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'You are bidding on an early-1980s San Diego Chargers Huddles pin. Features the throwback Chargers mascot in a rare pin. Pin measures approximately 1.5 inches tall and condition is very good, no scratches or marks."

This is eBay item 5136824103, and with a starting bid of $4.99 it's a purchase. Next is item 5139103657, "San Diego Chargers Sign. Neon Bar Light Sign...a great decor item for home, bar, restaurant, commercial bar, game room, store or shop etc." I'll require that as well. And I might as well bid on "San Diego Chargers Official Metal License Plate."

Okay. Now dash over to fansedge.com and reserve a San Diego Chargers Trailer Hitch Cover ($39.99), San Diego Chargers Car Magnets ($26.99). "Two 12-inch magnets for your car or truck, desks, refrigerator, lockers or anywhere you can think of!" For my tailgate needs there is a handsome San Diego Chargers cooler ($48), pair of San Diego Chargers folding chairs ($39.99), San Diego Chargers flag ($29.99), San Diego Chargers Deluxe Barbeque Set ($27.99), and for a special treat, four San Diego Chargers Individual Pillowcases ($79.96) to assure a good night's rest after game-day festivities.

That's all for today, but I'll be back tomorrow. Right now I must rush over to a website whose name I will not reveal, for obvious reasons, and place a bid on the centerpiece of my new lifestyle, "...the largest circus bandwagon ever built, and it was in every Barnum & Bailey street parade from 1902 to 1918."

Indeed, I shall possess my own San Diego Chargers bandwagon. I am prepared to spend whatever it takes.

Regulars may recall the unfortunate Sporting Box column, written on the eve of NFL Week 3, entitled, "The Annual Chargers Suck Column," where, employing understatement as a literary technique, I wrote the following sentences.

"Let them [the Chargers] become a ward of Los Angeles. San Diego is regarded, across the board, as the worst franchise in the NFL and in a league with Arizona, Detroit, Cincinnati, and New Orleans as dues-paying members. That's a position you have to work for.

"The Chargers suck. I don't see the end to it until the last stupid Spanos moves into that big hog pen in the sky.

"With Spanos, you could give him a new stadium, you could give him nuclear weapons, and he would still field a team that has no clue, because he has no clue. The Spanos brain trust, since 1997, has hired the following men as head coach; Kevin Gilbride, June Jones, Mike Riley, and Marty Schottenheimer. Two games into the eighth season, the Chargers record is 36 wins and 78 losses.

"How does 38 and 90 sound?"

So, inevitably, it was then -- or rather, two weeks later -- that our mighty Bolts, under the inspired leadership of industry titan and owner Alex Spanos, plus his sharp-as-a-whip son, Dean (president and CEO), aided by the other sharp-as-a-whip spawn Michael (executive vice president), not forgetting NFL Coach-of-the-Year-to-Be Marty Schottenheimer and his staff of veteran subcommanders hoisted the heretofore disrespected Chargers team on their collective shoulders and carried it down the gridiron onto victory after victory after victory. In fact, they've nearly run the table. As a result, going into their bye week, the San Diego Chargers are tied for first place in the AFC West with a record of six wins against three losses.

With a soft schedule from here to the end of the regular season, due to, ahem, last year's already forgotten 4-12 record, things are looking quite doable in Chargersland. Playoffs, anyone? You bet. Other than New England, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, San Diego is as good or better than any team in the NFL.

Suddenly it's a Brees. Or, at least, the husk of a Brees; his mind and body may well be occupied by an alien force. Nonetheless, Brees is the name on everybody's lips. He was drafted by the Chargers in 2001 and played one game that season. In 2002, he threw 17 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. In 2003, it was 11 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.

That was our lad, another thrown-away San Diego draft pick, another rookie quarterback who didn't live up to expectations, a man whose sole achievement since he's been in San Diego was keeping Doug Flutie employed. Now, Brees is a legitimate league MVP contender. His passing ratings are the NFL's third best: he has (impossible to believe) thrown 18 touchdowns against three interceptions.

Suddenly it's Schottenheimer -- who I swear looks as if he's trying to win rather than struggling to get a three-point lead and then suffocating the life out of the game by calling one running play after another. This year, I have personally seen the Chargers throw the football in the air and downfield while they had a lead.

Alien abduction or not, they're a damn good team. And they're getting better.

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