Chargers acting carefully, but it could come at a price

It’s been five days since representatives from the San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Rams met about the possibility of the Chargers joining the Rams as Los Angeles stadium partners.

The silence since then has been deafening.

And it’s left us wondering just how badly Chargers owner Dean Spanos really wants to be in Los Angeles. Or whether his heart is in any of the options fellow National Football League owners handed in in Houston last week.

That’s no way to approach the next chapter in your franchise’s history.

Let alone step into a market as demanding and complex as Los Angeles.

Are we being used as leverage for a new Chargers stadium in San Diego.

And/or the defensive front Spanos builds to delay or block an Oakland Raiders move to Southern California.
Is Los Angeles the city Spanos and the Chargers hope to chart their long-range future?

Or the reluctant back-up option?

And as each second ticks away without a decision, it sends a horrible message to the city the Chargers might soon call home.

We kind of sort of think we want to move to L.A., but we’re aren’t quite sure we really do or not so we need more time to think about it.

Word of advice to the Chargers: L.A. doesn’t do passive aggressive very well.

Los Angeles is about being bold and decisive. And we expect the same from anyone who plants their stake here.
We don’t give our hearts or our wallets easily, but if you come at us with swagger and confidence and willingly embrace the challenge of winning us over, you’re halfway home.

And it doesn’t hurt to put a great product on the field, too.

But good luck coming at us meekly and defensively.

So if it’s Los Angeles you really want, then turn the page on San Diego immediately, embrace your new reality as the Los Angeles Chargers and send the decisive message you aren’t just ready to make L.A. your new home, you’re ready to make your mark on one of the great sports landscapes in the country.

We’d respect the hell out of that.

But more on all that in a bit.

Aside from a vague joint statement in which the Rams and Chargers acknowledged their meeting and agreed not to comment any further, precious few details have emerged.

About the only consensus is, the Chargers have used the last few days scouring over the offer on the table from the Rams and the two sides will likely resume talks next week.

All of which makes sense. Spanos is contemplating a decision that will define his franchise for generations. And whether it takes one week or two weeks or the entire year he’s been given to decide whether to make the move to Los Angeles or stay in San Diego, it behooves him to take advantage of that time.

The Chargers face an incredibly complex decision, one that reaches far beyond staying in San Diego or moving to Los Angeles.

By staying in San Diego, they open a spot in Los Angeles for the Raiders, whose incredibly strong foothold in L.A. approaches that of the Rams.

Can the Chargers afford to compete with two wildly popular teams teams 120 miles to the north of them?

On the other hand, if they move to L.A. – where they will be the decided second team to the Rams – then San Diego busts wide open for the Raiders to swoop in an replace them. Make no mistake, the Raiders will pounce on San Diego if the Chargers vacate, believing their brand plays well in San Diego and nearby Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

Where exactly do the Chargers fit in a puzzle in which they are the second team in L.A. and the Raiders paint their previous market Silver and Black?

So, as you can see, it’s daunting times indeed for Spanos and the Chargers.

He wants piece of mind he’s making the right decision.

But creating a comfort level doesn’t come without a price.

Every day the Chargers take to decide is another day they lose ground to the Rams.

Every hour they spend struggling with their decision is another hour they fall further off the Los Angeles radar.
And every moment they spend trying to create the perfect scenario for themselves – be it leveraging San Diego leaders for a stadium deal or holding off the Raiders from San Diego – is another moment they look indecisive rather than decisive.

It’s time for the Chargers to act offensively rather than defensively.

If it’s L.A. you want, then get on with it.