If you are a football fan living in San Diego you may be struggling at this particular point in time. It’s week one of NFL football. One of the happiest times of the year. At least it was until our former professional team decided to up and leave following the end of last season without as much as a proper goodbye.
The fallout of the Chargers’ departure has been discussed ad nauseam. As a city, San Diego has gone through at least four of the five stages of grief. At first, we were in denial that the NFL was gone, and gone for good (it is). Then we were angry. Yes, we were very angry. In fact, I don’t think we’ve stopped being angry, and reasonably so. Some of us have dealt with bargaining in the forms of hate watching or “for Gates and Rivers only.” Many have sunken into depression, and that’s where a good amount of us may be at this point. If seeing pictures on social media of the glory days, bumper stickers and old paraphernalia make you feel like you just got punched in the gut, then this may be you.
But wait, not to worry. There is one more stage in the grieving process, and that’s acceptance.
I’m confident that our beloved city is on the path to this final stage of acceptance, and just in time, I might add. Recently, one of our EVT contributors, Grant Muenchow, wrote an article entitled, Potential New Teams for Ex-Chargers Fans. This is a great read if you can still stomach the NFL and are looking for some healthy alternatives as far as teams to follow. I admittedly have joined two fantasy football leagues this season, so I have not completely purged myself of the NFL.
There are those, however, who may feel that the NFL is at least partially, if not largely, responsible for the Chargers’ exodus and therefore have washed their hands of the whole filthy organization. That’s totally understandable. I, myself, have chosen not to pledge any form of fanship to any NFL team moving forward. I guess I would be anti-NFL lite.
In my humble opinion, the best alternative to Chargers football is a pretty simple one. Let’s start boosting San Diego into a legitimate college football town.
On Saturday morning of last week, I woke up bright and early to watch my alma mater, the California Golden Bears, upset the University of North Carolina Tar Heels at home 35-30. Now, EVT is a San Diego sports website so I’m not going to get into the details of this particular game, but it was a fun one to watch. I’ll be following the Bears closely throughout the season. If your relationship with your alma mater’s football team has cooled off since your college days, maybe now is a good opportunity to dive back in. Just some food for thought.
Now, for the big pitch
San Diego actually does have a championship-winning football team. If you didn’t already know how good the San Diego State Aztecs have been the last two years then you need to start paying attention. They won the Mountain West Division Championship in 2015 and in 2016 and it looks like they might be heading towards another successful season.
On Saturday evening, they played their home opener against the UC Davis Aggies and, as expected, they won big, 38-17. The game was streamed on Facebook for the world to see via Stadium. The attendance at the game was 46,132. That’s nothing to sneeze at for college football, am I right? Standout SDSU running back Rashaad Penny had 21 carries for a total of 197 yards with two touchdowns. Quarterback Christian Chapman went 16-21 for 220 yards with two passing touchdowns. The matchup favored the Aztecs but they took the victory like champs. To read a more in-depth account of the game check out our recap written again by Grant Muenchow entitled, Game 1: San Diego State vs UC Davis Recap.
Next on the schedule is a Pac-12 team in the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. This will certainly be a tough matchup, but a victory is not improbable. Again, since this will be against a Pac-12 team, there will be a good number of eyes on the game. That’s good for boosting the team’s profile.
If you are a San Diegan in 2017, this is the team to follow. They have been going under the slogan of “One city. One team.” leading up to the start of this season and that should be a rallying cry to football loving citizens of this community. People have criticized San Diegans for being poor football fans. They think we don’t really care that the NFL left. We can just go to the beach instead. That’s utter nonsense. Let’s not be passive participants in this game that we love. Let’s get out there and make the world recognize that we are a football town and we will make you pay attention to us no matter what obstacles we face. Support the Aztecs. Be loud about it. Again, I went to Cal, but for the love of San Diego and for the love of football I will support the Aztecs, and you should too. Why not? It’s winning football.