Jeff Smith noon, March 8
T.J. Simers, sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, says the Chargers will announce shortly after Feb. 1, 2012 that they will start the 2012 season in L.A., probably playing in the Coliseum. The eventual aim is to play at a downtown stadium that is being talked about in L.A. "Talk to anyone who has spent time with Chargers owner Dean Spanos -- and Spanos already has a pretty good idea of the endgame," writes Simers in a column dated Dec. 6 at 10 p.m. "Ordinarily, that's a loss in the playoffs, but now it's all about moving to L.A." The Chargers will announce soon that they will not be exercising their Feb. 1-May 1 escape clause from Qualcomm Stadium next year "because in reality they have nowhere to go." San Diego's last shot to keep the Chargers would be a 2012 ballot measure, but it's not likely to materialize for lack of strong political backing, and the team's reluctance to throw money at a losing cause. "San Diego has never really embraced the Spanos family, more affectionately known in this space [Simers's column] as the Spanos Goofs. The Chargers have failed to sell out home games, leading to local TV blackouts, and management more often than not comes across as a dictatorship exhibiting poor judgment than as a community asset." (Simers doesn't mention that the City of San Diego is broke.)
One thing is guaranteed: if the Chargers stay in San Diego, they will enjoy a much friendlier (often fawning) local press. Thanks to Matt Potter for sending along Simers's column.