Ryan Chartrand

It is very seldom that an article I’ve read in the Mustang Daily irks me to the point that I feel I need to write a rebuttal.

Most of the time I shrug it off as either na’ve or poor writing not justifying a response.

But not this time.

After reading in Jan. 10’s Mustang Daily, “Stay Classy, San Diego,” written by John Middlekauff, I was sincerely pissed off that someone would so brazenly and at the same time so vengefully attack my favorite National Football League team, the San Diego Chargers.

And after arriving home from class and seeing that so many of my friends and fellow Chargers fans felt the same way, I felt that no other course of action would be more appropriate than to refute most (if not all) of the points made in the editorial, blow-for-blow.

Ironically, after I finished reading the column, the first thought that entered my head was, ‘This guy must be a 49ers fan.’I’m not going to waste space attacking the 49ers here, because I hate to kick a team when it’s down.

But to suggest that the Chargers “barely squeaked by” the “mediocre-at-best” Tennessee Titans is ludicrous.

Scoring 17 unanswered points in the second half is hardly squeaking by a team with the league’s fifth-best rush defense, perhaps the perfect kryptonite to a run-oriented offense such as that of the Chargers.

It’s not like we’re celebrating five Super Bowl wins; it’s that we’re celebrating a 14-year drought of a win in the playoffs, something that everyone except for – apparently – Middlekauff believes is worthy of celebration.

Our defenders “lights-out” dance every time they get a sack (let me emphasize: sack) because they’re young and they play with energy.

And it’s not like our defense is the only one that has players who celebrate like this. Ray Lewis pounds his chest incessantly, Roosevelt Colvin gives a kick whenever he gets a sack, the Buccaneers defense does the row, and so on and so forth.

The bottom line is the NFL is a league that prides itself on the uniqueness of its celebrations (see: “Ocho Cinco”) – apparently Middlekauff has never seen one of the NFL’s commercials on NFL Network.

Admittedly, Philip Rivers does run his mouth, but at least he’s a quarterback whose team isn’t out to “kill” the opposing team every week, as another certain prominent quarterback said on behalf of his team that arguably has no class, and is the bane of every NFL fan’s existence except for the fans of that particular team – one that I shouldn’t need to mention.

But, as Middlekauff called them, his two “bigger, older brothers,” LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates – quite possibly the two classiest guys in the entire NFL – were noticeably absent in the Bolts’ win over the Colts last week.

And what happened? Rivers did his job, manned up and threw for three touchdowns and more than 275 yards before he went down in the third quarter.

The bottom line is that when SD’s rushing attack is either ineffective or entirely absent, Rivers has stepped up and made the plays he’s needed to make. In short, he’s been able to back up his rhetoric with reality.

Before I finish, I’d just like to relish the fact that the Chargers went into a very hostile environment, maybe the toughest place to win in the NFL, and managed to shut down the reigning Super Bowl champions.

They did it with a combination of lights-out defensive pressure on the quarterback, shut-down coverage by the corners and astute offensive management by both the backup running backs (and eventually backup quarterback) and the head coach.

Everyone in the world gave that game to the Colts, just as everyone in the world is giving this week’s game to the Patriots, which, I will concede, is going to take a combination of a whole lot of things for San Diego to win.The bottom line is that my Chargers are in the AFC Championship, and that in and of itself is a reason to be proud.

Lastly, as far as the Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner comparisons go, I will say only this: Stop being bitter that we stole your offensive coordinator.

Stay classy, San Diego!

Aaron Gaudette is a journalism senior and a Mustang Daily reporter.

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