As the decision looms on if the San Diego Chargers will in fact move North to Los Angeles, we look back on the place the Chargers have called home for the last 49 years. The “Q”, the “Murph” or whatever name you call Qualcomm stadium, it immediately brings back a flood or memories, good and bad that happened in our concrete cathedral.
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 has gone by that name ever since. The rights for the name end in 2017.
The stadium has hosted thousands of sporting events over the year, 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 the 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.
Now without further ado, the top ten moments in Chargers history at Qualcomm Stadium.
10. “The Beginning” August 20, 1967: Detroit Lions vs San Diego Chargers
The first game at San Diego Stadium history was a pre-season 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 shutout the Chiefs 17-0 in the Wildcard round as the defense racked up seven sacks and 2 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.
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 good 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 winning 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 head out to the middle of the field for the coin toss. The hometown 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 3 TD’s 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 Joyner led the way with 10 receptions, 171 yards and 1 TD. John Jefferson and Kellen Winslow also added 5 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD and 6 catches and 102 yards respectively.
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