This Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers played for the first time at the So-Fi stadium with fans present, although the result was not as expected either on the field, or off it. Dallas Cowboys prevailed at the end of the game 20-17 in their visit to Los Angeles and also dominated in presence from the stands. Chargers, who moved back to Los Angeles in 2017 after 55 years in San Diego, hopes to win back the home crowd this season and for support to grow.
“I think it was a great atmosphere, you could feel the energy of the audience. My focus was on the home fans and I think they made themselves felt. I know they will continue to appear because we have a good team. People in Los Angeles will see that we have a good team, ”coach Brandon Staley said after the game.
The Chargers franchise has been in a constant struggle over the years seeking to establish a strong bond with the fans. Arguably, it is the only team of the 32 of the NFL that plays all its games on the road, as rival fans end up filling the stadium. That is something they sought to reverse with the move to Los Angeles. Already in 1960, its first year of existence, they had been in this city.
“I was proud of our audience. The rival team (Dallas) of course draws a lot of fans historically, but I didn’t listen to them much, I listened to ours. We felt the energy of our fans, we appreciated it and it allowed us to play better. We hope it can be an advantage for us this season to have a home crowd like this, ”Staley said.
Chargers, after moving from San Diego to Los Angeles, played their home games from 2017 to 2019 at the LA Galaxy’s home in Carson, California. In 2020, he opened his new home, the brand new So-Fi Stadium, a building he shares with the Rams, but with no fans present due to the pandemic. It was until this Sunday that they could feel what it was like to have a full house, even if it was filled with Cowboys fans.
“It’s always good to have the fans back, it was an aspect of the game that was definitely missed. Whether they were Cowboys or Chargers fans, the atmosphere was great. Unfortunately we didn’t play the way we wanted to today, there is a lot of room for improvement, ”Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert said.
The young rookie quarterback of the year 2020 is one of the key pieces as the new face of the franchise, in that search to generate identity. Despite his two interceptions in the loss to Dallas, Herbert was instrumental in the game. In passing, he set another record by matching Patrick Mahomes and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks with 10 games with at least 300 yards passing in their first two NFL seasons. Considering that it is still week 2, Herbert will surely expand that mark.
“I think Justin Herbert was outstanding in the game. I think he gave us a real chance to win, he threw some great quality passes and great plays. If some of the hardships hadn’t passed, it would have been a beastly day for him. The two interceptions are things that happen, but still I think he was the best player on the field, he gave us a chance each time, “Staley said.
Chargers started the 2021 season with a 1-1 record and for week 3, they will have a tough divisional duel visiting the Kansas City Chiefs. His next home game will be on October 4 on Monday Night Football against the Las Vegas Raiders, another game that, unfortunately for the Angelenos, does not look to have a majority of Chargers fans in the stands.