The Toughest Job in the NFL: Being a San Diego Charger Fan

Matthew FrankContributor INovember 29, 2011

The Chargers have underachieved again in 2011, but can fans be surprised?
The Chargers have underachieved again in 2011, but can fans be surprised?

We should have known.

We should have known that the Charger's season would end up like this.  

We shouldn't be surprised.

We shouldn't be surprised that a team with this much talent on the table would again fail to make the playoffs in a weak division.

But most importantly, why do we still watch?

Why do we still watch a team that sets our expectations so high, only to crush them right in front of our face.  

These are the statements that every loyal fan in Southern California replays in their head like a never-ending nightmare.  For the past four years, and especially the past two, the Chargers have not lived up to their potential as a team in contention for a Super Bowl.

Over and over again, we are riddled with the same pre-season predictions of victory and accomplishments.  How the Chargers should win with the talent they have, and that this is our year. The truth has become eminent...our year is never going to come.  

Let this 2011 season be proof of that statement.  2011 was suppose to be "their year."  Much like 2009 was suppose to be "the year," except then, the Chargers fell to a far-inferior Jets team.  But whatever, bad games happen right?  We can let it go this time.

Now, back to 2011, the year things change.  Chargers start out 4-1, impressive given the previous three years started out more like 0-3.  Although the record showed a good team, the Chargers were the furthest thing from that label.  Philip Rivers had thrown seven interceptions, already half the total of his career high(15) and three of those wins came against teams that were under .500.  

In retrospect, this should have been a red flag to the fans, let alone the players, but nobody panicked what-so-ever.  I mean, could you blame us?  This was our best start to a season since Norv Turner took over in 2007. Whatever little kinks there are will be fixed as the season progresses, right?

Wrong.  Six games later, the Chargers haven't won another game.  Rivers hasn't snapped out of his funk, leading the league now in interceptions (17) and turnovers (23).  They have lost three division games, which included a game-ending fumbled snap, the unlikely revival of a retired quarterback and a fourth-quarter performance by a fullback masquerading as a quarterback (yeah, I said it).

Sunday's game against the rival Denver Broncos should be the last straw for Charger fans.  Watching the Chargers practically give the Broncos a win and the division was heart-aching and infuriating at the same time.  Having to witness Tebow kneel as he takes part in his end of game "ritual" was the icing on a fungus-infested cake of a season.

Now, the Chargers are most likely out of the playoffs after underachieving yet again.  A Pro Bowl quarterback, tight-end and wide receiver failed to get the job done.  The coach that was given a fair extension and extra chance continued to prove his inability to motivate a team.  

Yet, through all of this, the Chargers will still have loyal fans.  And with this, the question still remains, why?  Because we are diehard fans?  We might call ourselves diehard in our minds, but maybe, we're just addicted to pain.  

Perhaps, it's reached the point for San Diego fans to come to terms with what their team's identity is as of now...a heart-breaker.  And maybe that's okay as long as they are watching football with their family on Sunday.

Or maybe, it's okay because they know the NBA season is up-and-coming, and the Lakers are back.