The Justice Files

Just when I was afraid that I wouldn't have anything new to write about this week, the Chargers 2005 schedule was released. Sure, we already knew who the upcoming opponents would be, but the sequence and dates of these games allow us to envision how the season will evolve.

Fittingly, Carlos Santana's "Winning" was playing on my iPod when the news that the Bolts would face "She-li" on ESPN scrolled across the bottom of the screen. The other notable mention from the schedule is that in the middle of road games at Foxboro, Oakland and Philadelphia the Bolts will host Pittsburgh on Monday Night.

The Chargers will also have their December 4 home game against the Traitors nationally televised on Sunday Night. Remember when that was the ONLY game that we would get in prime time? I'm sure you do, since it was essentially a decade and a half.

Of course, the Chargers return to 8-8 in 2002 garnered them a Monday Night matchup against Miami the following season. The national draw appeared to be the return of Junior Seau to San Diego to face "LaDainian Tomlinson's team."

That game, like everything about the 2003 season, went sour. First Junior made that joke about LDT eating chicken, foreshadowing his gaffe at the Dolphins' preseason dinner last year, and then the fires in Southern California forced the game to be moved to Tempe.

But we all remember the 2-6 finish of the '02 club. Did that carry over to the following year? Regardless, there is no question that last year's AFC West Champs deserve the exposure that they will receive with this schedule.

If you caught my interview with Chargers Vice President Jim Steeg, you know that the Bolts want to "make some noise nationally." Of course, having featured games against elite teams is only the first step towards establishing nationwide respect. As I kept unsubtly suggesting to Mr. Steeg, winning those games is the most important thing.

It's far too early to know how the 2005 Chargers will fare in defending the division crown. What still kills me about the playoff loss is that they were eliminated without letting it all hang out. Also, am I the only person who gets sick to their stomach every time they see the photo on the 'Union-Tribune' site of a stunned Nate Keading? Can they take that down already?

I was about to go to bed when I noticed that the NFL Network was airing their "Schedule Release" show. Yeah, programming runs a little thin on that channel at this time of year. Chris Collinsworth was going over the upcoming year's highlights with Rich Eisen. When they began with the Bolts' opener at home against Dallas, Collinsworth began by saying that "the story here is the Dallas Cowboys." He went on to discuss how Bill Parcells needed to rally his team after a disappointing 2004. My first reaction, not surprisingly, was one of cynical frustration. But my wife quickly reminded me that it was a good thing that the Bolts weren't "the story."

"That means that they don't suck any more."

Good point. But, as Wilson Pickett once sang, ‘you better knock on wood.'


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