The San Diego Chargers are rumored to be moving to Los Angeles, and it appears that the “Chargers” name — and the history that goes with it — could stay in San Diego.
This week, several NFL owners reported from league meetings that Chargers owner Dean Spanos intends to move his team to Los Angeles during the open window next month, CBS Sports reported. The team appears to have run out of options to stay in San Diego, the report noted, and Spanos is resigned to the fact that a move to Los Angeles is the only real path forward for the team.
“It’s over,” one ownership source told CBS Sports.
“They’re going to Los Angeles. It’s just a matter of announcing it. There aren’t any miracles here.”
But the move may be more than a simple shift of the franchise. Rumors around the NFL indicate that the San Diego Chargers will adopt a new name and an entirely fresh start, leaving the nearly 50 years of franchise history behind.
“According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News, the team is considering rebranding if they do indeed move to L.A. in hopes of starting with a clean slate and creating a new history,” NESN noted.
This would seem to follow the template of the controversial 1996 relocation of the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore. Owner Art Modell moved the team but left the storied history of the franchise in Cleveland, while the Browns struck a deal with the NFL to return in 1999 after building a new stadium.
There are no indications that the San Diego Chargers could see such a revival, so fans of the franchise that actually started in Los Angeles in 1960 will no longer have a team to root for. The Chargers, one of the original seven teams in the American Football League when it formed in 1959, joined the NFL in 1970 as part of the league’s merger with the AFL. The Chargers have one AFL title and one Super Bowl appearance, a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in 1994.
The rumors that the San Diego Chargers could relocate to Los Angeles have been building for more than a year. When it became clear in NFL circles that the league would add at least one team in Los Angeles, the Chargers were considered among the frontrunners. While the St. Louis Rams ended up being the first team to make the move, the Chargers were given an option this year to relocate and join the Rams as a tenant in the Inglewood stadium being built by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
That move became more certain when San Diego voters defeated a measure to raise hotel taxes to 16.5 percent in order to help fund a $1.8 billion downtown stadium that would require $1.15 billion in bonds.
At the time, Dean Spanos wrote a letter to season-ticket holders that laid out the team’s uncertain future.
“In terms of what comes next for the Chargers, it’s just too early to give you an answer,” Spanos wrote.
“We are going to diligently explore and weigh our options, and do what is needed to maintain our options, but no decision will be announced until after the football season concludes, and no decision will be made in haste.”
While the rumors that the San Diego Chargers are moving to Los Angeles appear to be all but certain, the official announcement likely won’t come for a few more weeks. League sources told CBS Sports that Dean Spanos will not announce the move until after the season, especially with the team hosting divisional rival Kansas City in the final home game in Week 17.
[Featured Image by Donald Miralle/Getty Images]