Chargers and Aztecs: Please Stop With the Nonsense!

by on December 17, 2013 · 5 comments

in Sports

Bolts n AztecsNo, the Chargers are NOT going to the playoffs, and no, the Aztecs should NOT replace Rocky Long.

By Andy Cohen

Alright, so let’s have some fun.  A little diversion from the world of San Diego politics for a moment.

Bolts Playoff Bound?  Not a Chance!

First, let’s dispel any notion that the San Diego Chargers have any hope whatsoever at making the playoffs.  Via Twitter yesterday, the Chargers issued a poll, asking followers whether, with two games remaining, will the team make the playoffs? They then joyfully tweeted out the results of the poll (a tweet that has oddly since been deleted….but thankfully someone else was smart enough to retweet the Chargers’ tweet) showing that 69% of respondents enthusiastically replied “Yes, the Chargers will make the playoffs!”

(I don’t really know how enthusiastic they were….I totally made that part up).

The Chargers making the playoffs at this point is the longest of long shots.  I have almost as good a chance at winning the MegaMillions jackpot (although I did purchase my ticket).  In order to remain solidly in the hunt even after last Thursday’s big win against the division leading and current number one seed in the AFC playoff picture Denver Broncos in Sports Authority Stadium, the Chargers needed then 7-6 Miami to lose to New England and then 7-6 Baltimore to lose in Detroit on Monday Night Football.  With the Chargers currently at 7-7, both teams sit ahead of them in the standings for the final Wild Card playoff spot.  The bolts needed both teams to lose at least two of their final three games.

On Sunday, Miami refused to cooperate, beating the Patriots 24-20 with the help of a last second interception of Tom Brady in the end zone to seal the game.  On Monday night, the Ravens beat the Lions with a stunning 61 yard field goal as time expired to beat the Lions in Detroit.

Now, not only do the Bolts have to win their final two games against Oakland and Kansas City, but they must hope against hope that the Ravens drop their final two games against New England and Cincinnati and hope that Miami drops their final two contests against Buffalo and the New York Jets.  If either team wins either of their final two games, the Chargers’ season is officially over.

The Chargers have no one to blame but themselves.  Yes, they’ve struggled with injuries throughout the season.  But they’ve dropped some games that they absolutely should have won.  Don’t commit a roughing the passer penalty that negated a turnover, leading to a Miami Dolphins score, or, later in the same game,  don’t miss four tackles on Dolphins TE Charles Clay’s 39 yard TD reception and the outcome of that game is very likely different.    Don’t give up a score on a desperation heave into the end zone on the game’s final play in Nashville and that outcome is different.  Don’t get outscored 24-7 in the second half of the season’s opener against Houston and that outcome is likely flipped.  And worst of all, don’t flub a first and goal from inside the Washington 1 yard line in the final minute of play, sealing a victory for the hapless Redskins–or more accurately, rolling the game into overtime, where the Bolts once again fell flat (yes, I am going to use the name until such time as they change it, which isn’t going to happen in this lifetime).

Some truly baffling coaching decisions–including and especially the playcalling in the final minute against Washington, among other things–along the way certainly haven’t helped the cause, either.

The Chargers could easily be 11-3 right now.  But because of their propensity to shoot themselves in the foot—both on the part of the players and the coaching staff—they’re not.  And that’s why they’ll be watching the playoffs on television just like the rest of us.

Aztecs:  Fire Rocky?  Yer kidding, right?

The San Diego State Aztecs will complete their season this Saturday against the University of Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl from Boise, Idaho.  It will be the fourth straight bowl appearance for the Aztecs, something that has never been done before in the program’s history.

After a 9-3 regular season and a share of the MWC conference title in 2012, a lot was expected from the 2013 Aztecs.  But after a miserable 0-3 start that included a season opening loss to FCS school Eastern Illinois in Qualcomm Stadium, the Aztecs won seven of their last nine to finish a respectable 7-5, and were a missed field goal away from winning the MWC Western Division and a berth in the inaugural MWC Championship Game.  Things could certainly have been far worse.

And yet, there are still those who are clamoring for head coach Rocky Long’s head.  The team wasn’t flashy enough.  The team has backslid horrifically since the departure of Brady Hoke to Michigan three years ago.  If Athletic Director Jim Sterk and University President Elliot Hirshman were truly serious about a winning football program, they would get on the phone and gauge the interest of soon-to-be-former University of Texas Head Coach Mack Brown and former USC interim coach Ed Orgeron.  They’ll get the Aztecs back on track!

Nonsense!

Yes, the Aztecs’ season could have been better.  Like the Chargers, they lost some games they could have and probably should have won.  But unlike the Chargers, they are still good enough to be going to the post season.

I’ll let Rocky Long take it from here.  Pay particular attention to his rant beginning just past the 12 minute mark of the press conference:

No, the Aztecs never should have lost to Eastern Illinois (albeit a very good Eastern Illinois team with a very good quarterback).  Yes, they probably should have beaten Oregon St., and had their opportunities late in the game, with a lead, to finish the Beavers off, but couldn’t.  And yet they were good enough to be within a last second field goal of beating a top ranked, undefeated Fresno St. CSU Fresno team that was fighting for a spot in the BCS, with a star quarterback and receiver that will be earning large paychecks on Sundays next year.

But, as Rocky said, the Aztecs are one of only 29 teams in all of college football to be making a fourth consecutive bowl game appearance, one of only five non-BCS teams to do so.  And even better, combined with the SDSU men’s basketball team, the Aztecs are one of only six schools in the entire country to  have four straight bowl game and four straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

This was not a great SDSU football team or season, but it wasn’t a bad one, either.

It is easy, and perhaps reasonable, to consider 2013 a bit of a down year for the Aztecs’ football program, particularly considering pre-season expectations.  But if this is the kind of thing we can expect in down years from here on out, then I can certainly live with the occasional substandard 7-5 record and a bowl game appearance.  It’s when they start to fall below that standard that we should begin to be concerned.

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Andy Cohen

Andy spent 15 years working in the highest levels of the San Diego professional sports world, including both the Padres and the Chargers. He began his foray into writing while a volunteer for Francine Busby's 2010 Congressional campaign, eventually becoming a contributor to the now defunct SDNN. He has reported on local and national politics for both the OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press. When not reporting news and events, he offers political and policy commentary from a liberal perspective, occasionally turning back to his sports roots. While he does not hide his more liberal political bent, Andy always strives for fairness in the telling of a story.
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Doug Porter December 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I think you are wrong to use the R word for the Washington football team. It’s considered demeaning by many of the original stewards of our land, has a history of being used in a racist context and is simply just the wrong thing to do in the 21st century.

They’ve been offered a perfectly good alternative, ie, Red Cloud, replete with powerful historical imagery (The only native American Chief to defeat the US Army in a protracted struggle) that wouldn’t even require them to change the artwork in their logo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Cloud

Dan Snyder could have made even more money with all the new merchandising possibilities and we could move on to more important things, like how the team sucks (you thought the Chargers were bad? Ha!) or what sucker will sign a contract for the coaching job next year.

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avatar Andy Cohen December 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm

First of all, Dan Snyder…….’nuff said. The guy hasn’t exactly been a rock star of NFL owners…..or he has, but not for right reasons. His massive ego and penchant for figuratively flipping the bird and snarling at anyone who dares challenge the opinion or actions of His Highness tells us that–whether right or wrong–he won’t change the team’s nickname simply out of spite, and because he doesn’t have to. Dan Snyder is always right, even when he’s wrong.

Second, largely because of that, and because the team has been called the “Redskins” for nearly 100 years, I don’t really care if they change it or not. I have no dog in this fight. The problem is that next they’ll come gunning for the Aztecs, AGAIN, despite the overwhelming support of the Latino community for the nickname, and even after we’ve had this protracted battle before. There’s always going to be somebody who’s unhappy, who wants to make noise for the sake of…..whatever. Even if Snyder agreed to change the name to “Red Cloud,” that still wouldn’t settle the issue. It still wouldn’t be good enough for some. And we’d come back to this fight in another five years. It’s tired. And I’m over it.

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avatar Chad Boyer December 18, 2013 at 5:35 am

I’ve got one better than firing Rocky Long: let’s cut to the chase and shut down the football program. Listen, I am a San Diego State alumnus, my first Aztec experience ever was 1984, listening to the Red & Black square off against UCLA as Chris Hardy fumbled twice inside the 5-yard line and they lost 18-15. The point is, since Don Coryell led them to small school glory, they’ve never been much good. They’ve been terrible a lot. Even now, this 7-5 record nonsense, is in large part due to the stunning lameness of the MWC. I rate the MWC the worst conference in Division 1 football outside the Sunbelt, and even that I could debate. There is one ‘good’ team, Fresno State, and even its record is HIGHLY dubious: did you see their non-conference schedule? Cal Poly, an overtime win against a mediocre Rutgers, and mighty Idaho. The point is, the Aztecs got to 7-5 from 0-3 by beating up on 8 mountain dwarves. Now they go to another loser bowl to play Buffalo (who even knew Buffalo had a D-1 school prior to hearing the Aztecs were matched against them?) in a money losing game only insomniacs could watch. Listen: the tide is shifting. Super-conferences and league bifurcation are happening. There will be something like 64 true division 1 teams, of which SDSU willn likely not be one, unless they got into a super-conference, and the rest. And there’s no point spending money if you’re not playing with the big boys. At the end of the day, way too much money has been spent for way too many years filling up the rat hole that is San Diego State football. Times are tough. Spend what we have wisely. Give Fish WHATEVER HE WANTS and become a basketball school (hoops is relatively cheap, compared to football). Reallocate the money to other sports, hell, bring back crew, just don’t keep shoving it down the rathole. Because if you think Rocky Long is the answer, you aren’t paying attention. That guy couldn’t recruit his own son. We got a little blast of talent under Brady, but now, Mr. Uncongentiality and pissed it all away. Whatever talent Rocky has is blown away by his occasional in-game brain farts. SHUT IT DOWN.

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avatar Derek December 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm

…btw, the Chargers clinched a Playoff spot today… Just sayin’ :)

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avatar Pete Brown December 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm

…remind me not to take you to Vegas or listen to your stock recommendations. bwahahaha. GO CHARGERS!!

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