Raiders, Chargers and 49ers embarrass California

Emin Avakian

Californians might as well start shifting their focus on bragging about the Los Angeles Lakers, USC Trojans football team, or even the Anaheim Ducks because the three NFL teams in the state have become irrelevant and embarrassing.?

I know it hurts to not be represented well in professional football, but the brutal truth is that the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers are bad football teams this season.?

They are a combined 11-25 going into Week 14 of the regular season with not one of them showing any signs of progression. The Chargers and Raiders are 1-4 in their last five games, while the 49ers are not much better at 2-3. The Chargers are 1-5 away from San Diego, the Raiders are 2-4 in cities not named Oakland and the 49ers are 2-4 when not playing in the Bay Area

They’re not officially eliminated yet, but it’s clear they will all miss the playoffs.?

San Diego has been the biggest head-scratcher as they have one of the more talented teams in the NFL, especially on offense, but their 24.2 points a game is just 12th in the league. They rank 15th in total yards, ninth in pass yards and a disappointing 26th in rushing yards. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson used to be the most explosive player in the league, but this season the reality has been a different one. He’s averaging 3.7 yards a carry this season, hence the team’s struggles on the ground. That’s not enough for these Chargers.

On defense, they have not compensated for the struggling offense, giving up 22.8 points a game, and opponents are averaging 260.6 pass yards and 107 rush yards.?

The Raiders have been a joke for the past five seasons, and the 49ers are not too far from them, and I’m not talking about driving distance. Oakland’s offense has been stagnant, averaging just 14.3 points (30th in the league) and their quarterback of the future has ‘led’ the Raiders to the worst passing offense in the NFL. The 49ers rank in the bottom half of the league in total offense and overall defense as well.?

And to think that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted two NFL teams for Los Angeles back in 2006. It’s safe to say why we haven’t heard much about that lately.?

‘We’re getting not only one NFL team to the Los Angeles area, Southern California, but to actually get two teams. That’s why I came,’ Schwarzenegger had said at a meeting with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and a committee of 11 owners. ‘Why limit it?’?
Well, Los Angeles had two NFL teams, and look at what happened. The Raiders moved to Oakland and the Rams moved to St. Louis. It’s arrogant to think that Los Angeles needs the NFL, because the NFL surely doesn’t need Los Angeles. When the NFL expanded in 2002, the new team went to Houston after Los Angeles leaders couldn’t agree on a suitable site for the team. ?

Everything happens for a reason.?

Maybe it’s time to admit that California doesn’t do well in professional football anymore. The 49ers were the last team from the state to win a Super Bowl, and that was back in 1995 when they defeated another team from California, the Chargers, 49-26. The Raiders made it to Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003, but were crushed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.?

The 1980s were good to California’s professional teams. The Los Angeles Rams made it to the Super Bowl XIV in 1980, which was played at the Rose Bowl. The Raiders won Super Bowls XV and XVIII in 1981 and 1984. In addition to the two Super Bowls the 49ers won in the 1990s, they won Super Bowls XVI, XIX, and XXIII in 1982, 1985 and 1989.?

For more than a decade now, however, California’s teams have made little noise.?

But at least there was some noise in the past few years. This season has been terrible for not only California teams, but for all teams on the West Coast. The Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos are the lone two teams on the west side of the U.S. map to have a record above .500.?

Simply put, non-West Coast teams are superior this season and have been in recent memory. The New York Giants and Tennessee Titans are both 11-1. The Steelers, Buccaneers and Panthers are 9-3. Californians should get used to watching two of those teams playing in February.?

For the long term, they can only hope that the three teams from California become relevant again some day.?