Just two seasons ago, there were no NFL teams in Los Angeles, the second-biggest media market in the United States. For the 2017 season, there will be two of them with the news that the Chargers will join the Rams in the City of Angels.
You may not have known this, but the Chargers spent their first AFL season, 1960, in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego the next year. The Chargers went to five AFL Championship Games (winning one, in 1963) and one Super Bowl while in San Diego. The team had been playing in Qualcomm Stadium since it opened in 1967, making it one of the league's older venues. Ownership has been trying for most of this century to get the City of San Diego to chip in for a new stadium, but a last ditch-ballot effort for an increase in hotel taxed failed miserably in November.
Thus Thursday's announcement that the Chargers would officially take the option to move to Los Angeles for 2017 was not surprising; if San Diego didn't take it, then Oakland could have. The Chargers will share a new stadium with the Rams when that opens in 2019. The Chargers will be tenants of the Rams, who are paying for the stadium. Until then, the Chargers, and most assume they will keep the same nickname -- they have to at least for 2017, will play the next two years in the 30,000-seat StubHub Center, which serves as the home of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy.
Obviously that would be the smallest stadium for an NFL team, but the Chargers want to separate themselves from the Rams, who are currently playing in the 90,000-seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The StubHub Center is about a half-hour closer to San Diego if those fans want to make the trip north. The team is promoting it as a "one-of-a-kind product" that gives fans an opportunity to be "up close and personal" with players.
One would think that the Chargers would lack much of a home-field advantage. Then again, the Bolts were just 3-5 at home this past season (3-5 ATS on NFL picks) as they finished last in the AFC West with a 5-11 mark.
The team still has to hire a head coach to replace the fired Mike McCoy. The Chargers are expected to hire one of Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub, Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, or former Bills interim head coach/offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.
Meanwhile, pass-rusher Melvin Ingram and strong safety Jahleel Addae are two of the Chargers' projected 13 unrestricted free agents. Ingram finished second on the team in sacks this season with eight, and also had 60 tackles and four forced fumbles.
The Chargers' 2017 schedule of course includes three home games and three away vs. their AFC West rival Chiefs, Broncos and Chargers. Los Angeles also hosts Buffalo, Miami, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Washington. The Chargers visit New England, the NY Jets, Jacksonville, NY Giants and Dallas. That ranks as the third-hardest schedule in the NFL with the Chargers' opponents combining for a winning percentage of .568 this past regular season.
The new Los Angeles team is are currently +3000 on NFL futures odds to win the AFC title next season and +6000 to win Super Bowl LII.