Unique Tidbits in San Diego Chargers History


san-diego-chargersAhh. Football season is almost here. The Chargers seem to be in good position to make another run for the playoffs. The first pre-season game is on Thursday night. So, I’ll share some trivia about the history of San Diego Chargers football.

Did you know that the Chargers made it to the Championship game in their inaugural season? They were based in Los Angeles that first year.

Before the season began, the team held a contest asking the public to come up with a team name. A resident of Hollywood won the contest by suggesting ‘Chargers’ as the team’s nickname.

Despite the first year success in Los Angeles, civic leaders in San Diego, and in particular San Diego sports writer Jack Murphy, convinced the owner Barron Hilton to move the team to America’s Finest City the following season. (San Diego 1 – Los Angeles 0!)

I was curious why the team was moved to San Diego after a season that saw them reach AFL Championship Game in the first season. Well, it turns out it’s because of the same reason Los Angeles does not have an NFL team today…lack of interest among Angelenos. Ironically, that first season saw 27,778 show up at the Los Angeles Coliseum for the first pre-season game but only 9,928 came out to watch the team win the Western Division Title later in the year.

The new ‘San Diego’ Chargers played at Balboa Stadium, where seating capacity was increased from 23,000 to 34,000 to hold the throng of fans Jack Murphy predicted would come out to support the team. Sure enough, when San Diego once again made it to the AFL Championship Game, 29,566 fans showed up at Balboa Stadium and showed the nation that this town loves its football team.

The stadium was beautiful with it’s Roman inspired columns, which you can see in this picture of Balboa Stadium. Unfortunately, Balboa Stadium has since been demolished and replaced with a much smaller stadium for use by local soccer teams and schools.

Over the next few years, the Chargers held training camps in a variety of locations from the nearby campus at the University of San Diego to way out in East County in Boulevard.

Almost year after year, the Chargers continued to make it to the AFL Championship Game with notable players like Jack Kemp and Lance Alworth. Their prowess is probably what led Chrysler officials to introduce their new muscle car, the Dodge Charger, during halftime at a game in 1965.

That same year, the city sought to build a new stadium for the Chargers. Before they finalized the deal on what would eventually become known as Jack Murphy Stadium and today’s Qualcomm Stadium, one of the leading proposals had been to build a floating stadium in Mission Bay. (I wonder if it was the same people who were suggesting a ‘floating airport’ a few years ago when the Airport Authority was seeking a new home for Lindbergh Field.)

Well, I just wanted to give you a taste of what I found to be some of the interesting trivia in Chargers history as we get ready for another highly anticipated season. You can read more about the Chargers history on the team’s website.

If you are going to a game, check out my travel web site for information on attending San Diego Chargers games at Qualcomm Stadium. It includes links to a variety of resources to make the most of your experience. You’ll even learn some tidbits. For example, did you know Qualcomm Stadium is rated the most Vegetarian Friendly Stadium in the NFL!

Let’s get ready for some football!

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One Response to “Unique Tidbits in San Diego Chargers History”

  1. You can download the San Diego Chargers Schedule to your calendar from the team’s website. If you use Google Calendar, download and then import the iCal format.

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