There are 13 NFL franchises that have never won a Super Bowl. Four franchises, the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Detroit Lions, have never even been to the big game. The now Los Angeles Chargers may have come up short in their only opportunity playing for the Lombardi Trophy, but that doesn’t mean that the franchise hasn’t had some amazing moments.
For Los Angeles and San Diego fans alike, here are the top 10 moments in Chargers history.
10. Moving (Back) to Los Angeles
Call me crazy but coming to one of the biggest markets in the world and getting a new stadium in the process should be considered a great moment in Charger history. Sorry San Diego but they were L.A.’s team first, technically.
9. Antonio Gates Paves the Way to Greatness
Antonio Gates is seemingly overlooked in many discussions as the greatest tight end of all time but the case could be made without much difficulty. Cementing his place as, at the very least, a top ten tight end of all time Antonio Gates caught his 111th touchdown on January 1st, 2017. This puts him in a tie for most all-time by a tight end with Tony Gonzalez. With Antonio Gates set to return next season, he projects to easily break the all-time record making him an all-time great.
8. LT’s Absolute Monster Game
LaDainian Tomlinson was an absolute beast throughout his career and on December 28th, 2003 he showed the world why. LT ran for a Charger record 243 yards while also becoming the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 100 passes in one season.
7. “The Trade”
The trade involving Philip Rivers and Eli Manning shifted NFL history forever. While Eli Manning has gone on to win Super Bowls, Philip Rivers is no slouch so this should be considered a win for the Chargers. The infamous draft-day trade that sent Eli Manning to the New York Giants and Philip Rivers to the San Diego Chargers is a historical moment of momentous proportions. Along with Rivers, the Chargers received draft picks from the Giants in which they selected two future pro bowlers, Nate Kaeding and Shawne Merriman.
6. Dan Fouts Streak
On October 25th, 1979, Dan Fouts of the San Diego Chargers set a then-NFL record of passing for more than 300 yards four consecutive games by reaching 303 yards against the Oakland Raiders. The record would only stand for three years until it was broken by Joe Montana in 1982 with five consecutive 300-yard passing games. The current record was set in 1998 by Steve Young with six games in a row.
5. Antonio Cromartie Goes the Distance
Antonio Cromartie’s 109 yards missed field goal return will forever be remembered as the longest touchdown in NFL history. This all occurred when Ryan Longwell of the Minnesota Vikings missed a 58-yard field goal attempt and Cromartie boldly decided to take the ball out of the end zone; the rest is history.
4. 1981 OT Thriller
In 1981 the Chargers won an overtime playoff game against the Miami Dolphins 41-38 on a field goal by Rolf Benirschke. This is considered by many as the most thrilling game in Chargers’ history. Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow received 13 passes that game for 166 yards and a touchdown leaving him with the third most yards by a tight end in a playoff game in NFL history. Unfortunately for the Chargers, they would lose their next playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals 27-7.
3. Chargers Crowned AFC Champs
The only Super Bowl berth in San Diego Chargers’ history is remembered fondly by Charger nation. Beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-13 with fourteen unanswered points in the second half this Chargers’ team cemented its place in team history. To further the dramatics of this classic game, legend Junior Seau recorded 16 tackles all while playing with a pinched nerve in his neck!
2. AFL Champion Chargers
In 1964 (1963 season) the San Diego Chargers won the AFL Championship making them the last San Diego-based major sports team to win a championship. In this blowout game, the Chargers defeated the Boston Patriots 51-10 to become the resounding champions.
1. LaDainian Tomlinson’s Record Breaking Year
Most players are lucky to have 31 touchdowns in an entire career. LaDainian Tomlinson did that in one season. A seemingly impossible 31 total touchdowns in 2006 electrified the NFL world and broke the previous touchdown record held by Shaun Alexander (28). Combine that with a robust 1,815 rushing yards, and 508 receiving yards, and you get easily the most memorable moment in Charger franchise history.