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Chargers Pledge to Play at Least One More Season in San Diego


The execution of professional football in San Diego has been stayed … at least for another 12 months.

Team president Dean Spanos announced in a statement on Friday the Chargers would play the 2016 season in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, which has been the team’s home since 1961.

“Today I decided our team will stay in San Diego for the 2016 season and I hope for the long term in a new stadium,” Spanos said.

“I have met with Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Roberts and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma. We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego.”

Even this feel-good announcement had to make mention of the Rams. Spanos plans to use the more-real-than-ever threat of Los Angeles to pressure San Diego city officials into choosing a suitable stadium location and securing financing for the $1 billion structure.

Still, it’s a better option that packing up and leaving now. And after spending the last week at the Senior Bowl talking to some pretty well connected sources, I was legitimately fearful that’s exactly what was going to happen.

I still have my doubts about a satisfactory stadium being built in San Diego. Will Spanos agree to build on the current Mission Valley location? Or can the city carve out an acceptable space downtown? Will the fans vote to approve a $350 million contribution to Dean’s playhouse after all he has put the city through over the last few years?

I don’t have the answers to those questions … not yet, anyway.

What I do know is it would have been a tragedy for the Chargers to go out the way they nearly did … with a 4-12 record and without fans having a chance to vote for a new stadium.

Now, the team has a chance to bounce back in the standings. And the fans have a chance to decide whether the Chargers are worth such a sizable investment. I’m not sure it will pan out, but at least the possibility is there.

If the team and the city can agree on a downtown location and rally fan support through their actions both on the field (winning games) and off of it (firing Mark Fabiani), anything is possible.

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for Scout.com and has also been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Footballinsiders.com and MySpace Sports. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter @NFLinsider_Mike.

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for Scout.com and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

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