A Chargers Fan Writing about the Buffalo Bills and Texas Football

Photo via chargers.com

I’m a Chargers fan. I am an L.A. Chargers fan — but only because when I stopped being a Chargers fan, I stopped being a football fan. I grew up watching the Chargers lose game after game in San Diego. As a life-long fan, I can tell you that there is something sinister about the way this team can manufacture defeat from certain victory that is so soul-crushing it’s hard to put into words.  

My therapist gets it, and I’ll bet a lot of Buffalo Bills fans get it too. And I can tell you that the Bills moving to Austin would be the most traumatic thing that many Upstaters ever could experience. It would be worse than watching the team lose four more Super Bowl games.  

I vividly remember 2014 and 2015, and the efforts the Chargers and local organizers made to encourage the San Diego community to support a hotel tax proposition that would have funded a stadium and kept the team in town. I also remember all the people who simply didn’t care anymore and certainly weren’t willing to discuss any public funding to keep the Spanos’ in town.  

When I was a kid, the Chargers played at Jack Murphy Stadium — affectionately The Murph. It was built in 1967 and was finally torn down in 2021. The Padres used to play there too until they got a sweet new stadium on the waterfront. Whether it’s a difference in sporting tastes or just a general malaise for the Chargers, football wasn’t that important and off to L.A., they went.  

The Bills are playing in a stadium that was built in 1973. It’s old, beat up, and outdated. Sure, there are tons of great memories there, but it’s simply run down. To compete with major television markets like those in Texas, the Bills need to go forward with the guarantee of a major-league stadium. The Chargers understood this, even if they couldn’t make the taxpayers get it.  

Of course, all of this is predicated on unsubstantiated rumors and likely mischaracterizations of half-truths, but the writing is on the wall in Buffalo — build it or we will leave. According to unnamed sources in the Bills organization, the phrase used was “other cities would love to have an NFL team.” 

I love Texas football for one, simple reason — I’m a Chargers fan. You can walk down the street in my hometown of La Mesa, California, and you’ll see more Cowboys logos than Lightning Bolts. Not just today, but even back in 1996 after their one and only Super Bowl appearance. Texans just get out and love their football, and I wish I grew up in a community that made the sport so intrinsic to the community.  

When I first started following the Chargers back in the 1980s, the main rival was the Raiders. Good seasons, bad seasons, it didn’t seem to matter — Raiders week was a thing not to be missed. The move to L.A. was awkward on the one hand — like finding out your brother is dating your ex-girlfriend — but also difficult after so many years of L.A. Raiders dominance in the division. It was hard to see where the team would fit in with that community.  

So far they haven’t, and “home games” have more opposing fans in the stands than their own fans. So, the question is — Is Austin a big enough football town to embrace the Bills?  

I write about Texas sports for a living, and I love it. It doesn’t matter if you are in North Texas or down on the Rio Grande, when football gets involved, Texans get passionate. California is a fairly apathetic state when it comes to football. I simply love the way that folks get involved from Pop Warner all the way to the pros in the great State of Texas.  

I asked a friend who lives in Pflugerville what he thought about the idea of a move. He’s a life-long Chiefs fan and is avidly anti-Chargers. He told me that he would watch, but wouldn’t root for the team unless the Chiefs were eliminated. Then, he would be a fan.  

Of course, the most likely scenario is that a deal is made in Upstate New York, and the Pegula’s will work a deal for partial funding of a new stadium in Orchard Park rather than move the team. I like to believe that Bills fans would do whatever it took to keep the team in town, but when it comes to public financing for a private business that’s worth millions, many people simply find that too hard to swallow.  

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