Road Trip: Jacksonville

Our intrepid reporter Gary Molyneux traveled 3000 miles with his friends from the internet, to experience the worst NFL game of the week. <br><br> This is his story, in too many words... <br><br> "What goes on here, stays here" - LV (Las Vegas) Boltfan, message board member.

At least until they read this.

Jackass Ville Diary...

Friday, 10 PM, Los Angeles International Airport;
The Greater evil as far as compared to Burbank Airport, but usually the cheaper evil of the two. Security was an adventure. I was momentarily inconvenienced; though it is useful for one to know there are no bombs inside ones ass.

A layover in Philadelphia became an opportunity to sample a genuine Philly cheese steak. Unfortunately, my options were limited at 6 AM, so "Airport cheese steak" was as close as I got.

On to Jacksonville, where billions of corporate dollars have transformed the river walk area into a thriving community, where people of all walks of life can gather together and cause each other to bleed.

Saturday, 5 PM;

Drinks and dinner with my new friends at becomes a real live chat room WITH BEER ON TAP.

Life is good.

They came from all over the country - Detroit, Boston, Spokane, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pensacola, even San Diego - to watch two 0-4 teams vie for inferiority. These are MY people.

One of our party, Trish, is enshrined in the Pro Football hall of Fame, in Canton, Ohio. Trish followed Ross Warner of as the second Visa/Hall of fans inductee to represent us Charger fans.

Some of the topics of conversation that evening;

If, as Rush Limbaugh states, Donovan McNabb is overrated simply because he is a black Quarterback, then why is Steve McNair so underrated?

Consensus: Rush must be on drugs.

Why did the Chargers draft Drew Brees while at the same time implementing a new play action offense that would have played more to the strengths of say, a Ryan Leaf? Also... Wouldn't Brees have been a much better suit for the spread offense that Kevin Gilbride tried to impart on Leaf?

Consensus: Timing is everything in comedy.

Why are the questions so much longer and more detailed than the answers in today's media?

Consensus: I don't know.

What kind of beer should we get for our tailgate party?

Consensus: Getting twenty plus people from a football message board to agree on a beverage is a lost cause.

Another consensus:
The Cubs and the Red Sox BOTH deserve a World Series.
Bud Selig and Major League Baseball DO NOT DESERVE a Cubs - Red Sox World Series.

Sunday, High Noon;
Alltel Stadium is close to several good hotels, and just a short walk from the upscale Riverwalk area.

Unfortunately being one of the new breed of modern sports complex the NFL is pursuing for its franchises, our tailgating area was farther from Alltel Stadium than our hotel was.

Is this the future of tailgating? Charger fans may want to take another look at those drawings, Mr. Spanos.

What kind of beer should we get for our tailgate party?
I was asked what I liked, but since I wasn't buying, I deferred with the caveat "Whatever you guys want, just no Bud or Coors".

A short time later the beer expedition returned with Bud Lite, and Coors light... so kiddies, be careful in what you wish for.

Facing a growling thirst, I surmised that these two beers contained LESS Bud & Coors than the regular Bud & Coors... at least I didn't go thirsty, and I threw up fewer calories!

As we strolled past a vacant new arena, a glossy new minor league baseball park, and finally Alltel Stadium, many of us wondered incredulously, "Why can't we get something like this accomplished in San Diego?"

Alltel Stadium has designed the "nosebleed" out of their nosebleed seats, by building outward instead of vertically.

I would suggest calling them "Eyebleed seats.

As for the actual football game?

The Chargers had never played the Jaguars, despite the fact that both teams had previously played every other team in the NFL at least once. Surprising, considering both teams are members of the same conference.

And, since they finally meet with identical records of 0-4, you could almost expect a scoreless tie.

We were outplayed in all phases of the game by a winless team.

-- Offensively, little worked beyond finding WR David Boston, who had 14 catches for 181 yards, one fumble, and a sporadic case of alligator arms.
-- RB LaDainian Tomlinson had a very Unladainianlike 38 yards on only 10 carries.
-- QB Drew Brees fired his popgun for 3 touchdowns, going 24 of 41 for 296 yards, mostly in small increments.
-- Our thin-ply defense provided cushiony soft coverage to Jaguar WRs throughout the entire game.
-- CB Quentin Jammer continued to practice his two hand tag technique, again demonstrating that a top 5 NFL draft pick can play flag football at the highest level.

Special teams nearly qualified for the Special Olympics, but one phase of the game we had a chance to compete was the opening coin toss. Though we lost that too, and I resolved to become drunk before our next coin toss.

When we returned to our hotel it became apparent... we needed to kill something.

I remembered the Ryan Leaf jersey I had brought with me, only to reject wearing it to the game for fear of becoming the most hated person in the stadium. It seemed like divine providence now. We met for our postgame dinner down the Riverwalk at Hooters, where I offered it to the football Gods as a sacrifice.

We took turns shredding it until we had almost purged the curses from our memory. Several pitchers of beer helped.

As if by fate, a prophet emerged from the Men's room with a condom, and a final resting place for the Leaf jersey was chosen.

We wrapped number 16 around the inflated prophylactic, and bade it a safe journey across the St. Johns River, saluting it with a raised finger.

Watching it grow smaller, as it bobbed in the moonlit distance stirred our memories as we emptied our glasses.

I remembered a similar jersey bearing the number 16 is on display across the country in a Las Vegas strip mall bar called Michael's Pub.

The name on the back was eloquence in its subtlety.
LEAVE. We close with a note of Warning to fellow travelers;
Jacksonville is slated to host a Super Bowl in 2005.
Now Jacksonville seems like a friendly town, but wherever alcoholics are exposed to the mind altering effects of football, situations can become chaotic. Case in point;

One of our NON-confederates was sucker punched near the end of the game. A dutiful member of the Jacksonville Police Dept. came to the rescue, and promptly threatened the INJURED party with removal.

Seemed like the path of least resistance, I suppose.

Our provider of justice then warned our friend not to "make him come up here again".

Shortly thereafter, our Chargers did the inconceivable, and bungled their way into the endzone to pull within six.

As our group stood and cheered, our servant and protector rushed up the steps, and forcibly removed our friend from section 405.

For Cheering...

Considering all that our buddy had done to bring this on himself was to fly across the country, pay for 3 nights in a luxury hotel, and take a slap to the head...

CHEERING for an 0-4 team coming within smelling range of its first victory must have been looked upon as obscene behavior by local law enforcement.

Never mind that the HOME fans spent their day doing the exact same thing, Justice obviously needed to be dealt.

Isn't that right Officer Kornegay, badge # 8506?

Panama, Boltbug, Trish, LV Boltfan, Inkydan, Michfan, Lightning, azBoltfan, and Rob (not their real names, except maybe for Rob) all contributed to my stupor, resulting in this column.

Gary Molyneux can be reached at

From the SD Bolt Report editor: "There can never be too many San Diego Chargers sites and is full of great information, intelligent message board posters and some of the best tailgaters this side of Qualcomm. We always welcome stories that bring Chargers fans together from around the world." –Denis Savage

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