Three Reasons the San Diego Chargers Won't Win the Super Bowl

Craig RondinoneCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 25: Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers drops back to pass against the Tennessee Titans on December 25, 2009 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rex Brown/Getty Images)
Rex Brown/Getty Images

A month ago, most of the NFL experts had the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints playing in the Super Bowl.

Two weeks ago, most of the same NFL experts had the San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles playing in the Super Bowl.

And now this week, many of the NFL experts have written New Orleans, Philadelphia and Indianapolis off and think a San Diego-Green Bay Super Bowl sounds good.

It only takes one or two losses to make people change their minds about NFL teams in our flip-flop world. Yesterday’s contender is today’s pretender and vice-versa. The NFL is the only league where a team can go 14-0, lose a game after benching all its stars, and everyone panics like Gilbert Arenas’ agent does when the Wizard opens his mouth.

Back to San Diego. The Chargers have not lost a game in months. Meanwhile, all of the other playoff teams have suffered injuries or been exposed over the last several weeks, making San Diego look even better to the untrained eye.

But San Diego isn’t going to win the Super Bowl. Why won’t they? Here are three reasons:

1. The misnomer that San Diego will win the Super Bowl because they are the hottest team in the NFL.

This theory seems to be as popular as Chad Ochocinco’s Twitter posts these days. Sure, no playoff team enters the postseason on a better winning streak that San Diego. Philip Rivers and Co. went undefeated in December for the fourth season in a row and won 11 straight games to finish the regular season. Cheers to them! Put another lightning bolt on their helmets!

Here’s the problem: San Diego has been the hottest team heading into the playoffs in the three Decembers prior to this one and they never reached the Super Bowl.

So why won’t San Diego break its January curse just like the Dallas Cowboys broke their December curse this season? Because recent Super Bowl history suggests that entering the playoffs hotter than a tea kettle is no help.

The 2007 New York Giants went 4-4 over their last eight games before catching fire in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the last team to enter the postseason on a larger winning streak than San Diego, the 16-0 New England Patriots from that year, lost to the Giants in the Bowl.

The 2008 Arizona Cardinals lost four of their last six regular season contests before running pass routes in glass slippers and Cinderella-ing their way to the Super Bowl. The 2006 Indianapolis Colts were losers of four of seven before Peyton Manning audibled his way to a title. How you finish the regular season is not a precursor to how you will finish the postseason.

2. San Diego cannot run the ball, nor can they stop the run.

To win the Super Bowl you have to be able to run the ball and stop your opponents from running the ball, or at least do ONE of the two. Unfortunately, these are San Diego’s two biggest weaknesses.

Thanks to a banged-up offensive line and an aging LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers have the 31st ranked rushing offense in the NFL, averaging 88 yards per game. Tennessee’s Chris Johnson usually racked that up in one quarter during most of his outings this year.

San Diego’s undersized, Jamal Williams-less front seven is 20th rated in run defense. The Chargers’ defense is built around making big plays, not stopping long drives. A team that can run the ball effectively and not the turn the ball over will give San Diego fits.


3. Norv Turner is Still Not Vince Lombardi

Turner is one of the most brilliant play callers in the NFL. The man creates innovative plays to score points like Artie Lange creates innovative ways to get time off from the Howard Stern Show.

But did we forget that Turner is the Wade Phillips of the AFC? His coaching gaffs are legendary, and he shows a lot of the same traits that former San Diego head man Marty Schottenheimer did (that is not a compliment). Turner can win regular season games, but can he win big playoff games? The jury is still out.

Lastly, only three of San Diego’s 13 victories have come against playoff teams, and none of the three were "eye-opening" or "statement-making." Most of the Chargers wins came against the Oaklands, Kansas Citys and many of the league's 8-8 squads. Kudos to them for winning and not losing, but I for one am not sold. I can see the Chargers reaching the Super Bowl, but I cannot see them winning it.