What does post-Chargers sports coverage look like? – The San … – The San Diego Union-Tribune
Are the Chargers dead to you? Or does your fandom have a faint heartbeat?
Did the change of geography and logo (and then another logo and then another logo and then a return to the initial logo) do nothing to dampen your devotion?
Will you cheer the Bolts as vociferously as ever even though they bolted? Or are you and the Chargers maybe just on a break?
Many are grappling with these questions less than three weeks after the team left a hole in San Diego’s heart and a void in its sporting conscience.
Tell us about it.
No, really. Tell us about it.
What do we do now? Isn’t that the question we’re all asking?
The Chargers so ruled our coverage and conversation that it sometimes left little room for anything else.
That was certainly often true for me.
I expressed in my first column, after leaving the Chargers beat five years ago, excitement about being free to write about all sorts of things in addition to what I knew would be a heavy focus on the Chargers. And I have written about many other sports since then, but nowhere near what I hoped. That’s because you demanded more and more Chargers coverage. That’s how it’s been here.
As my boss, sports editor Jay Posner, said this week, “The Chargers have dominated the sports scene, and our mission is to cover the sports scene. It’s only been natural we cover the Chargers more than anything else.”
Now, I did better the past five years fulfilling my desire to write about topics besides the Chargers than I will reaching another goal I expressed in that debut column – that I would attend every game of Philip Rivers’ career.
That won’t happen, because the Union-Tribune won’t be devoting the voluminous resources to the Chargers that we did in the past.
They are gone. We are moving on.
Just like a lot of you, however, we aren’t certain exactly what moving on looks like.
While the 5/405 split is the gateway to hell-A, we don’t think the NFL team that lived here for more than a half-century fell off the edge of the earth.
“We are not going to stop covering the Chargers,” Posner said. “I think that would be foolish. I don’t think all our readers are going to stop being interested in the Chargers – even if it’s from a hoping-for-the-worst standpoint.”
Ah, yes. Hate watching. Spite reading.
The phenomenon contributed to St. Louisans’ interest in the Rams this past season, the team’s first in Los Angeles. The Post-Dispatch newspaper ran a column the day after games essentially detailing why it was so enjoyable to watch the Rams lose and why it was better they were gone. The paper’s readership and sports talk show listeners took great delight in every Rams misstep along the way to a 5-11 season.
We can only be so lucky.
Yet we must understand that people process loss in many different ways.
No doubt, many are reading this now wondering why there is any uncertainty about how to proceed.
I’ve received hundreds of tweets and e-mails demanding/begging that the U-T not write a single word about the Chargers. Many of those missives declare that all of San Diego obviously feels the same – which is strange since many others have communicated they will continue to follow the team. Others say they are conflicted.
Truth is, no one can be certain how they will feel come September, when games begin. Almost assuredly, some who burned jerseys a couple weeks ago will feel the pangs and end up following the Bolts again. Maybe that devotion will be tempered. Maybe it will be the same.
Occasionally, perhaps, you will want to catch up with what Philip Rivers or Melvin Gordon or Joey Bosa is doing, for old time’s sake. Maybe you’ll just want to read about losses. Maybe if they win, you won’t be able to resist taking a seat back on the bandwagon.“They are still the closest team to us in the country’s biggest sport and they have a 56 year-history that not everyone is going to forget,” Posner said. “I certainly get some people don’t want to read another word about them, but my experience tells us that some do. If I’m wrong, we’ll make changes.”
It isn’t very often Jay isn’t spot on with his analysis of anything related to sports or media. It is even rarer he strings together the words, “I’m” and “wrong.” So even though he led with the qualified “if,” his uncertainty regarding how we will handle the Chargers leaving is almost as momentous as the team leaving.
But that is the uncharted water into which we all wade.
It is with your input – and, over time, analysis of your reading habits – that we will discover how exactly to chronicle the team we used to follow religiously. The question we will seek to discover, with your help, is the extent of that coverage.
“We need to find the sweet spot in terms of how much interest there is,” Posner said.
The NFL, without a shred of doubt, will at least for a time continue to be king. Television ratings were down slightly here (as they were across the country) for last week’s blowout conference championship games. But even as so many in San Diego declared their disdain for what the Chargers and the league had done, some 30 percent of the people in our county watched at least a portion of the AFC and NFC title games.
We will likely tell stories about issues and people around the NFL to cater to fans of all teams and of the NFL in general. Maybe that means more on player safety or more on fantasy football or more human interest features or more of all those.And we will undoubtedly turn over some new rocks.
One thing that softened St. Louis’ landing – not to discount the pain of what is now a kindred fan base – is that the Cardinals are good and The Gateway City is a proud baseball town. Maybe the Padres can do something about establishing San Diego as more of one. Really, it’s sort of their duty. We are the largest city in America with just one franchise among the four major sports leagues.San Diego State basketball needs to get back to winning on a national level and SDSU football needs to keep ascending. (On that topic, Posner said, “I think we had good Aztecs coverage, but I’m sure that will increase some.”)