Welcome to Blowgun, Day 2. Raider Week continues. I received an e-mail from the DirecTv people about their "Ultimate Displaced Fan" constest. They wanted me to "pump up Charger fans." I think we know I am not the guy for that job, but here is what I wrote:
OK, here I go again. I entered this last year and was snubbed. First off, I am not a "displaced" fan. If anything, I am a misplaced fan since I have never lived anywhere but in the state of New York. I am sure that this award will go to some face-painter or fan of a "long suffering" franchise. I argue that there is no more frustrating team than the San Diego Chargers.
When I say that I am a huge fan, I mean that I am actually affected by the outcome of a game over which I have absolutely no affect on—deeply. I’m self aware to know how absurd this is, but I am sometimes also unable to stop myself. My football fanaticism doesn’t follow the usual patterns. I don’t wear face paint or anything like that. However, my mood is often dictated by the travails of a team that throughout its history has either been untalented or underachieved. If you’re unfamiliar with the Chargers’ disappointing exploits, look them up. The one year they may have been the best in the land, there was yet to be a Super Bowl to prove it. There have also since been allegations of steroid use to further taint that season. The year they miraculously made the Super Bowl, they were stomped by one of the all-time great squads. From 2004 to 2009, they won 12, 13 and 14 of their 16 regular-season games, respectively. In those seasons, they promptly imploded in their own stadium with a rash of missed field goals, fumbles, interceptions and mind-boggling personal fouls.
How much of a fan am I? I have been writing a blog before such an expression even existed. That's since back in 1995, to be exact. I used to sneak into bars to watch Charger games before there even was such a thing as "NFL Sunday Ticket from DirecTv." In fact, I'm the reason that such a idea even exists. I used to have to stand on 3rd Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan just to PAY (two drink tickets were included) to get in and stand behind a Studio 54-like rope to watch the smallest screen in the place which always seemed to show the Chargers game. Of course, I was lucky enough to see my team finally make the Super Bowl in 1994. Sadly, I should have been more specific with my constant hopes that they finally reach The Big Show. I should have specified a win while they were there. Yeah, I went to Pittsburgh for the AFC title game where we were the biggest underdogs in conference championship game history at that time. True, I went to the Super Bowl by myself, with a wineskin full of Jim Beam. Yeah, the photo of that was on a plaque in the Pro Football Hall of Fame--you can look it up at www.justiceiscoming.com. But that doesn't warrent me winning this award.
Having been in Canton, OH with the "Big Dawg," "Barrel Guy" and whatever the guy in the squawking Eagle suit calls himself is an honor. However, the thing that gives me the most pleasure is when I get an e-mail that says "I thought I was the only person who cared about the Chargers outside of California" or "thanks for always writing even through the 1 to 4 win seasons." I have seen the NFL embrace its out of town fans over the last ten years, obviously for marketing reasons. However, I still remember having to write the Chargers in 1981 and sending a beat up football card of my hero Dan Fouts to be signed. It was and it sits over my computer to this day. The picture I have attached features the jersey I wore throughout the 1994 season of my other all-time favorite, Stan Humphries. The man led us to the Super Bowl, showing heart and guts all the way. My friends invited him to my bachelor party in New Orleans in 2003 and offered to pay his way if that tells you something.
Speaking of New Orleans, please tell "Archie" from your contest description that Charger fans respect his sons both winning the Lombardi Trophy and hope we will someday. However, we are still waiting on a public apology for his disrespect of the San Diego Chargers on Draft Day 2004. As they say in Delta Tau Chi, they can't say that about our pledges, only we can.
How much of a fan am I? I will return first prize if the Chargers are not in the Super Bowl this year if that gives you an idea. I was fortunate to have the former VP of the team send me an autographed football of LaDainian Tomlinson and was even more fortunate to get rid of it when he became an ex-Bolt. You get the idea.
Notice I didn't even say that I would reject any prize with the Manning name, that I pranked Eli the night before the draft or that my Charger beads from my bachelor party were thrown by yours truly onto the Manning family lawn. I guess that's just between us.
You can enter the contest or vote here.
Did anyone see the Jackson transcript on the NCT? A little less convincing than I would have liked. "I think some of them [the games] were blacked out." Scott Bair was going easy on him, too.