If there is one thing we have to understand about this crazy game of football, we have to see that the window of opportunity for a team to win only happens when majority of the players are in their prime all at the same time. Did the Chargers have that window close on them? Yes. I hate to admit that but that's the truth. But here is the real truth of the matter, that was the LT era window that closed.
Marty Schottenheimer had that window to win the Super Bowl with his philosophy and formula for winning a Super Bowl. AJ Smith gave him the personnel to do it. Norv Turner took that same philosophy and stuck with it but added a bit of the passing game dimension slowly with young Philip Rivers. If the Chargers didn't suffer major injuries to Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson, and a minor injury to Antonio Gates, there is without a doubt the Chargers would have beat the then undefeated New England Patriots.
The thing about windows of opportunity for winning a Super Bowl winding down is largely due to two factors: age and personnel loss to free agency. The Chargers were dealing with that very issue this past off-season as they tried to open up their window of opportunity for winning a Super Bowl in what is the first season of the Philip Rivers era.
Not only did the Chargers find the players to replace many key players, but they got more than what they wanted as they saw many of their players see action and still keeping the Chargers as the best offense and defense in the NFL. That's really amazing considering the amount of player losses they had.
Most teams that go through this transition have a tough time rebuilding a team after age and free agent losses after being a successful team or Super Bowl team. Many examples can be found in the Rams, Raiders, Buccaneers, when they struggled for many seasons to recoup after having such a great team. All it took the Chargers to have their window re-open was one season and a season that showed great promise for next season.
Take a look at some of the players that stepped up this season to open the window for the Chargers heading into the next decade.