Super Bowl LI (also known as Super Bowl 51) will be contested this weekend while the Los Angeles Chargers (formerly San Diego) are on vacation. The Chargers will not win this Super Bowl (obviously), but they do have a mathematical probability that says it is not impossible for them to win it next year.
In September 2017, the now dormant mighty L.A. NFL powerhouse that is the Chargers will storm the green and carefully manicured soccer fields of StubHub Center in Carson, Ca., and march triumphantly onward in front of all 27,167 fans (plus a few who’ll watch on T.V.) toward assured total victory in Super Bowl LII.
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Jan 18, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; General overall view of Wilson NFL official Duke football outside of the StubHub Center. The StubHub center will be the temporary home of the Los Angeles Chargers for the 2017 and 2018 seasons as part of Chargers owner Dean Spanos relocation of the franchise from San Diego. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
It won’t be easy. It’ll take more wins; it’ll take less loses. Close games will need to fall on the side of the Chargers. That oughta do it:
Los Angeles Chargers, 2017 Super Bowl Champions.
I only wrote that to see it in print. It’s my version of getting a “2017 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Champions” tattoo, minus a needle and a lot less pain and humiliation.
But seriously, this team is only a few wins away from contesting in the playoffs. The Chargers may have finished the season with only five wins, but the team also owns losing games they lead in the fourth quarter or close games overall. They don’t just own this, they are historically bad, according to FiveThirtyEight.
“Added together, that two-year total of -4.7 WPA in the fourth quarter or overtime ranks 19th-worst by any team in a two-season span since the Super Bowl era began in 1966.”
WPA stands for “win probability added,” which measures a team’s swing in their chances of winning with each play. I won’t pretend to fully understand it, but I do understand what historically bad means–and that’s bad!
Dec 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
However, the team is filled with talent, enough so that just a few different bounces of the ball could have made a difference. I mean, imagine a few more drops by opponents, a few more sacks and interceptions by the defense, a few less interceptions thrown by Philip Rivers and a few more touchdowns caught by Antonio Gates and Tyrell Williams, three more rushing yards by Melvin Gordon, a whole new coaching staff, a new city and maybe, just maybe, this team has a winning record.
2017 Championship summary
OK, enough with the melodrama. To make it easy, I’ve compiled a list of things that must happen in order for the Chargers to have an ironclad guarantee of a Super Bowl victory next year (take “ironclad” with a grain of salt here):
QB Philip Rivers will need to tone it down, both with the “I’m sad we moved” routine and interceptions.
Philip Rivers just told Jimmy Kimmel he’s “warming up” to LA but visibly hesitated when swearing to stay with team pic.twitter.com/lbBjlQWdTY
Traffic sucks here. Deal with it. Also, that was not the career high we wanted to see. Adjusting the ball pressure might help a little, but maybe it’s not worth exploring. Throw it to the dudes wearing the same jersey as you! Speaking of which:
While doing the above, Rivers also needs to keep chucking over 30 touchdowns every year. Just because you own the team franchise season (34) and career (314) records doesn’t mean you can slack or stop aspiring to throw over 40 touchdowns. Enough with the complacency, Rivers! 40 is the new 30 so get on with it.
Melvin Gordon will need to finish of the job this time, reaching that 1,000-yard rushing milestone. Almost close doesn’t cut it, mister! None of that “three yard short” stuff in 2017, injuries be damned. That may have worked in San Diego, but this is L.A.. In comparison, L.A.’s other NFL franchises’ running game was… never mind.
Antonio Gates will need to, well, not retire. Keep doing your thing, Gates! Gates’ lacing them up makes this team better, regardless of his playing miles.
Tyrell Williams needs to keep catching the ball. No really, he gets paid to do it.
Dec 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) dives for a ball out of his reach during the second quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Bosa will need to do the impossible: Win Rookie of the Year two years in a row. He hasn’t even won it once yet and I don’t know if it’s possible. But if it is, Bosa will need to do it! Back-to-back, baby!
Casey Hayward needs to not only lead the league in interceptions again, but he also needs to lead the league in pick-six end-zone celebrations. I mean, anyone can intercept a ball, but can you also score and celebrate with style? I don’t even know what kind of players Deion Sanders or Ickey Woods were, but I do know what their end-zone celebrations looked like. They were magic.
L.A. needs to hire Wade Phillips to run the defense. I mean, geez, this is a no-brainer! (what, L.A. already hired him? Oh, that’s the other L.A. team). Never mind again.
The team did OK hiring that Anthony Lynn guy, but the Bolts need to hire Gus Bradley to run the defense. Good to see the Chargers read my mind here earlier in the month when they hired him. It’s like they new I was going to suggest this before I did! Coach Bradley helped make the Seahawks’ D what it was when they won it all. Let’s see what he can do with the Chargers and future two-time Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa and end-zone celebrating machine Casey Howard.
The Chargers need to make it to the playoffs and win a few games. I feel very strongly about this one.
If any of these things don’t happen (except for what’s already happened), my prediction is this: The Bolts will not win the Super Bowl next year. How can I be so sure? I’m not. Maybe none of these things happen and the team still makes the playoffs or even wins it all. But probably not.
Let’s just hope the Chargers have a better season, even if at the minimum it’s only so that we are not talking about the Patriots again come next February.
Do you have any creative or unconventional suggestions that will guarantee a Chargers’ Super Bowl win next year? Post them below and let’s see whatchu got.
In the meantime, the team needs to get to work. I mean, just look at the video below. Where’s the dancing, man?