Chargers take the rare step of fighting back against negativity… and I like it

Chargers QB Philip Rivers was up in arms Monday night, and he wasn’t alone (Associated Press)

In this day and age in the world, everyone has a voice. It used to be that all you needed was a keyboard, but now all you really need is a phone. We all have those. Have an opinion? Make it heard. And it’s changed things.

Have a player you hate? Follow them on Twitter and let them know until they block you. Or, if you’ve got a favorite team, like them on Facebook. Mid-game, if you’re upset that someone didn’t make a catch, it’s so easy just to log on and let them know they suck. One can only imagine what a player’s mentions column is like after a bad loss.

We are all so quick to judge – me, included – that there seem to be more opinions coming faster than ever. That brings me to today’s topic, one that sprung after the Chargers suffered an epic meltdown on Monday Night Football to Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Let’s just say… there were a lot of people who thought the Chargers sucked, including many of the Chargers. The media, people like me, were like lightning declaring this another Norv Turner special and making judgments on what it meant long-term.

Well, the Chargers are fighting back — with this manifesto. And I love it.

Long-time San Diego PR man Bill Johnston took the rare step of writing a plea to fans on the team’s official website. The key line, in classic 1980s fashion? “Take a chill pill.” No doubt, Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson were nodding. Anyway, it was a call to arms for those who support the Chargers, a reminder that all is not quite lost at 3-3 with 10 games left. A rallying cry.

It was a not-so-subtle reminder that the Chargers are still going to play the rest of the season, and that crazier things have happened than the Chargers staying strong and making the playoffs and winning. If any team can pull off something nuts, for better or worse, it’s them.

For the record, I don’t think the Chargers are done. Troubled, yes, but with time to fix things. If I was a fan, they’d probably drive me insane. But just like they were able to get up so quickly and decisively on the Broncos, they still have the talent to make the playoffs. Don’t they always? All the criticism they received after Monday was deserved. And yet, Johnston hit the right notes here.

Why? Because if media is going to have a voice, if fans are going to have a voice (hello, talk radio), if everyone gets to be heard – why not the voice of the team? Why shouldn’t the team stand up and talk to its fans? Why shouldn’t Johnston use his pulpit to deliver some strong messages that can’t really come from a coach or GM? Why should we be the only informed voice on the state of his team?

You know where Johnston is coming from, you know part of his goal is to keep fans in support of the team, you know he has a pro-team bias. He does cause the general fan to take a deep breath and think, regardless of where his take is based.

The best part was this: “Your team is 3-3, tied at the top of the division, and has 10 games to play.  If the Chargers are your team, get behind them and stay behind them.  We’re all at our best when we know others believe in us.”

Now, the Chargers will generate a lot of opinions. They always do. But in this case, us media peeps and the fans on the Internet and talk radio won’t be the only ones expressing them. The team has roared back to make their views heard. That leads to a more informed discourse. And, it’s also kinda cool.

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