The Chargers drove down field again and ended the third quarter in position to shrink the lead allowing the team to start off the final quarter of play with a 2-yd run to make the score 38-35. Then after the kickoff Chargers Linebacker Shaun Phillips sacked Carson Palmer on first down forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Chargers. A 9-yd run by LaDainian Tomlinson gave the Chargers their first lead by the score of 42-38. The Bengals came within one with a 44-yd kick making it 42-41, but the Bolts were not to be denied as Rivers led yet another drive down field ending with a shovel pass to Manumaleuna who wasn't covered to make the score 49-41 and the Chargers officially tied their biggest comeback in team history with LaDainian Tomlinson getting 108-yds rushing and 4 rushing TDs and Philip Rivers passing for 24 of 36 and 337 yds with 3 TDs.

LaDainian Tomlinson made history by becoming the fastest running back to reach 100 career TDs by doing it in only 89 games, eclipsing the mark set by legends Emmitt Smith & Jim Brown of 93 games. He also continued his march toward beating Shaun Alexander's single season TD record by scoring 4 TD's to bring his total to 22, just 5 short of tying Alexander's mark. Philip Rivers had a good day as well throwing 19 of 26 for 222-yds and 2 TD's, although he did throw 2 picks including a 31-yd Interception return for a TD by Denver cornerback Darrent Williams. The game started out with LT running it in from 3-yds out to make it 7-0 San Diego. Denvers Mike Bell would run 2 TD's in during the 2nd quarter to make it a 14-7 Denver lead at halftime. After the break Denver continued the scoring with an Jason Elam 42-yd field goal and Williams INT return to make it a 24-7 lead for Denver. But just like last week against the Bengals the Chargers wouldn't say die putting together 2 scoring drives including a 3-yd run by LT, his 100th TD, and a 51-yd pass to LT by Rivers to cut the lead to 24-21 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Elam helped the Broncos cause by hitting a 38-yd kick to extend the Broncos lead to 27-21 but that only lasted until Rivers found Vincent Jackson open at the back of the endzone to put the Bolts up 28-27. On the ensuing Broncos drive, Drayton Florence would then intercept Jake Plummer's 4th and 4 pass to give the Bolts terrific field position that setup a 1-yd run by LT to make it 35-27, it was his 4th TD of the night and 102nd of his career. That left Denver 1:14 to try and tie the game. They started that drive from their 3 and made it all the way to the Chargers 32 in part to a personal foul on Chargers defensive end Igor Olshansky, who was ejected for punching Broncos center Tom Nalen. The Broncos' hopes for overtime ended when Plummer was sacked by Shaun Phillips and time ran out giving San Diego their first win in Denver in 7 years as well as sole position of 1st place in the AFC West.

LaDainian Tomlinson ran in 2 TDs and threw for one to give San Diego its third straight comeback win. He now has 21 rushing touchdowns on the year and brought his career QB record to 7 completions out of 10 attempts with 6 touchdowns. Philip Rivers on the other hand struggled completing 14 of 31 passes and throwing for only a 133 yds with no TDs and 1 interception. The Chargers swept the Raiders and have now won 7 straight from Oakland. The scoring started with the Raiders making it 7-0 after a 1-yd pass from Aaron Brooks to Reshard Lee. The Chargers answered back when Antonio Cromartie returned the ensueing kick 91-yds which setup a 2-yd run by LT to tie the score at 7-7 going into the half. The Raiders took the lead again on a catch and run by rookie John Madsen that setup a 2-yd pass from Brooks to Madsen to make it 14-7 Oakland. On 4th and 2 Rivers passed to Vincent Jackson for a first down, but Jackson proceeded to getup and throw the ball forward in celebration, the problem was that he hadn't been touched down. The initially ruling was that it was a fumble and Oakland's ball, however after the officials got together for a conference they declared that since it was an illegal forward fumble that it was technically an illegal forward pass and San Diego was then given back the ball and penalizied 5-yds which was still enough for the first down. The game continued and on the next play, Rivers pitched the ball to Tomlinson as if it were a run play but then threw the ball to an open Antonio Gates to tie the score 14-14. After forcing Oakland to punt the Chargers drove down field and LT ran it in from 10-yds out to give the Chargers the 21-14 win.

Coming off a season-sweep over the Raiders, the Chargers flew to Ralph Wilson Stadium for a cold Week 13 fight against the throwback-clad Buffalo Bills. This game would also mark the return of San Diego's star linebacker Shawne Merriman after his four-game suspension for failing a test for performance enhancing drugs. In the first quarter, the Chargers drew first blood with kicker Nate Kaeding's 42-yard field goal and RB LaDainian Tomlinson's 51-yard TD run. In the second quarter, San Diego got the only score of the period with QB Philip Rivers completing an 11-yard TD pass to TE Antonio Gates. In the third quarter, the Bills started to come back with QB J.P. Losman completing a 5-yard TD pass to TE Robert Royal, while RB Willis McGahee got a 2-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, the Chargers distanced themselves from Buffalo with Tomlinson's 2-yard TD run. The Bills would get another touchdown, with Losman completing a 6-yard pass to WR Peerless Price. San Diego would emerge as the victor. With their sixth-staight win, the Chargers improved to 10-2.

The game featured newly appointed rookie Denver QB Jay Cutler. In a stark contrast to the come-from-behind victory against Denver earlier in the season, San Diego scored early and often in this game, leading the game 28-3 at halftime. It was all Denver in the 3rd quarter, the Broncos closing the gap to 28-20, but San Diego bounced back in the fourth quarter with 20 unanswered points, winning the game 48-20. The win, as well as a Kansas City Chiefs loss earlier in the day, clinched the AFC West Division for San Diego. With the Indianapolis Colts also losing earlier in the day, San Diego gained the best record in the AFC (11-2). In addition, with his 7-yard rushing touchdown toward the end of the 4th quarter (his third of the game), RB LaDainian Tomlinson broke the NFL single-season touchdown record (29) (26 Rushing, 3 receiving), set by the Seattle Seahawks' RB Shaun Alexander (28) in the previous season.

After a 3-point loss earlier in the year the Chargers were set to split the season series with the Chiefs. Kansas City meanwhile was reeling from a loss against Baltimore, and the death of the team's owner, Lamar Hunt. In this game the Charger's were again led to victory by LaDainian Tomlinson who scored twice, breaking the NFL single-season scoring record held by Paul Hornung for the last 46 years. The latter was an 85 yard touchdown rush which is the longest of his career . He also broke Shaun Alexander and Priest Holmes's shared Single Season Rushing TD record by getting 28 rushing touchdowns and added to the record he set last week for total touchdowns with 31 (28 rushing, 3 receiving). Moreover, he set the record for most consecutive Multi-Touchdown Games with 8.

San Diego took the lead late in the second quarter when Philip Rivers threw a TD to WR Vincent Jackson, giving San Diego a 7-0 lead going into halftime. Rivers had a bad first half completing only 1 of 10 passes, the only completion being a touchdown. The 3rd quarter saw San Diego add to their lead making it 10-0. But Seattle RB Shaun Alexander narrowed the gap with a rushing TD making it 10-7, San Diego would answer back with a field goal to make it 13-7, but on Seattle's ensuing drive they allowed another Alexander TD to make the score 14-13 and they would allow a field goal to give Seattle a 17-13 lead. With time running out San Diego drove down the field and Rivers would connect with a 37-yd pass to Jackson to give the Chargers a 20-17 lead with only :29 seconds remaining. The defense would hold and the Chargers continued their winning ways setting a team record 13th win. The win also clinched a first round bye and setup the Chargers to control their own destiny the next week against Arizona, as a win would clinch them homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

With the San Diego Chargers on their way to owning the AFC's top seed in the playoffs, Rivers threw two touchdown passes after injuring his right foot, and LaDainian Tomlinson also limped off after wrapping up his first NFL rushing title in leading the Chargers to a 27-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The Chargers clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. They'd already earned a first-round bye, which will give Rivers and Tomlinson time to heal. Their exact injuries weren't disclosed. Tomlinson ran for 66 yards, giving him 1,815 and the league rushing title. He beat Larry Johnson of the division rival Kansas City Chiefs, who had 1,789. Tomlinson did not score for the second straight game, but he is already was the league's most prolific scorer in a single season, with 31 touchdowns and 186 points.

The Chargers had a first-round bye as a result of being the number one seed in the AFC.

In the divisional playoffs, the New England Patriots faced San Diego Chargers team, who were unbeaten at home in the regular season. The favored Chargers boasted a roster that included league MVP running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who shattered several league records, nine Pro Bowlers, and five All-Pro players. However four turnovers, three of which were converted into Patriots scoring drives, eventually led to the demise of the Chargers. San Diego ended up losing despite outgaining the Patriots in rushing yards, 148-51 and total yards, 352-327, while also intercepting three passes from Tom Brady.

In the first quarter, after San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer opted to go for it on 4th-and-11 instead of attempting a 47-yard field goal, quarterback Philip Rivers lost a fumble while being sacked by Mike Vrabel, setting up Stephen Gostkowski's 51-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in the period. In the second quarter, Chargers receiver Eric Parker's 13-yard punt return set up a 48-yard scoring drive that ended with LaDainian Tomlinson's 2-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 7-3 lead. Then, on the Patriots' next drive, linebacker Donnie Edwards intercepted a pass from Brady and returned it to the 41-yard line. But the Chargers ended up punting after Rivers was sacked on third down by defensive back Artrell Hawkins. Later in the quarter, Tomlinson rushed twice for 13 yards and took a screen pass 58 yards to the Patriots' 6-yard line, setting up a 6-yard touchdown run by Michael Turner with 2:04 left in the half. New England responded with a 72-yard scoring drive, with receiver Jabar Gaffney catching four passes for 46 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown reception with six seconds left in the half, cutting their deficit to 14-10.

In the second quarter, Brady threw his second interception of the game. But once again, the Chargers were forced to punt after Rivers was sacked on third down. Mike Scifres' 36-yard punt pinned New England back at their own 2-yard line, and San Diego subsequently forced a punt, but Parker muffed the kick and New England's David Thomas recovered the fumble at the Chargers' 31-yard line. New England's drive seemed to stall after Brady fumbled on 3rd and 13. Patriots' tackle Matt Light recovered it and Chargers defensive back Drayton Florence drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for personal foul. The drive continued and Gostkowski eventually kicked a 34-yard field goal to cut their deficit to 14-13. Then, on San Diego's next drive, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin made an interception of a Rivers pass at the New England 36-yard line. The Patriots then drove to the Chargers 41-yard line, but were halted there and had to punt. After the punt, Rivers completed two passes to tight end Antonio Gates for 31 yards and a 31-yard pass to Vincent Jackson, setting up Tomlinson's second rushing touchdown to give the Chargers an 8-point lead, 21-13.

New England responded by driving to San Diego's 41-yard line. On a fourth-down conversion attempt, Brady's pass was intercepted by Marlon McCree, but Troy Brown stripped the ball, and receiver Reche Caldwell recovered it. Schottenheimer then called a timeout challenging the officials call of interception and fumble by McCree. The Chargers forfeited the time out when the official ruling of the play was upheld. Four plays later, Brady threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Caldwell. On the next play, running back Kevin Faulk took a direct snap and scored the two-point conversion, tying the game. Then, after forcing a punt, Brady completed a 19-yard pass to Daniel Graham. Two plays later, Caldwell caught a 49-yard pass down the right sideline to set up Gostkowski's third field goal to give them a 24-21 lead with only 1:10 left in the fourth quarter. With no timeouts left, San Diego drove to the Patriots 36-yard line on their final possession, but Nate Kaeding's 54-yard field goal attempt fell short with three seconds remaining in the game.

After the game, the Patriots erupted in a controversial celebration, mocking the "Lights Out" dance of LB Shawne Merriman and stomping on the Chargers mid-field logo which made Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers and running back LaDainian Tomlinson confront Patriots players.

Gaffney finished with ten catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Tomlinson rushed for 123 yards, caught two passes for 64 yards, and scored two touchdowns.

The Chargers had more Pro Bowlers for the 2006 season than any other team, with a total of 10. This included QB Philip Rivers (who did not play due to a foot injury), RB LaDainian Tomlinson, K Nate Kaeding, OLB Shawn Merriman, T Jamal Williams, OC Nick Hardwick, FB Lorenzo Neal, ST Kassim Osgood, TE Antonio Gates, LT Marcus McNeil, and LS David Binn.

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2000 San Diego Chargers season

The 2000 San Diego Chargers season began with the team trying to improve on their 8-8 record in 1999. It is as of 2008 the worst record of any Chargers team in history. They earned the #1 pick in the 2001 NFL draft. Punter Darren Bennett lead the league in average yards with 46.2.

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Source : Wikipedia