The San Diego Chargers have a culture problem, and it’s one they have had for years. The problem was best described by a member of the New England Patriots, after that team defeated the Chargers in San Diego in a championship game. He said, “The Chargers are a team where they come out before the game with their helmets off and everybody has their own sack dance.”
This team’s culture is not about being a professional football player, it’s about being a celebrity. During the game it’s about making the play, not because that is the job but because, having made the play, one can do a dance and call attention to one’s self. Off the field it’s about being seen in the most fashionable nightclub with a pretty girl on one’s arm, and driving home from that club with a blood alcohol of .15% or more.
This team is undisciplined, always has been. Too many missed assignments; missed because the player thought he could go make the play; make the play so that he could then do his “look at me” dance. I’ve watched a lot of football games, a lot of teams; I have never seen so many missed assignments and so much self-adulating celebration.
This team has won games because a high-powered offense has often overcome the inability of the defense to play for more than about thirty minutes before the lifestyle of nightclubbing and partying takes its toll, but the offense has to do that in the thirty minute limit that their similar lifestyle imposes on their peak play.
A brain and body that was drunk on Friday night is not mentally or physically ready to play NFL football on Sunday.
On the Friday night before the playoff game with the Jets last year, Chargers players were out partying and nightclubbing, and claim that had no effect on their loss Sunday to the Jets. The Jet players were not out partying Friday night, they were staying in peak physical condition, were mentally preparing to play a complex and demanding game, and they made the Chargers look like fools. Which they were, and are.