Since deciding to move to Los Angeles, the Chargers have been under intense scrutiny from football fans everywhere. They already had to scrap their new logo after it got roasted on social media, and the hits keep on coming for L.A.'s newest franchise.
There are plenty of people who wondered whether L.A. wanted the Chargers in the first place. The city already added the Rams last season, and they actually wanted them to come. Asking locals to care about a second new team in as many years is a big ask, and leaving your original home to play second-fiddle in a new spot seems counter-productive.
As it turns out, it's not just fans who think that way. ESPN's Adam Schefter dropped this nugget in his Friday notebook column with Chris Mortensen, suggesting NFL owners are not happy with the move:
As much as the Chargers' move to Los Angeles angered San Diego, it angered NFL executives and owners just as much, if not more.
Since the move was announced, the NFL has been "besides itself," in the words of one league source. "There are a ton of owners very upset that [the Chargers] moved," one source said. The source added that the NFL wants the Chargers to move back, though nobody believes that possibility is realistic.
But some NFL owners and some league officials are still hoping, now that the move has been made official, that Chargers chairman Dean Spanos will wake up one morning soon, recognize this situation has been "bungled so bad," and take his team back to San Diego, where it spent the past 56 years. Again, the chances are at best remote that this happens.
But some owners and league officials are still praying that the longest of long shots occurs and the Chargers bolt back to San Diego.
It seems pretty remarkable for backlash to be so universal for a move that managed to go through anyway. Every step of the process has been panned by critics of all levels, and yet the Chargers continue to push forward with their heads held high.
If we take the report from Schefter at face value—and there's no reason to doubt his reporting—the move to Los Angeles looks even more like a shameless cash grab. With San Diego refusing to give in to demands for public funding to build a new stadium, Chargers CEO Dean Spanos took his team and ran, knowing he could eventually set up shop in Rams owner Stan Kroenke's new stadium.
Worst of all, Spanos is fully aware of all this. The Chargers are willingly playing in a 30,000 seat soccer stadium for the next two seasons, which will be the smallest stadium in the league by about 26,000 seats. It's a pretty big indication of their fear for how tough it's going to be to draw fans to come watch them play; no owner would willingly halve their game-day revenue if it wasn't necessary to save face.
The hits keep on coming for the Chargers. They better come out looking like Super Bowl contenders next season, unless they want to keep feeding their detractors more ammunition.