This is a collaborative post from the sick and horrible minds of Old School Zero and Low Commander of the Super Soldiers. You have been warned.
[Up in the owner’s box of the vast, expansive, huge, massive, otherworldly large, Brobdingnagian, 30,000 27,000 seat StubHub Legal Scalping Center, DEAN SPANOS sits alone and looks out over the field and sees his 15-0 Los Angeles [ed. note—puke] Chargers holding a 56-3 4th quarter lead, thousands of screaming fans filling every seat, all wearing brand new, perfectly re-branded LA Chargers gear, waving signs thanking him for bringing such a fantastic team to their city. He smiles contentedly as he thinks of the gigantic piles of money he uses as furniture back at his expansive Malibu estate, when there is a knock at the door. He turns towards it.]
SPANOS: Come in.
[The DOOR FLIES OPEN and in walk MIKE WILLIAMS and FORREST LAMP in clean workout clothes]
WILLIAMS: You wanted to see us, sir?
SPANOS: Yes, yes! Welcome! I don’t usually send for our players while the games are still being played, but I just wanted to thank you both for making this team, I know it’s a little early but dare I say, a league champion in its first year in the great city of Los Angeles!
[WILLIAMS and LAMP look quizzically at each other]
WILLIAMS: Uh… okay… well—
SPANOS: Oh, yes, I know, we still have the playoffs to get through, but after your [motions to WILLIAMS] 2,000 yard, 30 TD season you’ve had, and the fact that you, [motions to LAMP] have single handedly kept Rivers from getting sacked, hit, or even hurried the entire season, I don’t think anyone can stop us! Especially after Trump sent the Patriots to Russia for a visit and they never came back…
LAMP: That’s not—
SPANOS: Please, please, have a seat. [Motions to a large yellow and blue couch festooned with lighting bolt motifs] Like I was saying, I just wanted to thank you for your massive contributions, officially. Would you care for something to eat? [Motions towards a fish taco bar covered in tortillas, garnishes and clearly used silverware] Juan just left to go get more fish, but we have plenty of the rest of the fixings. Oh, and over there [points towards a hot vat of oil next to various sweet items] is the bespoke churro station, and Juan can make you one when you get back—one shaped in your number! Lucky seven! And seventy seven! Seven-seven-seven, why, that’s almost–
WILLIAMS: Uh, thanks, but I’m good. It’s just—
SPANOS: Where is he, anyway? He should be back by now. We always end our games with a good churro fest, making all sorts of crazy shapes. One time, he made one that looked just like Marlon McCree crushed by a steamroller!
[Suddenly, the beginning of We Will Rock You blares out from the stadium speakers. Just STOMP STOMP CLAP again and again, without moving into the rest of the song. All of the fans in attendance quickly rise to their feet and join in.]
SPANOS: WHAT IN THE EVER TRUMPING FUCK? I TOLD THEM NEVER TO PLAY THAT SONG! EVER! EVEN A SECOND OF IT! GODDAMNIT!
SPANOS: Jesus bleeding wept, I wanted to leave that behind me in that colostomy bag of a city, San Diego. Can you fucking believe it? Drives me fucking crazy. I’m going to burn this stadium to the ground with the sound guy trapped inside if they don’t shut that off THIS. FUCKING. SECOND!
SPANOS: I mean, do you have any idea what I sacrificed by moving this team to Los Angeles? Nothing, really, aside from the mewling cries of all those goddamn San Diego weakling troglodytes that called themselves fans. Their shrill cries really did a number on my ears. I tell you though, leaving was the best thing I’ve ever done, I’m just sad I didn’t fuck them all over that much sooner… I left hundreds of dollars on the table! But I couldn’t stand it there. All that… lightning… and… blue water everywhere… unfathomably deep blue water… [The STOMP STOMP CLAP continues to repeat as SPANOS twitches and froths as he gets more agitated]
LAMP: Are you—
SPANOS: SOMEBODY SHUT THAT SONG OFF! Goddamnit, come on, we’re going to find the sound guy and show him the real face of madness!
[SPANOS storms out the door while WILLIAMS and LAMP pause before hesitantly turning to following him. They all suddenly stop up short. Instead of the luxury box concourse they expect, they face a long bare concrete hallway, illuminated by gently swinging bare bulbs, quite similar to the utility tunnels back in Jack Murphy Stadium. It appears to continue onward without end.]
SPANOS: WHAT THE GYRO FUCK?
[He whirls around to go back into the owner’s suite, but instead of a door, there is another endless corridor. Muffled strains of STOMP STOMP CLAP echo off the walls.]
WILLIAMS: Uh, are you—
SPANOS: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! WE’RE FUCKED! HE HAS US NOW!!
LAMP: Who? What the hell are you—
[As SPANOS’ cries continue to echo down the corridor, an odd sound echoes back towards them—an off rhythm mix of whirring, buzzing, and droning, incomprehensible babbling. As their eyes swell in horror, a broken down MIKE McCOY android comes shambling towards them.]
SPANOS: [Pushing the two players in front of him] I pay your salary! Protect me!
McCOY: Best call… call for team… 3rd and 9… Melvin Gor-don, draw up the middle… bzzt, b-b-b-b-best interest… of, of, of, of team… 20 step dropback… best call… br-br-br-br-br-… [Notices the two young men] Are… you… new… play-ers?
Williams: Yeah, we—
McCOY: THEN YOU MUST BE RECEIVE OUR BLESSING!
[McCOY suddenly leaps forward and pulls WILLIAMS into an android-powered bro hug, crushing his back muscles in the process.]
[McCOY lets WILLIAMS go and he falls to the ground in a rag doll heap. LAMP turns to run and tries to push SPANOS out of his way, but the owner sticks his leg out, tripping the lineman to protect himself.]
LAMP: OH GOD! MY KNEE!!!
[Before SPANOS can flee, he feels McCOY’S icy fingers grip his shoulder. Shaking, he turns to face the android.]
McCOY: You. We will see you soon enough. He is ready to receive you. [With that, McCOY turns and shambles away again, twitching and limping]
SPANOS: [Pale, sweating] What… what was…
WILLIAMS: Aggggghhhhh! You gotta help me, man! My back is seriously messed up!
LAMP: And I can’t put any pressure on my leg! What the hell is wrong with you?!
SPANOS: Hold on! I’ll figure this out!
[SPANOS frantically looks around, and notices that the suite door has reappeared behind him. He opens it and drags WILLIAMS and LAMP in, before manically pacing about the room. The STOMP STOMP CLAP blasting louder than ever before.]
SPANOS: Grrr… That beat! It’s pounding in my head!
LAMP: I think it’s my ACL! How can I protect Philip if I can’t stand?!
WILLIAMS: Aw no, man! This is no good! And I can’t even move! I may have to miss the season!
SPANOS: What do you mean, miss the season?
SPANOS: THE SEASON?! THE SEASON?! WE JUST ENDED THE SEASON! WE WON! WE’RE THE FUCKING GREATEST! WE’RE GONNA BE THE GREATEST FOREVER! THE SEASON?! THIS SEASON… HAS ME SO… FUCKING… [His eyes seem to go black as he sucks in air] CHARRRRRRRRRRRRRGED UP!
WILLIAMS: WHAT THE—
SPANOS: AND YOU KNOW WHAT? [He grabs a knife from the nearby chef’s station] I THINK IT’S TIME WE GOT A NEW MASCOT!!
[Meanwhile, LaDAINIAN TOMLINSON, PHILIP RIVERS, and ANTONIO GATES walk through Legal Scalping Center up towards the owner’s box]
TOMLINSON: …listen, I’m sure he’ll understand this and override the coach, and, boom, you’ll be watching me at the Hall Of Fame ceremony no problem. We’re not even playing preseason games yet.
GATES: Man, damn, you sure? Coach is being a real idiot about this. He’s losing the respect of anyone in the locker room Gus Bradley hasn’t already injured. Did you see he was making rookies run through Compton in mismatched gang colors?!
TOMLINSON: I got an in, now that I’m Dean’s Special Adviser! I’ll just make a little move and score like we used to!
RIVERS: See if we can get a couple of company planes, too, so I can bring all my kids.
TOMLINSON: That might be stretching it, man. You really need to bring them?
RIVERS: They adore you, LT! Especially little, uh… Ry, er, Bry… an… t?
TOMLINSON: Or you could just dump them off on Woodhead.
RIVERS: He squeaked something about Baltimore being nicer than this place. did a little jig and disappeared. Heathen witchcraft if you ask me.
TOMLINSON: Can it, you guys, we’re here. Hey Dean! It’s LT and—
[TOMLINSON opens the door, where the owner’s box looks like an opened puzzle box. The couch is torn apart and covered in dismembered body parts, blood splatters are everywhere, finger-less hands and arm chunks sizzle in the churro fryer, and a wireless speaker blasts STOMP STOMP CLAP over and over out to a deserted stadium. A hulking figure in blue and yellow mutters and chops at something at the taco bar.]
GATES: Ohhhhhh shit.
[The figure turns around, revealing SPANOS in a hand-sewn BOLTMAN costume, from torn out patches and stuffing from the couch, and ripped up patches of various skin sections dyed blue and yellow, his face sewn into a huge lightning bolt head.]
SPANOS: OH YEAHHHHHHHHHH!!!! WELCOME BOLT LEGENDS! HOW ABOUT… SOME FINGERRRRR FOOOOOOOOOOOD?
[SPANOS offers forth a platter of tacos featuring fried up dismembered digits that still twitch and seem to search about, garnished with various bits of viscera, nightmarish bits of indeterminate substances not of this world, and way too much cilantro.]
RIVERS: I fucking hate this place.
Low Commander: Since the evening of January 11th, 2017, my fandom and allegiance for this team died suddenly and painfully. It’s a wound on my heart that still festers, and if there is any justice in this world the Chargers will lose every single game they ever play while residing within any county limits north of San Diego, leading to Dean Spanos’ bankruptcy, cocaine and Thai ladyboy habits and eventual family murder/suicide. Unfortunately, justice will likely be in short supply.
What’s new? Mike McCoy is gone and replaced by… Anthony Lynn? You mean the guy that was the Bills OC and served as the interim head coach for 1 game before getting canned? Does he have any other head coaching experience? Apparently not! Well, we’re off to a solid start after all! Gus Bradley replaces John Pagano as Defensive Coordinator, whose coaching styles are literally the antithesis of each other: Pagano loved to wait until the 4th quarter to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, whereas Bradley was a defensive sieve with his years in Jacksonville, until garbage time rolled around for Blake Bortles and Co to pull within 2 scores as time expired. They have also brought on… George Stewart, longtime Vikings Wide Receivers Coach to take over Special Teams; the most painstakingly glaring issue for the team in 2016 that cost them at least 5 games throughout the year. Stewart has never coached Special Teams before, but TO once called him a “special coach” and apparently that’s all that Dean Spanos needed to hear! They also drafted wideout Mike Williams with the 5th overall pick, adding depth to the position that is BY FAR their deepest on the roster. He was expected to be gone for the entire season, but may still see the field as he began running earlier this week. I’m sure the training staff that has averaged the second most injured players in the league over the past few years will take great care of him and his back. Oh yeah, and they alienated their entire existing fanbase so they can play in a gimpy MLS stadium, and have the gall to charge the most for tickets in the entire league. I have friends of various other teams who couldn’t wait to go see this new experiment, until they realized the cheapest seat in the house was well over $200 just to walk through the gate.
So, besides all that, this team is basically the same as it was last year. They have the ability to be in nearly every game, and with a few lucky bounces, could have walked away flipping their record to 11-5. Of course, this is also the team, the ONLY team, to lose to the 1-15 Cleveland Browns, so take that with a 10 gallon drum of salt. I expect Joey Bosa to regress from last season as the league finds a way to adjust to his play style, as well as the usual sophomore slump kicking in. Brandon Flowers decided to wait until nearly the start of preseason to retire, otherwise leaving the team with two young stud corners in 2016 Pro Bowler Casey Hayward and oft injured Jason Verrett, with nothing else of note in the secondary. As it apparently always does, everything will come down to the various injuries that the team will sustain; it just depends on how horribly backbreaking they will be. The perennial iron man, Philip Rivers has never missed a start, but this would be the perfect year for him to stub his toe and ride the IR bench before demanding a trade, causing Kellen Clemens to take over under center. Sweet BOLTMAN, would that be decadent… [Awkwardly shifts pants] …Sorry, where was I?
Oh, uh, a prediction! Looking at the schedule, there are A LOT of trips to the East Coast, which seldom pans out well for West Coast teams. I would say that they should be competitive in 10 of their 16 games, but will find a way to fuck up at least half of them, so status quo! 5-11! And I think that might be a bit generous. Did I mention that this team lost to the CLEVELAND BROWNS last year?!?! Anyway, enough out of me. OSZ?
OSZ: You’re right, but this team can still go fuck itself.