My Top 10 Moments in San Diego Chargers History

Credit: AP Photo

qualcomm stadium qualcomm wikipedia page
So many memories at the Q. Photo Credit: Qualcomm Stadium Wikipedia page

 

The Chargers have begun the process of moving north to Los Angeles, and that is a horrible thing.

It’s tough to think about, but let’s take a look back on the place the Chargers have called home for the last 50 years. The “Q”, the “Murph”, or whatever name you call Qualcomm Stadium, it immediately brings back a flood of memories, good and bad, that happened in our concrete cathedral.

Unfortunately, the stadium, which provided much joy, was the cause for all the drama in the end as the team could not play in a venue that was old and out of date.

Originally named San Diego Stadium when it opened in 1967, it was changed to Jack Murphy Stadium in 1980 after the local sports writer, who was instrumental in getting the team to San Diego and raising the funds for the stadium, passed away. In 1997, a telecommunications company, Qualcomm, bought the rights for $18 million and it has gone by that name ever since.

The stadium has hosted thousands of sporting events over the years, ranging from baseball and football to FIFA soccer matches and Motor-X events. The San Diego Padres called it home from their inaugural season in MLB in 1969 until they moved to Petco Park following the 2003 season.

The Q has been home to the NCAA Football bowl game, the Holiday Bowl since 1978 and the Poinsettia Bowl since 2005. It’s hosted three Super Bowls and is still the only stadium in history to host a Super Bowl and World Series game in the same year, 1998.

Lance alworth mssportsmagazine.com
Lance “Bambi” Alworth. Photo Credit: mssportsmagazine.com

The stadium’s future is up in the air presently and there are numerous rumors swirling already about the future of the site. Only time will tell what the city decides to do with Qualcomm Stadium.

In this sad time, let us look back at some of the top 10 moments in Chargers’ history. These are my favorite moments, and can surely be debated by the Bolt fans. Enjoy.

10. “The Beginning” August 20, 1967: Detroit Lions vs San Diego Chargers

The first game at San Diego Stadium history was a preseason game as the Chargers hosted the Detroit Lions. Over 45,000 fans showed up for the game. The stadium held 50,000 seats at the time, as the Charges also made their first appearance against an NFL team in the Lions. The Chargers were led by legendary head coach Sid Gillman and Hall of Fame receiver Lance Alworth. Although the Bolts lost the game 38-17, the foundation was put in place for the San Diego franchise.

9. “Big Game Butts” January 2, 1993: AFC Wildcard Kansas City Chiefs vs San Diego Chargers

This was more than just shutting out the Chargers division rival and advancing to the AFC Divisional round. The 1992 Bolts became the first (and still only) team to start the season 0-4 and make it to the playoffs.

After an 0-4 start, the Chargers finished the season with an 11-5 record and then shut out the Chiefs 17-0 in the Wildcard round as the defense racked up seven sacks and two Int’s. This was also QB Stan Humphries and head coach Bobby Ross’s first season with the Bolts. Running back Marion Butts led the way with 119 yards on 15 carries, including a 54-yard TD run.

Rolf and Ketcher sandiegouniontribune.com
Photo Credit: sandiegouniontribune.com

8. “Benirschke Captains The Team” November 18, 1979: Pittsburgh Steelers vs San Diego Chargers

Place kicker Rolf Benirschke was deathly ill after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis during the 1979 season. He had lost a bunch of weight after numerous surgeries and did not look well after being in the hospitable for 10 days. One of the Chargers publicists, Rick Smith, invited Rolf to the game against the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

When Rolf saw his teammates for the first time since the illness, they were shocked at how much weight he had lost and his overall health. Defensive Tackle Louie Kelcher voted that Rolf be the Honorary Captain for the Chargers.

A jersey was thrown onto Rolf and Kelcher held his hand as they headed out to the middle of the field for the coin toss. The hometown

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Credit: Getty Images

crowd was going crazy as they cheered hard for their young kicker, and the Chargers used that momentum to steamroll the Steelers 35-7 on the afternoon.

7. “Fouts Goes Ham” October 19, 1980: New York Giants vs San Diego Chargers

Charger QB Dan Fouts and head coach Don Coryell led a potent San Diego offense that would set all-time records during their time together.

In a game against Phil Simms and the New York Giants, their skills would be on full display as Fouts would dissect the Giants’ defense for 444 yards and three TDs on their way to a 44-7 win, one of the most lopsided wins in Chargers history. The passing yards would set a team record that would stand until this year when Philip Rivers threw for 503 yards against the Green Bay Packers.

Not only did Fouts throw for 444 yards, but three players had over 100 receiving yards for the Bolts. Charlie Joiner led the way with 10 receptions, 171 yards and one TD. John Jefferson and Kellen Winslow also added 5 catches, 107 yards, one TD, and six catches and 102 yards respectively.

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Nick Small
Nick was born and raised in San Diego where he became a Chargers and Padres fan, attending numerous home games throughout the years with his dad. He then went on to attend college at the University of Arizona. There he earned his degree in marketing and now lives in San Francisco where he dreams of the the sunny beaches of San Diego. Bear Down.

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