Calling London: Do NOT fall for the flirtation about the Chargers moving to London

Late last night, CBS Sports posted an article indicating that both the NFL and the Chargers themselves would consider a permanent move to London. To my dear friends across the pond who believe that football is played with a round ball (lol), let me be the first to warn you about why getting into bed with this team would be a catastrophically awful idea for fans and non-fans of sports alike.

Let’s start with the play on the field itself. What you saw yesterday with the Chargers dissecting the Packers 26-11 is not the norm. Ho ho, my friends, it is quite the opposite; it is an aberration. This team has the instinctive reflex to shoot itself in the foot at the most inopportune times. If there is a game to lose by a touchdown or less, my friends, this is the team to lose it. This season alone, every single loss they’ve had has come by a touchdown or less. Many of these games involve the Chargers trying to lead a game winning drive down the field only to watch them not convert a 4th down, throw an INT or miss a field goal. This isn’t just an off year, the Chargers tend to do this more times than not.

Philip Rivers is old by playing standards and even if given a chance to, may not be inclined to follow the Chargers across the pond to London. Your backup would be quarterback Tyrod Taylor who while not a terrible quarterback, plays the exact opposite style of Rivers who likes to sit in the pocket. The future, however, may lie in an “Easton Stick”; who I am pretty sure was a rejected character name in the Pokemon Yellow series. Their running game is a Ford factory of interchangeable parts; when Melvin Gordon held out, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson put up above average numbers. I could probably get you 600 yards behind that line.

The receiving game is a question mark as the top two receivers and tight end are built of glass tubes encased with duct tape. Keenan Allen is a possession receiver who manages to catch almost anything thrown his way, while Mike Williams is a faster “spread the field” type who flashes as an above average to elite receiver when available. Hunter Henry is one of those “big bodied” basketball player types, which for a TE is a double-edged sword; above average athleticism with below average durability. Henry is a good pass catcher, but has spent over half his career to date on the Injured Reserve list.

On the other end of the ball is the defense which swings between “elite” and “inexplicably not good”. Dual pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram can be an immensely disruptive force against the opposing team’s quarterback. The Chargers sport a middling to just above average pass attack, though their best star, safety Derwin James is currently on Injured Reserve dealing with an injury before the season even begin. This has led to bipolar play from the defense; while in one game they’ll hold the Aaron Rodgers led Packers to 11 points, they’ve also been inclined to give up 24 points to a Steelers unit starting emergency quarterback……Devlin Hodges?Kicker Mike Badgley like the vast majority of the team has dealt with some durability issues, but looked good in his first game back last Sunday.

Therefore, you might be thinking “but IntotheVoid, that doesn’t sound that bad” and if you just look at the win/loss records they’ve had as of late, you would not be mistaken. Remember how I said why this was an awful idea “for non-fans”? Dean Spanos is a shyster’s shyster who gives absolutely zero shits about the team except for the money he makes from it. He will milk your city like a dairy farmer until there is no milk left to milk. When the city of San Diego balked at his quest of a new stadium, Spanos folded up shop and went panhandling off to Los Angeles. This probably would have been fine, if not for the fact that the Los Angeles Rams (who have a much more significant history in the city than do the Chargers) did not also fold up shop and go to Los Angeles.

That has gone very poorly for them thus far as every game (home and away) has more players in the stands from the other team than fans of the Chargers. The travel distance from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Carson, California is 2,130 miles and yet the fan was a sea of Packers jerseys.

Should you decide to ignore my advice and get in bed with this sleazeball, might I recommend changing the team name from the Chargers to the Vagrants? Spanos is a man motivated by money and the only place he’ll be willing to call home will the place that gives him the most money possible. Oh and just because you’ve had these games at the stadium of the Tottenham Hotspur doesn’t mean Deano Machino won’t want a brand new stadium to call his own (remember, he left San Diego for this EXACT reason). Consider your potential time with Spanos as merely a scale up on the experiment of whether American Football would do well outside of America.

Finally, consider the logistical nightmare of American Football divisions. The Chargers currently reside in the AFC West. Relocating to London would make them the Eastern most team by a wide margin. While you could theoretically leave them in the AFC West, odds are this would lead to some sort of reshuffling. First, the Chargers would likely end up in the AFC East, meaning you’d get to spend two games a year being the plaything of Patriots coach Bill Belichek. This would likely lead to Miami migrating to the AFC South, which wouldn’t be an intrinsically bad thing though, the AFC South would lose a competitive team in a somewhat competitive division. This would likely shift Houston (a good team) over to a division with the Chiefs (very good team), the Raiders (maybe a good team?) and the Broncos (probably not a good team). It’s doable, but the logistics of all of this seems far more of a hassle than it’s worth.

It’s your choice London. You can get in bed with this asshole organization who likes to sport teams that in their best case scenario get upset in the playoffs and in the worst case scenario are an absolute trash fire. On the positive side, the team would have absolutely no identity and you could shape it to your liking, so long as you keep ponying up the money. Otherwise, the Chargers might move again to another country looking to funnel some blood oil money into a legitimate enterprise.


  1. Good article. As a former Chargers fan, seeing them flop in LA (I’m in OC so I see it sort of first hand) has been great. We all tried to warn Spanos that this would happen.

    One correction though. The Raiders don’t share the stadium with the Chargers. They are still playing in the Oakland Coliseum.

    • Thanks, don’t know why I thought they were sharing that.

  2. What is your take on the viability of any Am Football team in London? Is there really enough of a player base to come out and support a team outside of a couple of special exhibition games? I was always under the impression there’s not enough interest to make it a weekly thing, but I could be completely wrong about that!

    • I can see it being Jacksonville with them actually having a contract to agree to play a game there 4 years 2017-2021 and they do bring the crowd out since they appear to be the regular fixture there. But their middling gameplay would chase a fanbase off rather quickly.

    • It would be insanely taxing on the players to handle that kind of travel. I cannot image the NFLPA would be onboard. As of right now the NFL gives the teams that play in London a bye the following week just to recover. How could any team handle that each week?

      Mexico would seem like a much more viable market.

      I would also imagine a new stadium and field would have to purpose built. I don’t think a soccer pitch is designed to handle that kind of punishment on a weekly basis. …then again that hasn’t stopped Dan Snyder from trotting his team out each week.

    • Mexico City is the much better choice (as might be Toronto). Without reiterating what Marshes said, it’d be an adjustment for any team of players but plausible. If you staggered the London home games around bye weeks and gave said London team a bye during that time, it might work. I have no idea if London would be willing to support a team though.

      I’m thinking something like weeks 1-3 @ divisional rivals (in my scenario, Jets, Bills, Patriots) which would be minimal travel for the London team (who could fly over week one of preseason and stay nearby during preseason). Weeks 4-12 would all be home games except for whenever you give the London team a bye week. All visiting teams would have their bye weeks after playing in London. They’d finish the season on the road which might not be ideal, but the logistics after that get messier the more you vary home and away games.

      That said, if said London team got home field advantage it’d be pretty brutal for most parties involved.

      • I watch the exposition games on TV when they are broadcast from Mexico City, and enjoy them greatly. HOWEVER…

        Having traveled to that city in my past, I am not sure that it would be healthy to field a team there, due to the high altitude and pollution. OTOH, if Denver can support a team, then this is THEORETICALLY possible. Also in the plus column: the city is in the Central Time Zone, which would fit into the business model.

  3. The only upside to this is I can see Spanos get hate from a global audience instead of just stateside.

  4. It will not happen. Jason Fitz of ESPN pointed out this morning that taxes would have to be paid in both countries for players.
    Those on the NFL minimum ($450K) would only bring home about $70000 after paying taxes in both countries.

  5. A RANT:
    Remember when the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis? That whole debacle was emotionally evocative, with heroes and villains. The Chargers departure is best characterized as that of a petulant, spoiled child. The City of San Diego refused to fund the construction of a new stadium, and rightly so. Never mind it had been in the community for fifty plus years. It threw away cake looking for bread.

    I am native San Diegan (yes, we actually exist), and I have to say that the Chargers are dead to me. Go Eagles!!

    PS: As for the topic at hand, the time zone would be rough on the player’s body. But, on the plus side, if the NFL allowed such a move, that would remove the disincentive to expand the league to Honolulu or Anchorage. All three locations would have a five hour time difference from the US East Coast.

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