On to Tempe, Free Admission for All

The sky was an orangish-red as fires burned across San Diego County. It has been reminiscent of the view from Mars in <i>Total Recall</i>. The call has been made to move Monday night's game between the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins from San Diego and Qualcomm Stadium to Tempe, Arizona – Sun Devil Stadium. It is the strangest occurrence for a Monday night game since two games were played in 1987. Admission is free to the game tomorrow night on a first come, first served basis.

In a statement from the Chargers:

Tickets to the game will be available at no charge on a first come first serve basis at Sun Devil Stadium. Contributions will be collected at the gate and donated to San Diego area emergency relief agencies. Refunds will be issued to ticketholders for the cancelled game at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers will announce refund procedures in the next few days.

The Arizona Cardinals played on the field on Sunday, which begs the question: how will the field be when the team's play?

There will be no homecoming. There will be no rowdy fans cheering the return of Junior Seau. There will be no home field advantage. There may not even be a crowd. Most roads leading from San Diego to Tempe have been closed and with families in a flux, the best interest of the people of San Diego is to ensure their loved ones remain safe.

"It has been awhile since I have been on the Monday night football stage," said Marty Schottenheimer. "All the players understand that the whole world is looking at you. There is a certain amount of excitement that is a part of that."

The whole world will be watching, especially San Diegans who will not be able to make it to the game, and there are a lot of them. The excitement part, well that will be tempered by the fires in San Diego County that are threatening thousands of homes and businesses and leaving many without shelter, not to mention television.

Qualcomm Stadium will not be rocking as fans envisioned. It will remain a central point for the Red Cross to dole out food, water and health care. The air quality will be worse than Newark, NJ. There could not be a game played at that site.

Why couldn't it have been moved to LA?

Likely to keep "the 5" highway clear of drivers making their way to the game and it will keep the road open to emergency vehicles.

This has effectively shut out fans from seeing the heart and soul of Chargers football. It should be mandatory that Miami returns to San Diego for a Monday night game next year, but it won't be the same.

So the show must go on.

-Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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