San Diego Chargers
Based in San Diego, California, the San Diego Chargers are an American Football team. They currently play in the West Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League.
In the Beginning
The San Diego Chargers started life as the Los Angeles Chargers on the inception of the American Football League in 1959. Under the direction of general manager, Frank Leahy, and head coach, Sid Gillman, the LA Chargers got off to a good start the following year when they beat the New York Titans 27-7 in their inaugural preseason game. The Chargers went on to dominate the Western league and later that year they beat Denver 41-33 in a home final to win the Western Division title.
In 1961, Chargers owner Barron Hilton was given permission to move the team from Los Angeles to San Diego. Despite the move the Chargers continued to perform well in the league, clinching the Western title for the second year running when they beat Dallas 24-14.
The team were promoted to the American Football League Championships but were ultimately defeated by Houston 10-3 in front of a 29,000 strong crowd at Balboa Stadium.
January 1962 saw eleven Chargers play in the first All-Star AFL game at Balboa stadium which resulted in the All-Star Western team beating the Eastern team 47-27. The year wasn’t such a success for the Chargers, however, with 23 of their player hit by injury during the season, a situation which saw them win only four of their fourteen games.
The following season the Chargers were back on form, winning the Western title for the third time in four years. That same year Chargers player Earl Faison was named an outstanding defensive player in the second All-Star game between the East and West divisions.
The League Title
In 1964, after winning the Western title a month before, the Chargers were promoted to the AFL final where they beat Boston 51-10, earning them their first and (as it turned out) only AFL championship before the AFL merged with the National Football League.
The following season the Chargers won their fourth division championship but they failed to defend the ultimate title against the Buffalo Bills after star fullback Keith Lincoln was sidelined with a fractured rib partway through the game.
1965 saw the Chargers win their last division title for over a decade when they beat Houston 37-26, the same year that the go-ahead was given for a multimillion pound stadium to be built in San Diego.
That season also saw Chargers players Paul Lowe and Lance Alworth being voted the top two AFL players of the year but despite the team’s merits they were defeated once again in the AFL final by the Buffalo Bills.
Decline and the Immaculate Deception
In 1966 Barron Hilton sold the Chargers to a group overseen by Eugene Klein and Sam Schulman and for the Chargers the change of ownership marked the end of a period of dominance in the Western division.
Although the Chargers had moments of glory over the next few years, namely when they beat defending Superbowl Champions the New York Jets in front of a sell-out crowd in 1969, the late sixties saw the Chargers lose more games than they won.
The fate of the Chargers went from bad to worse during the seventies when many of the star players from the sixties were traded or retired. Between 1970 and 1978 the team didn’t do better than third place in the division championships, reaching an all-time low in 1975 when they had an eleven game losing streak, broken on their twelfth game when they beat Kansas City 28-20.
In 1978 the Chargers played in their most controversial game to date, known by fans as ‘the Immaculate Deception.’ The Chargers met the Oakland Raiders in a home game at the Jack Murphy Stadium, a game which was characterised by intentional fumbling of the ball by Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler. Despite outrage by Chargers fans, the Raiders got away with illegal passing throughout the game which allowed them to beat the Chargers 21-20.
A Turning Point
1979 was a turning point for the Chargers when general manager John Sanders was named the NFL executive of the year. Later that season star quarterback Dan Fouts equalled the NFL record when he played his fourth consecutive 300-yard passing game.
After winning the majority of their games that year, the Chargers defeated Denver 17-7 to win their first divisional title since 1965. The following two years the Chargers kept hold of the AFC division championship but despite reaching the NFC playoffs both years the Super Bowl remained an unfulfilled dream for the team.
Between 1983 and 1991 the division title stayed out of the Chargers grip. In 1992, however, their performance was better than it had been for almost ten years. After winning eleven out of twelve of their last games in the season they were crowned the American Football Conference division champions.
Following their Conference success the Chargers were promoted to the NFC playoffs where, in the first round, they beat the Kansas City Chiefs 17-0 but were eliminated in the second round by the Miami Dolphins.
The Super Bowl at last
After winning the AFC Western Division in 1994 and triumphing in the NFC playoffs the Chargers advanced to the Super Bowl in 1995, fulfilling a long awaited dream. The Chargers lost Super Bowl XXIX 49-26 to the San Francisco 49ers but returned home to find a crowd of 100,000 fans supporting them in a post-Super Bowl parade.
Following their moment of Super Bowl glory the Chargers had a championship drought for ten years before they won the division title once again in 2004. In October that same year, Drew Brees set a new NFC record when he completed 22 of 25 for 281 yards with five touchdowns in a 42-14 win over the Raiders.
Later that year the team beat Cleveland 21-0 in the division final with wind-chill temperatures of -10 degrees Centigrade, clinching the Chargers their eleventh western title since their formation.
In 2005 linebacker Shawne Merriman was named NFL Rookie of the Year but despite having a team made up of a number of strong players, the Chargers lost the division final 9-7 against the Broncos. In the two years following however, they were triumphant in the Western Division and hopes are high for a second Super Bowl appearance in the not too distant future.
On moving from LA to San Diego in 1961, the Chargers had no major stadium at which to play their home games. Keen to do something about this state of affairs, sports journalist Jack Murphy started a city-wide campaign to build a new stadium.
His pleas were successful and $27.75 million was pledged by officials for the development of a 53,000 seat stadium, which hosted the first Charger’s home game in 1967. In 1980 Jack Murphy died and on his death Chargers fans voted to rename the stadium in his honour.
Four years later expansions were made to the San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium with a following 10,500 seats added to the building. In 1997 the stadium name was changed once again when a local telecommunications company QUALCOMM, agreed to pay $18 million to complete the expansion project. The stadium was named after the company who have naming rights until 2017.
American Football League Championships: 1964
American Football Conference Championships: 1994
AFL West Division: 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965
AFC West Division: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1992, 1994, 2004, 2006, 2007
Season tickets or tickets for individual games can be purchased via the ticket office (619 280 2121) at the following prices:
Field, Plaza, Loge and Press Level
- Individual game: $98
- Season ticket: $900
- Individual game: $79
- Season ticket: $730
- Individual game: $74
- Season ticket: $630
- Individual game: $54
- Season ticket: $480
- Individual game: $54
- Season ticket: $480
Wheelchair and Companion
- Individual game: $74, $54
- Season ticket: $630, $480
The Qualcomm stadium is easily accessed by road and is well signposted from freeway 805, 163, 15 and 8. The stadium is served by a good public bus service but there is also a shuttle bus which travels to and from the stadium when home games are on, leaving from Kearney Messa Traffic Court, Governor Drive, 1-805 Park and Ride, Spring St. Trolley Station, Mira Messa Park and Ride and Chula Vista High School.
For information about games or for general enquiries about the Chargers contact:
San Diego Chargers
P.O. Box 609609
Ticket Office (stadium):
San Diego Chargers Ticket Office
9449 Friars Road
Telephone: (858) 874 4500
Details of forthcoming matches and ticket information is also available on the official NFL Chargers website.