[* I took another job last year and neglected my NFL blog in 2015. On a positive note, I went back to my old job and now I actually have some free time to start writing again (because working 12 hours vs. 8 hours a day can starve a football hunger. And what a perfect time to return: NFL Draft Time]
2/12/16 – by James Fedewa
The NFL season wrapped up with the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowl Fifty. Yeah, yuck… I know. Denver has a great ____, blah blah blah (who cares). The season is over and every NFL team is tied again (but again, that is not what we are interested in). What we are interested in is the 2016 NFL Draft Class. There is no clear front runner with the number one overall selection. It could be one of three or four guys, all a mystery for now. And of course the top pick is apparently available for sale, again…
Lets briefly discuss the number one overall pick. The Tennessee Titans currently own it and they can draft a young star offensive tackle in Laremy Tunsil (Ole’ Miss), a junior three year starter. Or Tennessee can go with a sound and powerful defensive star with pass-rusher, defensive end Joey Bosa (Ohio State). Or they can go with a flashy Defensive Back with world class athleticism in Jalen Ramsey (Florida State). All three are great prospects and can help the Titans immediately in 2016. *Lop-Sided Note: The Titans have not drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2010.
The possibilities of who actually uses the first overall pick are wide open (projected trades included) especially with three notable, unpredictable and very green rookie quarterbacks slowly climbing up NFL draft board. These quarterbacks can completely change/bust every draft fans and columnists 2016 NFL mock draft. Quarterback needy teams tend to buy (and spend a lot) on young QB’s prospects in the draft, but who is willing to spend / trade the most for one of these three quarterbacks? (The top QB needy teams are: Browns, 49ers, Eagles, Texans, Rams, Broncos, Jets, Saints, Bears, Bills and Cowboys. A couple other teams could be added to this list, but lets not continue to speculate.
When the 2016 NFL Combine begins, expect three quarterbacks to stand out and earn the draft-darling spotlight before the NFL Draft: Carson Wentz (North Dakota State), Jared Goff (Cal) & Paxton Lynch (Memphis)
Carson Wentz comes from a smaller Division II school, as he was not heavily recruited out of high school (since he was a smaller kid). Wentz was a late bloomer and rendered into the prototypical size quarterback while in college. Standing 6’ 5” 230+ lbs. Wentz looks like a fast and very athletic version Ben Roethlisberger, with a cannon arm, surprising quickness (for a big man) and impressive experience (redshirt senior and 4 year starter). The 24 year old Wentz is more accurate than given credit for and if given an NFL quality receiving core, he can possibly light up the NFL. An NFL franchise can lean on this type of QB for 10+ years. Comparisons: Ben Roethlisberger (arm) and Cam Newton (legs)
Paxton Lynch is the former Memphis quarterback who bleads athleticism for a man of his size. Standing 6’ 7” 225 lbs. he is a big, extremely mobile and another prototypical bodied NFL caliber QB prospect. Lynch is similar in stature as Wentz, can stand tall in the pocket, but can also rush for a 10 yard first down. At 22 years old, the redshirt junior quarterback still very raw with tons of room to grow into a franchise QB, but Lynch should probably sit behind an NFL Vet and watch/learn for a season. Out of the top three QB prospects, Lynch might have the higher ceiling as a franchise quarterback, but he might have the lower floor. Lynch moves like a tall wide receiver and throws lasers with major league velocity. He also look the part, with a charismatic leadership an NFL franchise love. Comparisons: a combination of Ryan Tannehill and Mike Glennon (plus an NBA Small Forward mixed with Tony Stark).
Jared Goff is a savvy, pure passing QB that possess great pocket awareness with very good accuracy and intelligence. Goff is a smart and safe passer that makes better decisions than most QB prospects, which probably makes him the top QB prospect this season. The 21 year old, 6’ 4” 205 lbs. junior QB can become a very quick NFL game manager in the mold of Alex Smith, not making poor mistakes and adjusting to proper systematic reads. Goff’s throws are impressive too, as he has great touch. Either a rainbow arch or a quick little bullet, he will place the ball exactly how it needs to be. Goff is the type of passer who can throw a football 40 yard into a basketball hoop. He also has some Philip Rivers in him with is impressive pocket awareness and great touch with his passes, but since he’s from Cal, you cannot help but think of another Aaron Rogers type. Goff might need some time to develop before given the reigns to an NFL franchise, but by midseason or 2017, he could be a fast-blooming young star (just ask any Cal Bears fan, they love him). Comparison: Philip Rivers, Alex Smith (and yes, Cade McNown).
Prediction: All three quarterbacks are selected in the top 10 picks, and two QB’s are taken in the top three overall picks (hence the mock draft buster, with unforeseeable trades)
Notable: Another quarterback prospect can also sneak into the first round: Connor Cook from Michigan State.
Finally, NFL football fans get their first full week of NFL football this week. Thursday night football was full of ups and downs. Sunday morning football was very impressive, especially with the Seahawks loss to the Rams. But the Chargers afternoon football game was the pride of the day and the game to watch (better than the Eagles loss or the 49ers win Monday Nighters).
The San Diego Chargers fell behind quickly to the Detroit Lions with some odd and far-fetched mistakes. A 21 – 3 Lions lead was a harsh start, but wow did things change. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw two interceptions (one being an early pick-6, from a tip ball from often sure-handed Keenan Allen). The other INT was (really) the last play of the first half on a poorly under thrown ball in the end-zone to big M80, Malcom Floyd. This did not feel like what Chargers fans were waiting for…
The second half had a completely different feel and vibe. 30 unanswered points from the San Diego Chargers offense was amazing to witness, including 20 straight completions by Philip Rivers, even without suspended #1 pass catcher Antonio Gates. The Chargers offense was clicking with a mix of all their weapons, and yet was not even set to its maximum potential.
Watching Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon creep into their standard places (and into rushing rookie stardom) was a view to watch. Woodhead was missing for most of last season and shined with 2 touchdowns (who was miserably missed by SD in 2014). Gordon had a few nice moments, most importantly was the 360 degree spin TD run he had, that was called down prematurely from an unapparent “down by wrist” call. Brandon Oliver had a significant gain as well, showing that the Chargers have very good depth at the running back position this year (with a nice three headed RB monster).
San Diego receivers were quite special as well. Keenan Allen had a monster career game, tying a franchise record with receptions by a Charger (tying SD icon TE Kellen Winslow with 15 completions). Newbie Stevie Johnson chose the correct place to resurrect his career, as Rivers targeted Stevie a lot had a TD. As much as Rivers shined in the final two quarters, Allen was the diamond of the game, that looked like a top 5 NFL WR1. Tight End LaDarius Green has been expected to turn it up in 2014, and he finally did on Sunday, with numbers similar to Johnson numbers (and TD’s all around).
The Chargers Defense had its moments to shine as well. Pass Rusher Melvin Ingram did very well as San Diego top outside pass rusher. Manti Te’o and Donald Butler did very average on the inside, but what surprised everyone was ROOKIE, North Dakota State, 5th Round Outside Linebacker Kyle Emanuel. Emanuel had a sack, interception, two tackles for a loss and a QB pressure that led to a Matthew Stafford interception. Emanuel looks like a Clay Matthews clone (minus the hair and pedigree).
The Chargers Defensive line didn’t make too much of an impact of the game, but they are usually the unsung heroes of a 3-4 D. Defensive leader Liuget showed up on many plays.
San Diego’s Secondary was either the best of the best (or the forgotten legends). Super Charger Eric Weddle had one mistake (that anyone would have made) with a TD allowance. Weddle’s final play of the game was the icing on the cake. Jason Verett, Brandon Flowers and Patrick Robinson all shinned, shutting down dynamic tandem Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate to 61 total yards (on 6 total receptions) was an A++ (which was EPIC)!
The biggest let down of the week: Jacoby Jones return ability was void and bad
Notables: rookie kicker Josh Lambo missed a 35 yard Extra Point, and can have his ups and down (but can crush the ball on kickoffs)
Overall: Great game and Philip Rivers (with Allen and Woodhead) are again San Diegos premier players, just like in 2013. Melvin Ingram might turn into the next big NFL pass rusher.
|2015 NFL MOCK DRAFT|
|1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State||Winston has maturity issues, but he is young which is fine. He is done with the freshman antics and he is worthy of a #1 overall selection. Winston can lead a team to a championship and has leader qualities. If Jameis can continue to grow, and stay out of trouble, he will have a very long career in the NFL (throwing to a dangerous group of Tampa receivers).|
|2||Tennessee Titans||Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon||The Titans could go defense here (Williams), but Mariota is a premium QB prospect and fits the new-age of flex NFL QB, and can be an All Pro within a couple of years. Mariota should be be better than Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Kaepernick.|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Leonard Williams, DT, USC||Williams is the best defender in this years class, and could potentially go #1 overall. Williams can line up at DT and DE in HC Gus Bradley’s system and will flourish.|
|4||Oakland Raiders||Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama||Cooper is the complete receiver. He can catch everything, run every route, has great footwork and can run away with it. Cooper is and has has always been the top WR in this draft.|
|5||Washington Redskins||Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida||Mega Motor Speed Pass Rusher. You can’t teach speed or heart, Fowler has both (with pure talent). A great compliment to Kerrigan (bye bye Orakpo)|
|6||New York Jets||Vic Beasley, OLB/DE, Clemson||Beasley will can fit very well in the OLB rotation in Chicago, and can bring some much needed pressure on opposing QB’s. Vic isn’t ready to be an every down OLB yet, but can come in on passing downs immediately (until he can put on some weight and help with run support). He’s a specialty pass rusher at this point…|
|7||Chicago Bears||Kevin White, WR, West Virginia||The Bears are shocked that White falls to the 7th pick. Looking for defense, Chicago can’t pass on such a talented playmaker and arguably the best WR in this draft. (thinking of a faster Larry Fitzgerald)|
|8||Atlanta Falcons||Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa||Scherff has the potential to be a Pro Bowl guard, or a very good right tackle. Maybe, just maybe, Scherff can be a good left tackle, which is what you’re hoping for (with the first OL taken in a draft). ATL is looking for pass rushers, but with problems with S.Ray and R.Gregory, it’s safer to get the best OL prospect in the draft to protect Matt Ryan. Start him at RT day one.|
|9||New York Giants||Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford||Protecting Eli is a primary NEED for the Giants and Peat is a very SAFE pick. Instant left tackle starter.|
|10||St. Louis Rams||DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville||St. Louis has been looking for a WR1 for many years, and Parker fits that projection. With a new QB in town, Foles will be given a good opportunity to succeed as the long term future for St. Louis (or Los Angeles)|
|11||Minnesota Vikings||Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State||The best CB prospect with the 11th pick? WOW! Minnesota is lucky to find Waynes this late…|
|12||Cleveland Browns||Danny Shelton, DT, WA||Cleveland’s rush defense is terrible and their biggest need is DL. Shelton can play anywhere in a 3-4 D line, which is extremely valuable. However, Shelton maybe only a 2 down run stuffer, which may make him slide a bit in this draft.|
|13||New Orleans Saints||Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky||Jimmy Graham (and Stills) are gone, but Brees should be able to adapt with what the Saints currently has on offense. Dupree is a freekish athlete and can start day one at OLB.|
|14||Miami Dolphins||Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia||The Dolphins need to find some play-makers at WR, but with the new arrivals Stills and Jennings, they can hold off for now. Finding a ball hawk CB is a need too. However, this is a team built with the offence in mind, but this offence has never had a legitimate 3 Down RB.|
|15||San Francisco 49ers||Malcom Brown, DT, Texas||The 49ers want to draft the Best Player Available, regardless of team-need (which may lead to OLB Randy Gregory). CB and WR are probably the most glaring need, but Brown is extremely talented and can fill Justin Smith’s DE spot now.|
|16||Houston Texans||Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida||Not only does Houston need a WR, they need several WR. Losing Andre Johnson will not be an easy replacement, but Perriman has great size/speed. Savvy pick!|
|17||San Diego Chargers||Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin||San Diego’s need at RB isn’t that pressing as the media precieves, but San Diego needs to surround Rivers with some 1st round offensvie talent. This pick is specifically designed to keep Rivers happy (in SD) and keep safeties closer to the line of scrimmage. Gordon’s rushing presence will open passing lanes up in the secondary. Melvin is a home run threat, a high character guy and (potential) super star. An extremely explosive and dynamic runner / playmaker.|
|18||Kansas City Chiefs||Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami||The Chiefs were hoping for a top 4 WR at this position, but it didn’t happen. Flowers stock has been rising quickly and he’s a massive RT instant upgrade starter.|
|19||Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo Bills)||Jaelen Strong WR Arizona St.||The Browns got their beef on the DL earlier (Shelton), now they need a red-zone WR. Strong isn’t flashy, but he get the job done. Is tape is mediocre, but he did light it up with a 4.4 forty at the combine (and is a big body WR). With some time and development, he could be a very good WR1. He’s a better prospect than Josh Gordon was…|
|20||Philadelphia Eagles||Marcus Peters CB Washington||Assuming Philly doesn’t go QB here, Peters is a shut down CB, with ideal size, speed with ball skills. He’s a wild card though as he might have an odd temperament (or ego), but Chip see’s the STAR in Peters. If Chip gets Peters to reach his potential, he might be the best DB in this draft. (UCLA’s QB Brett Hundley might be a sleeper pick here, as Hundley is just as talented as coveted Mariota).|
|21||Cincinnati Bengals||D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida||Cincy doesn’t have a lot of “needs” but getting younger on the OL is a very safe route. Humphries can start at Left Tackle immediately, shifting the OL around. Moving Andrew Whitworth inside will upgrade the whole OL.|
|22||Pittsburgh Steelers||Byron Jones, CB, Uconn||The “Winner of the Combine” is Jones. His freakish abilities have him climbing up the boards quickly. With the ability of playing safety and CB, this makes Jones even more valuable.|
|23||Detroit Lions||T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh||With Fairly and Suh gone, Detroit needs new big bodies on the D-Line. But a massive O lineman to project franchise QB Stafford is the safer pick. Some very good DT prospects will be available in the 2nd round.|
|24||Arizona Cardinals||Arik Armstead DE Oregon||CB, RB and OLB might be bigger priorities with this pick, but the BPA is Armstead. Gurly (or Gordon) might be the pick here, but this draft his loaded with RB’s and HC Arians can wait to find a 2 down back.|
|25||Carolina Panthers||Landon Collins, SS, Alabama||Panthers need a OT’s, badly but with Martin and Oher brought in, they can wait. Collins can thump and can fill a positional NEED now. Great pick!|
|26||Baltimore Ravens||Nelson Agholor, WR, USC||If you are paying your QB mega bucks, you better find him someone to throw the ball to. The Ravens will be drafting at least 2 WR this year. Agholor is a quality slot WR prospect and can take over returning kickoffs too (replacing Jacoby Jones)|
|27||Dallas Cowboys||Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska||The fall of Gregory is Dallas’ jackpot. Gregory failed a drug test at the combine (pot), weighed in underweight (blamed on illness) so some GM’s might want to avoid Mr. Excuses (not Jerrah). Gregory is BPA and just too good to pass up.|
|28||Denver Broncos||Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State||Broncos lost LG Franklin, and they need to replace him for one last SB run for Manning. Erving can play left guard now, but may project as a center later in his career.|
|29||Indianapolis Colts||Shane Ray, DE, Missouri||OL might be a safe pick here and there are some good ones available. Luck does take some big hits, and protecting Luck is a priority. A bigger need is pass rusher and a talented OLB/DE is a need need need. Bjorn Werner just has not turned into a compliment to aging Robert Mathis. Ray is a top 10 prospect and a great pass rusher, but an untimely drug possession snafu causes him to slide (right into Indy’s lap).|
|30||Green Bay Packers||Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest||Green Bay should draft more OL protection, but the offense is loaded. The D Line needs attention too, but they have some stop-gaps this year. The Packers need DB’s and Johnson is a quick zone CB that the Packers are hungry for. ILB is a possibility too…|
|31||New Orleans Saints (via Seattle)||Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma||DGB is a good kid, that made a few weird decisions. He’s a first round talent with AJ Green attributes.|
|32||New England Patriots||Eric Rowe CB Utah||Big Body CB and New England lost both starting CB’s this offseason. Rowe is a very good CB and should excel in NE’s system.|
|2.01 (33)||Tennessee Titans||Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami|
|2.02 (34)||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Jake Fisher OT Oregon|
|2.03 (35)||Oakland Raiders||Eddie Goldman DT Florida St.|
|2.04 (36)||Jacksonville Jaguars||Devin Smith WR OSU|
|2.05 (37)||New York Jets||Cedric Ogbuehi OT Texas A&M|
|2.06 (38)||Washington Redskins||Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia|
|2.07 (39)||Chicago Bears||Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA|
|2.08 (40)||New York Giants||Damarious Randall, FS, Arizona State|
|2.09 (41)||St. Louis Rams||Donovan Smith OT, Penn State|
|2.10 (42)||Atlanta Falcons||Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA|
|2.11 (43)||Cleveland Browns||Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota|
|2.12 (44)||New Orleans Saints||Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA|
|2.13 (45)||Minnesota Vikings||Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke|
|2.14 (46)||San Francisco 49ers||Jalen Collins CB LSU|
|2.15 (47)||Miami Dolphins||Denzel Perryman ILB Miami|
|2.16 (48)||San Diego Chargers||Jordan Phillips DT Oklahoma|
|2.17 (49)||Kansas City Chiefs||Stephone Anthony ILB Clemson|
|2.18 (50)||Buffalo Bills||Shaq Thompson OLB Washington|
4/29/2015 – James Fedewa
Schooner Exact Brewing Co
Bitter Beer Face
$5.89 per pint
Clear and golden, but without a head. Crisp and sharp, but no bubbles, with a very hight acute carbonation. Epic piney hoppy smell with imperial IPA flavor. Uniqueness to this is the big hop flavor, but light tone. It’s an assassin with the big ABV.
B+… Would gotten an A if a pint didn’t cost so much. They assume if beer has a high ABV, it costs twice as much (at 4pm). Leave it to Schooner Exact to misprice their on-site beer. Great brewery and so nice, with an IPA friendly tap list
They keep 4 IPA’s on tap.
4/1/2015 by James Fedewa
The San Diego Chargers have holes all over their roster and this years draft can be used to fill some very important team needs. The Chargers draft plan a little different this year because there are decent and quality starters at every starting position (vs. the last two years). The starting roster looks good on paper, granting GM Tom Telesco to draft Best Player Available (BPA) prospects for depth (not immediate starters). The “holes” are San Diego’s depth…
Based on departed free agents (plus newly signed free agents) the Chargers have a few specific positional team needs:
- Running Back (with Ryan Mathews departure, they could use a stater late in the draft)
- Outside Linebacker (with Dwight Freeny and Jarret Johnson departures)
- Safety (with Gilchrist’s departure)
- Defensive Line Rotational Players
- Offensive Line Depth
- Inside Linebacker
Players to watch in the first round:
- Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska – Once a top ten prospect, just tested positive for marijuana and came to the combine 20 lbs. lighter than ideal. A very good player prospect, but may slide to the mid first round.
- Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa – arguably the best offensive line prospect in this years draft, but projects to be a guard in the NFL (and similar guard prospects can be found later in the draft).
- Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky – a very good pass rushing OLB. He has speed, quick twitch, power and plays well in space. The OLB draft class is loaded and Dupree is rated 5th at his position, which can cause him to slide a little. Dupree has all the physical tools, but needs a couple more pass rush moves and needs good coaching. He’s a diamond in the rough…
- DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville – There are quality wide receivers projected everywhere in this draft. As many as 3 can go in the top ten and 6 taken in the first round alone. With this much depth at the position, teams could delay drafting highly talented receivers.
- Danny Shelton, DT, Washington – How can a man this big play this fast? Projected to be a nose tackle, but Shelton can play all three defensive line positions in a 3-4 defense (which makes him very versatile).
- La’el Collins, OT, LSU – Played left tackle in college, but projects at G or RT (and those positions can slide). Collins has plenty of talent and is a gifted althelete for a man his size. A very good “team” guy and leader.
- Landon Collins, Safety, Alabama – Collins can start day one and is a team need position heading into the draft. As talented as Collins is, he might not fit San Diego’s defensive scheme, but he would be a major upgrade at the position regardless of scheme. He a big hitter, which good size and brings nastiness, a much desired need in San Diego’s secondary (since Weddle, Varrett and Flowers are lighter players).
Players to watch in in round two:
- Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State – Run stuffing DT, could slide into the 2nd round
- Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin – More speed than power, homerun threat
- Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF – world class speed and good size (probably goes in the 1st round, but might slide in a deep WR class)
- D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida – Talented Left Tackle prospect that not a lot of people talk about. Better than projected (but could be pick in the 1st round)
- Jordon Phillips, DT, Oklahoma – mammoth nose tackle built like a truck
- Devin Smith, WR, OSU – high speed slot receiver
- Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota – all around pure tight end that can catch and block (imagine what the running game would look like with a true TE)
Players to watch in round three:
- Carl Davis, DT, Iowa – 3-4 DE with ideal body type for the position
- Cody Prewitt, S, Ole’ Miss – a free safety in a big strong safety’s body. A thumper with good range. Has the tools, but still a work in progress
- Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State – power runner with big play ability
- Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami – small and fast slot receiver
- Quinten Rollins, CB/S, Miami (Ohio) exbasketballer turned physical hard hitting CB. Might project to safety
- Reese Dismukes, C, Auburn – savvy well-rounded center.
- David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa – a soft handed, do-it-all, BIG back with knack for the big play.
Players to watch in round four:
- Marcus Hardison, DT, Arizona State
- Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
- Daryl Williams, OT, Oklahoma
- Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford
- Jeff Heuerman, TE, OSU
- Adrian Amos, S, Penn State
- Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska
Players to watch in Round five:
- Jordon Hicks, ILB, Texas
- Max Valles, OLB, Virginia
- Craig Mager, CB, Texas State
- Tyeler Davison, DT, Fresno State
- Clayton Geathers, S, UCF
Players to watch in Round Six:
- Hayes Pullard, ILB, USC
- Laurence Gibson, OT, Virginia Tech
- Ibraheim Campbell, S, Northwestern
- Shaquille Mason, C, Georgia Tech
- Xzavier Dickson, OLB, Alabama
**Predicted Chargers Mock Draft (1.0):
- Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky (gets into the rotation quickly)
- Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (Telesco wants a RB in the 3rd or 4th round, but Gordon is BPA at this point)
- Carl Davis, DT, Iowa (depth player, but can develop into a very good player)
- Adrian Amos, S, Penn State (stock is climbing from recent pro day)
- Jordon Hicks, ILB, Texas (depth and special team guy)
- Laurence Gibson, OT, Virginia Tech (Coach Joe-D’s new toy to develop into a pro LT – new swing tackle)
By James Fedewa – 3/6/2015 (@JAMFED)
Free agency is starting to launch and NFL teams are scrambling to resign their own players before they officially become Free Agents. Rumors and front-runner gossip are beginning to swirl too, as in “where will Ndamukong Suh go” and “who’s going to get Vince Wilfork…”
2/27/2015 – by James Fedewa (@jamfed)
By James Fedewa – 2/19/2015
The Chargers and Raiders announced a possible joint-venture today, mutually perusing a $1.7 billion stadium option in Carson, California. A “super” stadium / mega-complex that both teams could call their home. Initial football fan thoughts have been very negative, regarding two divisional rivals, that share a mutual hate for each other, splitting the same home field. But moving one of those two teams to the NFC West makes this move a very interesting scenario and discussion, which could be a very smart business move for the Raiders, Chargers and the NFL.
If you are a Chargers fan, your biggest rival are the Raiders. Same applies with the Broncos and the Chiefs, who call the Raiders their largest Rival. 75% of the AFC West hate the Raiders the most, which is outstanding, considering the Raiders that have been the worst team in the NFL over the last ten years. Yet the Raiders are still the largest rival and most hated team in the AFC West.
In contrast, the mere words “San Diego” generally makes people smile. The beach, the warm weather, the lifestyle, the fun… it’s a vacation city. If the Chargers dropped their team name and just went with their city name, the team would still have a large fan base. Would you be a fan of The San Diego’s? YES! Granted, a city does not necessary make a team (but it could in San Diego). Other than the actual team, what creates and generates an overall team? THE FANS. Chargers fans are generally a very nice bunch, which makes it easy, fun (and some what mild) to root for the Chargers.
So which team would join the NFC West? The Raiders or The Chargers?
Could the Raiders sell out a stadium in Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle or St. Louis? Probably (San Francisco for sure because of the Bay Area Oakland fans, but one of those city will be moved to the AFC West).
Could the Chargers sell out a stadium in Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle or St. Louis? This is debatable, but probable. San Diego fans could travel to Phoenix and San Francisco fairly easy, and Seattle is an old rival from when they were in the AFC West. If any teams FANS would be more accepting of a team moving cities, it will be a mild (and loyal) Chargers fan. Losing the Raiders, Chiefs and Broncos rivalry would be devastating for those Charges fans though, but Chargers fans might like a mix up (like Seattle did not too long ago)…
To keep the most rivalries in the AFC West, the Raiders would be the logical team to stay in the AFC West, but which team leave the NFC West? St. Louis Rams? And that’s another debatable geographical oddity for the NFL. Best case scenario for the real fans and the NFL to leave everything alone and move the St. Louis Rams to Carson instead. (sorry St. Louis fans, L.A. is the real home for the Rams)