With the New York Jets converting on 4th and 1 using a run play with roughly a minute left in the 4th quarter, the defeat was handed to the hottest team in the playoffs: The San Diego Chargers. Although familiar territory to their fanbase, the mood just look to become very soul and depressing for the home team that had another quick exit in January.
Disappointment may me the understatement of the year, regarding the frustrated atmosphere after the game in San Diego.
Talks are rampant on who should leave the team, new management, and who's to blame for years of not even one Super Bowl appearance. Rightfully so. So now, we have to sit back and wonder what's on the mind of the one player who got this team to where it was in the first place, and made their organization turned around since '01.
What's on your mind right now L.T.?
You have to think years and years of not grasping the Lombardi Trophy has run thin the patience of the future Hall of Famer. As such was the discussion when Peyton Manning didn't come over his slump until '07, I think a serious factor to any great player is asking themselves, "Can I win a Super Bowl with this team?"
To many, that answer is no. Not because The Chargers aren't a good team, but more along the fact that the window is closing fast on their opportunities to make a run for it.
The next question he must surely be asking himself can only follow, "Do they really need me anymore, am I a factor?", and sadly, the truth of that may be followed as a no as well. It's been a common observation that after the emergence of Philip Rivers, the running game has taken a back seat to the electric (witty pun intended) passing game of the team. In fact, in the '09 season L.T. rushed for a career low 730 yards, and averaged an awful 3.3 yard per carry.
Talk about a solid sign that either his production is fading, he doesn't get as many carries anymore, or that they're changing the plan of attack of offense for good. You decide.
The last question may be well expected. If LaDainian Tomlinson is actually pondering, "Should I leave the team?", than I think that's not the smartest move to change locations. No doubt, some team would pick up the 30 year old tailback, but would that team be a playoff team? Not likely.
So what's left on the table for him? Well, I would like to see him retire this offseason and save face.
I think he's proven enough with his stats, earned enough praise amongst his supporters, and done enough for the team that he should go out respectfully. L.T. even holds several records (31 single season touchdowns) and (29 rushing touchdowns) and (most points scored in a single season, 186) and a lot more records than I can name. If he can't win the Super Bowl, it won't really matter, considering he's a sure pick for the Hall of Fame. Nothing left to prove really.
So as San Diego Fans now begin their offseason thoughts on what exactly needs to be set right to get them that elusive Super Bowl Trophy, the one player that started the greatness needs to think long and deep about his future. A future on a team where he'll keep becoming more of an afterthought as the years pass by.
So what do you think boys and girls, should LaDainian Tomlinson take his final bow, and start thinking about Canton, Ohio? Feel free to chime in with feedback.