Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY

It's time for San Diego to bring home a championship

Cleveland did it. Can San Diego?

If you're a sports fan, you saw the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday beat the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Championship, thereby ending Cleveland's 52-year drought without a title.

In doing so, it crowned San Diego the new winner of losing.

It's been 53 years since America's Finest City knew anything about a ticker tape parade (in 1953, when the Chargers won the AFL in the pre-Super Bowl era).

We're due, right?

Buffalo fans feel our pain, as it's been 51 years since they've raised a trophy. But really, San Diegans are the biggest losers here.

The numbers don't matter. While striking, they are, simply, stats ... And stats can oftentimes be empty. What matters here is the argument that while San Diego has great weather and great beaches and great palm trees, it isn't, really, a sports city. Not one that can play the final game of a season and come up a winner.

Is it?

We can largely argue that the Padres are years away from even competing, much less contending for a championship. The Chargers, however, have quarterback Philip Rivers and future Hall-of-Fame tight end Antonio Gates (who, yes, is getting older, but is still smart enough and strong enough to win). Can the young defensive players like Melvin Ingram, Jason Verrett, Jerry Attaochu and Manti Te'o -- among others -- do enough to give the Chargers a chance before the window closes on Rivers and Gates' careers? While it shouldn't hang solely on the defense, it can definitely be argued that the defense needs to catch up to the offense, which boasts Rivers, Gates and playmakers like Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead. Now is the time for that to happen, as the old "core" group of players have gone -- think Nick Hardwick, Eric Weddle, Jeromey Clary -- and the "young guys" have had enough time together to form a bond and hopefully, this year, an identity.

What's troubling for the Chargers is that time is ticking for Rivers. When you lose a franchise quarterback -- one as experienced and talented as Rivers -- there's a good chance you'll have to rebuild around a new signal caller. It's imperative the Chargers figure it out in the next few years, before Rivers writes the final chapter.

Tick, tock. Only 53 years and counting.


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